Are you ready for some football? The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants better be. The NFC East rivals kick off the 2012 regular season on Wednesday night, with high expectations. The Giants are the defending Super Bowl Champions. and are looking to repeat. The Cowboys always have Super Bowl expectations, thanks to owner Jerry Jones who expects nothing less than a championship. You can’t win the Super Bowl on opening night, but you can make your road a slight bit easier with a win on opening night. Here’s how these two teams matchup.
When The Cowboys Have The Ball:
Tony Romo is still the key to the Cowboys offence. We all know Romo has all-world talent, but his decision-making in critical situations is worse than the latest Justin Bieber CD. (And that’s really saying something.) Romo will need to be sharper during the tense moments, as he will be facing a ton of pressure from the Giants front four. The likes of Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Rocky Bernard, will come after Romo with guns blazing. This will put considerable pressure on a Cowboys offensive line that is going through some changes. Doug Free moves from left tackle to right tackle. Nate Livings is the new left guard. Mackenzy Bernadeau is the new right guard. All this could be detrimental to any protection plans, or blocking schemes the Cowboys might have. Dallas does have gamebreakers on their side. Dez Bryant is a big play artist, who has the speed to scare any secondary in the NFL. Miles Austin is a pass catching threat opposite Bryant. The dual running back threat of DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones is very difficult to deal with. The question is the health of tight end Jason Witten. The 10 year veteran missed most of the preseason with a lacerated spleen, but is expected to play on Wednesday.
The Giants will counteract with a heavy pass rush, in hopes to protect a suspect secondary. If there is a weakness on the Super Bowl champions, the defensive backfield might be it. Prince Amukamara is out of this game due to injury which makes Corey Webster vulnerable. Webster will be assigned to cover either Bryant and Austin. Webster is not the fleetest cornerback in the NFL, which makes Amukamara’s loss more pronounced. The second year Nebraska alum’s speed will be missed. The matchups here are very intriguing.
When The Giants Have The Ball:
Eli Manning is a 2 time Super Bowl MVP, so there is no question on his ability to make big plays at crunch time. Manning has an innate ability to make the crucial pass at the most opportune time. What helps Manning, is that he has great receivers to throw too. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are both excellent wideouts who bring different elements. Nicks is a solid possession receiver who runs precise routes. Cruz is a speedster who can scare the living daylights out of secondaries with his agility. The Cowboys secondary was a huge mess last season, which will put more pressure on first round pick Morris Claiborne. The rookie from LSU is expected to be a shut down corner for the Cowboys for the next decade, and he may not have a more difficult assignment, then tracking the speedy Cruz.
What the Giants need to be concerned about is the beast known as DeMarcus Ware. The rush end from Troy, recorded 19.5 sacks in 2011, and will be harassing Manning all night long. The Giants offensive line will have to be on top of its game, to keep Ware out of the backfield. To reduce Ware’s effectiveness, the Giants may use the running game more. Ahmad Bradshaw struggled in the regular season, but had a superb playoff run in 2011. If Bradshaw runs over 100 yards, the Giants will find success against Dallas.
The Giants took both meetings from the Cowboys last season, and have won 5 out of the last 6 meetings. The Giants also have the psychological edge of winning Super Bowls in recent seasons, while the Cowboys haven’t won a world title since 1995. One key statistic. Since the Super Bowl Champion hosted the season opening game in 2004, they have never lost this game.
Until proven otherwise, the Cowboys are a team that will be on the outside. The Giants have a difficult task in repeating as Super Bowl champs, but they will win albeit a close one. Giants win 24-17.
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