|GAME TIME||8:30 PM EST|
KEY PLAYER (Dallas Cowboys): Dez Bryant
Last season in both games against the Giants, Dez Bryant was not the X-factor he usually is. Clearly bothered by the coverage of Giants CB Janoris Jenkins, he caught only one ball in each match up. He also dropped a touchdown in the first quarter on opening night last year, and fumbled in the second game. Even with Dez coming up small in both games, the Cowboys were still close to winning both against their division rival last year. In order to take the next step against the G-Men, Dez will have to be at least somewhat productive and have a presence on the outside. He’s made it clear leading up how hungry he is, and how great he’s feeling heading into the season with QB Dak Prescott. All eyes will be on Dez and the Jack Rabbit on the outside this Sunday night.
KEY PLAYER (New York Giants): Damon Harrison
The big man in the middle of the stout defensive line they’ve assembled in New York will be key in trying to once again contain Ezekiel Elliott. As we all know, Zeke is ready to go for Week One amidst all of the suspension talk. Damon “Snacks” Harrison will need to be able to keep Zeke in front of him for most of the game to avoid giving up big runs. Watching him go nose to nose against probably the best center in the league, Travis Frederick, once again should not disappoint. If the Cowboys can get the jump on Snacks, it should really open things up for Zeke and the rushing attack.
GAME PREVIEW AND ANALYSIS
Even though the Giants swept the season series last year, this matchup still feels like it could go either way. Both games last year were close games decided late, and you could even say that the Giants got a little lucky and the Cowboys got a little unlucky. Both teams heading into the new season have just about the same game-plan. The Giants are going to rely on their defense to keep the game close and low scoring, and hope one of their receivers can get loose for a big play. While the Cowboys are going to pound the run game at this defense and try to minimize the time that Eli Manning has on the field.
The Cowboys defense will be under the microscope too in primetime. Some new additions to the defensive line, an entirely revamped secondary of young players, and Jaylon Smith joining Sean Lee in the middle of the field. The Giants also have newly signed Brandon Marshall lining up out wide, hopefully next to Odell Beckham Jr, whose status is still up in the air. My feeling is that Eli is going to throw his usual one or two interceptions to open the door for the Cowboys to get the win. And possibly with no OBJ, it may be really tough for the Giants to put up significant numbers on offense. Even against a suspect Cowboys defense.