The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys will kick off their seasons in a divisional matchup where the Cowboys are favored. Dallas finished first in the division last year with a 10-6 record while the Giants finished 5-11 in dead last.
Back In The Fold
The Cowboys’ biggest story this offseason has revolved around their running back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott held out of camp for a bigger contract this preseason with two years left on his rookie contract. The contract has now been signed, and Zeke is back with the team, but will most likely be on a limited snap count to avoid injury.
Another player waiting for a contract in Dallas is the Cowboys’ starting quarterback, Dak Prescott. Prescott put together a solid season last year but would love to step up and pose more of a threat on this offense. The offense has revolved around Zeke since he was drafted, and if Dak can step up and do enough to keep teams from loading the box, the Cowboys will be a threat to anyone this year.
The Dallas defense took a big step forward last year and is now recognized as one of the best in the league. They have plenty of high-impact pass rushers, and they have a great young linebacker in Leighton Vander Esch. He made a huge impact his rookie season, finishing third in the league in tackles.
With Elliott on a limited snap count, look for Dak to get more opportunities to get the ball downfield to weapons like Amari Cooper and returning tight end Jason Witten. The Cowboys will rely heavily on their defense to make this a manageable game.
The Giants have had a rough go of it over the last few seasons. From Eli Manning’s decline, top WR Odell Beckham Jr. being traded to the Browns, and drafting Daniel Jones in the first round, the Giants’ front office has been called into question many times, and perhaps for good reason.
Before playing a single regular-season game, the Daniel Jones draft pick has been a roller coaster between criticism and praise. After the pick, most people believed the Giants made a huge mistake and missed on Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Jones went on to show some sparks in the preseason and looks like he can fit into the NFL.
Eli Manning will still get the start to kick off the season, and the Giants hope for him to play well enough to hold the position long enough for Jones to learn the game from him.
Despite Manning’s lack of production last season, I am a firm believer that the Giants offense, specifically the offensive line, has not helped him at all and hinder any chance they have to get momentum going on that side of the ball.
Taking the pressure off everyone on offense is their star running back, Saquon Barkley. Barkley was the 2018 Rookie of the Year and one of the only bright spots for the Giants’ season. Look for the Cowboys to load the box against the Giants in this game to stop Barkley and force New York to win with the passing game.
What To Expect
Without a doubt, the Cowboys have the roster to win this game. However, division games always play a little tighter because of the familiarity between the teams. I think the Giants will put up a better fight than people might think, and Eli could have a good game, but the Cowboys will still prevail.
I expect the Cowboys to do anything they can to stop the run, and it will allow Eli to open up the field a little bit. The Cowboys offense should be able to get going against a Giants defense with a lot of holes in it, and Dallas will take the win.