New York, N.Y. Ladies and gentlemen, Labor Day weekend is now in the rear view mirror, and that means one thing. The NFL regular season is ready to kick off, as we are now just hours away from the New York Giants beginning the voyage to defend their crown. Rosters have been trimmed down throughout the entire league, nicked up players from training camp and preseason games have been getting healthy, and fans everywhere are ready for the games to now mean something. On Wednesday night, the defending Super Bowl Champions host their NFC East rivals from Dallas, as the Giants will battle the Cowboys on a national TV stage. Can New York regain the hunger that carried them through the end of last season and on to another stunning Super Bowl victory? Will Eli Manning continue to show that he belongs in that elite class of NFL QB’s? Is the New York Giants pass rush still one of the best, and one that will be dominant in 2012? On the other side, can the Dallas Cowboys make a statement in week one and win a tough road game in a crazy atmosphere? Will the Cowboys show that they are suddenly a disciplined team finally, and one that has learned from its mistakes in recent years? These and other questions will be answered, and as far as first games go for both teams, this one could potentially have lasting effects for both the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants as the season rolls along.
Basically every time in recent years, when the Super Bowl champions open their season at home in prime time on national TV, they win. It could be because they are riding a wave of emotion from its fans. It could be because they are motivated to prove that they were not a fluke in winning the Lombardi Trophy. It could also be because they are just a better team. Nonetheless, it is typically a big party for the host team, and the visitor can’t seem to overcome all of these factors in the end. So this year, the Dallas Cowboys come to Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, and will quite honestly, try to surprise the NFL world. Dallas will be trying to rebound from another disappointing year in 2011, where expectations were not met, and the team fell apart yet again in December. The Cowboys still had a shot at the playoffs going into the final game of last season, as it was winner-take-all between these exact two teams. On January 1st, whoever came out on top would claim the NFC East crown and qualify for the playoffs, while the loser would head home and wonder what went wrong. For the second time in four weeks, the New York Giants knocked off the Dallas Cowboys, this team with relative ease, 31-14. As we all know, the Giants would continue into the post-season, rattle off some improbable wins, and win the Super Bowl in shocking fashion. That one matchup between New York and Dallas on January 1st has had so many aftershocks ever since. Obviously, if the Giants don’t win that one game, they do not end up even making last years playoffs. Dallas has had to deal with another off-season of questions about why they can’t get it done, and if Tony Romo is the answer at QB for this historic franchise. While 2012 is going to be a year where the Giants try to keep that momentum they had that carried them to a championship, this year is monumentally big for the Cowboys. Another failed attempt at even making the playoffs will undoubtedly end up with several members of this team, both players and coaches, losing their jobs.
So what should fans expect come Wednesday night? Although the New York Giants still have a lot talent on both sides of the ball, there are a few questions on offense, where they lost some key players to free agency. Gone are both Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham, as rookie newcomers David Wilson and Rueben Randle will try to fill those voids. Hakeem Nicks seems to be fully back from a broken foot in the off-season, and Victor Cruz will do his best to show that his 2011 was no aberration. Eli Manning runs the show as always, and although inconsistent at times, has cemented himself as one of the best big-game QB’s around. Undoubtedly, most NFL fans will be intrigued to see what kind of Dallas team shows up vs the Giants. Will it be a team that is still struggling to find itself and one that shoots itself in the foot in big moments? Can Tony Romo take a step forward, and be a clutch QB in the spotlight? The Cowboys have the talent to win on any given Sunday, or a Wednesday in this case. The Cowboys are also dealing with injuries to their receivers, as Miles Austin has had a bad hammy, and it’s iffy whether or not Jason Witten suits up at all with his bad spleen. So who wins this game?…..There are just too many question marks this early for the 2012 Dallas Cowboys, and the fact that they still had undisciplined play in the preseason is concerning. The Giants are the much more focused team, and will ride the wave of emotion from their New York faithful…..New York Giants 27, Dallas Cowboys 19…..
Denver Sports by J Simp