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NFL Week 2 SNF Preview: Giants vs. Cowboys

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys officially open the doors to their new billion-dollar stadium Sunday night. And no team would love to spoil that celebration more than the New York Giants. These two hated NFC East rivals collide in prime time with the Cowboys set as 3-point home favorites.

There will be extra pressure on Dallas to christen Cowboys Stadium with a win in the home opener. Owner Jerry Jones, who had to dig deep into his own pockets to finish his vision for the new stadium, even put an importance on winning games at home in the preseason. He is aiming to set the NFL’s regular season single-game attendance record and is expecting close to 105,000 fans for Sunday night’s contest.

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That deafening crowd should make communication on the line of scrimmage tough for Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his offense. Manning is coming off a 256-yard performance against the Washington Redskins last week. He passed for one touchdown, threw one interception, and was sacked once. That’s a much better day than Manning’s most recent visit to Dallas. In 2008, New York’s QB was sacked eight times, fumbled twice, and was picked off two times in a 20-8 loss to the Cowboys.

Dallas’ defense, which led the league in sacks last year, looked anything but a threatening front in Week 1’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys couldn’t get to slow-motion QB Byron Leftwich and gave up 450 total yards of offense to the Bucs. The biggest weakness appears to be the front seven, which couldn’t stop Tampa Bay’s running backs and eventually totaled 174 rushing yards against last Sunday.

That’s bad news for Dallas backers with last year’s most potent ground game taking the turf. The Giants’ rushing attack doesn’t have the tandem that it had in 2008 but does still feature battering-ram running back Brandon Jacobs, who expressed his hatred of the Cowboys to the New York media this week. The burly back rushed for just 46 yards against the Redskins but punished Dallas in 2008 for 117 yards and a touchdown in his lone game versus the divisional rival. Jacobs missed December’s meeting due to injury.

Not to be outdone, Dallas posses perhaps the most talented trio of running backs in the NFL. The aptly named, “Smash, Dash and Tash” (Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice) combined for 111 yards on the ground and a score last week. Jones was back at practice this week after bruising his thigh against the Buccaneers. The second-year speedster has game-breaking ability in both the rushing and kick return positions, but has been plagued with injuries in his short pro career.

Also nursing an injury is Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. He sprained his right ankle in the win over Tampa Bay but was back at practice this week and doesn’t see the injury slowing him down Sunday. It certainly didn’t slow him down last week. Romo passed for 353 yards and three touchdowns, proving the Cowboys’ air attack was fine without No. 81 on the wing.

Romo hit three different receivers for scores Sunday, most notably Roy Williams, who reeled in three balls for 86 yards including a perfect 66-yard post route that found pay dirt in the third quarter. Romo’s favorite target, tight end Jason Witten, caught five balls for 71 yards receiving.

While the Dallas passing game is heating up, the New York secondary is licking it wounds. The Giants could be without three starting pass defenders this Sunday. Cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Kevin Dockery are considered questionable for Week 2, along with starting safeties Kenny Phillips and Michael Johnson.

Washington totaled 211 yards passing and one touchdown against New York in Week 1. Left cornerback Corey Webster picked off one pass while defensive end Osi Umenyiora had one sack and recovered a fumble for a touchdown in his first regular season game since the 2007-08 campaign. Umenyiora’s linemate, defensive tackle Chris Canty, is hoping to be healthy enough to face his former team. Canty has yet to suit up since joining the Giants due to numerous leg injuries.

These rivals have evenly split their last 10 meetings, with the Cowboys going 3-5-2 against the spread in those games. The total for Sunday night’s game is 44.5. The over/under for the last 10 meetings is 5-4-1. However, the final score has gone under the total in 10 of the last 14 games between these teams played in Dallas.

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Comments

Comments

  1. This is with out a doubt the game of the week. Both teams looked pretty good in their opener but we will get a good picture of which team is the real deal when they square off against each other.

    I think the Giants are poised to spoil opening day(night) at the new Cowboys Stadium

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