The Dallas Cowboys once again open their season against the New York Giants. As of late, the Cowboys have handled the struggling Giants taking four out of the last five meetings. The Giants haven’t beat Dallas since December 2016. In a low scoring contest, Big Blue edged the Boys 10-7. Dallas owns this NFC East rivalry with a 66-46-2 series lead winning the last four match-ups. Sunday’s contest with mark the fourth opening weekend game in five seasons between the two storied franchises.
After an off season filled with speculation and turmoil, all seems to be coming together for the Cowboys just in time for opening kickoff. Ezekiel Elliott has returned to the team just a few days before the New York Giants come to town.
With preseason sensation Tony Pollard making some noise, will we see Zeke on a snap count? My gut tells me no as it’s been reported that Elliott spent his hold-out in Cabo working out with NFL Hall-of-Famer Marshall Faulk. It’s also been reported that Zeke has shed 20 pounds in anticipation for the upcoming season. Whether Zeke is in “game shape” or not, expect a heavy feeding of the NFL’s highest paid running back sprinkled with a dash of Tony Pollard.
What to Expect
With the extensions and health of the offensive line back to, look for the offense and Dak Prescott to start the season off hot. New York’s depleted defense has lost key players in the off-season and recent years. Kellen Moore should also add a spark and variety of looks for the New York Defense.
Prescott has either been on fire or ice cold against the Giants in his short career. He has two games with 330+ passing yards and a minimum of three touchdown passes. He also has thrown for under 170 yards or no touchdown passes in three outings against this Giants squad. Whether you’re a fan of Prescott or not, look for number four to come out with all cylinders firing. He is playing to prove he’s worth his soon to be filled bank account.
On Paper, Dallas comes into the 2019 NFL season with one of the most talented rosters in all the NFL. Everyone knows about the resurgence of the Cowboy’s offense once Amari Cooper arrived last season. Add to the mix second year wide-out Michael Gallup, the return of Jason Witten, and the addition of veteran slot receiver Randall Cobb, Dallas’ passing game should keep defenses busy. Paired with Zeke and a young, revamped defense, led by Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch and Byron Jones, the Cowboys are the heavy favorites in this contest.
New York Giants
Let’s Face it, the Giants have been dragged through and raked over the coals by the media this offseason. Odell Beckham Jr., a generational talent, was shipped off to Cleveland after management publicly stated they wouldn’t. As an encore, the Giants then selected Duke QB Daniel Jones with the sixth overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. New York took Jones over the highly touted Dwayne Haskins. Haskins was then selected 15th overall by division rival Washington Redskins. Many believe the Giants could have gotten Jones in the second or even third round.
With the jury still out on Daniel Jones, he has handled the pressure and criticism very well this preseason. In his opportunities during the preseason we caught a glimpse of what Jones is capable of. The New York Giants just might have found their replacement for the struggling Eli Manning.
What to Expect
Eli will need to channel his Superbowl days if he wishes to remain the face of the Giants. Although Eli and the Giants won four out of five games following their Week nine bye last season, don’t expect management to allow for error. The cards are stacked again Manning as he faces a tough opening schedule. He faces the Cowboys twice, Vikings, Bears and Eagles in the first 7 weeks. The NFL may see Daniel Jones as the Giants’ starter sooner rather than later with a rough start to the season.
New York will go into the season opener with Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram as their top pass catchers. Although Engram and Shepard are solid targets, this offense will lean heavily on Saquon Barkley. Barkley posted stout numbers in 2018, leading the NFL in all-purpose yards with 2,028 and solidifying himself as one of the best in the league.
Against Dallas, Saquon racked up 137 rushing yards, 113 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown in 2 games. While not eye popping, Saquon will be the focal point for the Dallas defense with Barkley able to break off big plays at a moments notice.
With Antwuan Woods and Maliek Collins’ overall PFF grades averaging 65.2 last season, expect the Giants to attack between the tackles. Collins has seemed to take his game to the next level this offseason and made his presence felt in this years’ preseason games. This should be the matchup to watch throughout the game along with what Kellen Moore brings as the new Offensive Coordinator. Moore has been a fellow teammate and quarterback coach for Prescott, expect the two to be on the same page on Sunday.