There has been a lot of trash talk between the Cowboys and Giants leading up to opening night tomorrow night.
At the start of training camp owner Jerry Jones said, “watch us beat the New York Giants’ ass.” Then in a radio interview with WFAN Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka took shots at Jerry Jones by saying Jones and the Cowboys should be motivated because the Giants “have been whupping his ass for a long time.” Kiwanuka also went on to say it “must be tough to be on the outside looking in at all these championships lately.”
While the trash talk between the two teams can’t be denied, you sure can bet the hits on the field will be a lot harder tomorrow night when they square off on the opening night of the NFL.
Offensive Pros: Tony Romo is still a top 10 quarterback and he has enough weapons around him to lead this team to a victory. Romo will try to start off the season better than last year. In week one, Romo handed the game to the Jets. After an impressive three quarters of football, Romo and the Cowboys led New York 24-17 with 9:12 remaining in the game, and with a chance to put the game away, Romo fumbled the ball on the Jets goal-line. The Jets later tied the game on a blocked punt. Romo with a chance to lead the team with a game winning drive was intercepted by Darrelle Revis which led to a Nick Folk 50-yard game winning field goal.
Offensive Cons: While Romo has all the big guns to be successful, his main threats all have injury concerns. Jason Witten is listed as doubtful (lacerated spleen), Demarco Murray is coming off a 2011 season ending fractured ankle, Miles Austin missed all of preseason with a strained hamstring (although he is expected to play against the Giants), and Dez Bryant, in addition to having guidelines to follow, has also been bothered by a knee injury in preseason. You really can’t evaluate the Cowboys offense until you see them as a healthy unit.
Biggest thing to look for on offense: How will the offensive line hold up. This is the first time the O-Line will play together as a unit. The line will be a lot different from last season as Tyron Smith (LT) and Doug Free (RT) have switched tackle positions. Free agent veteran signings Nate Livings (LG) and Mackenzy Bernadeau (RG) were signed to multi-year deals and center Phil Costa is the only lineman returning to his 2011 position.The offensive line will be tested early and often as the great front four of the Giants will be coming after them.
Defensive Pros: Secondary. The Cowboys went out and signed Brandon Carr and drafted Morris Claiborne for games like these. Last season, the Cowboys were constantly hurt but receiver like Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. These moves will hopefully spell the Cowboys from secondary woes.
Defensive Cons: Time will only tell how this secondary will look so I still have to see them in game action to really be confident in them.
Biggest thing to look for on defense: Pressuring Eli Manning. The importance of covering the Giants receiving core can’t be stressed enough but of equal importance is making Eli Manning uncomfortable. The Cowboys must get pressure on Manning and force him to move around. If Manning is protected well in the pocket then it can be a long night for the Cowboys.
Result: I really am going back and forth on the result of this game. I think we will see some week one sloppiness and the Giants are preaching “building a bridge.” Meaning they want to carry the success, that brought them to the promise land, into this season. Until I see them get knocked off I see the Giants taking this 24-17.
What do you think of the preview? Are the offensive injuries being overplayed? Is the secondary the real deal? You tell me…