The NFL will open their season on Wednesday night for the first time in 64 years. The last time was back in 1948 as the Los Angeles Rams beat the Detroit Lions, 44-7.
Fast forward to 2012, the Dallas Cowboys will open up the season against the defending World Champion New York Giants. Kickoff is at 7:30 pm CDT at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Many experts are predicting that the Giants will prevail, coming off of the emotion a Super Bowl victory. It is said by ESPN Analyst Tim McMahon that the “Cowboys can’t stop Eli Manning when it matters most.” More than McMahon have said that the Cowboys will fall to Manning and the Giants. The ironic thing is that there are no predictions of a blowout. Most of the predictions are less than 2 touchdowns, some even as close as a one point victory by New York.
Granted, Eli Manning is back and in great shape. The Giants bring back most of their team from last year and will be a good team to play against, especially on opening night in front of millions of fans.
Here is the thing….the Dallas Cowboys are back! Rob Ryan, the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys, has his defense more than ready to take on Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, and Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants don’t have the two headed running back monster in Bradshaw and former Giant Brandon Jacobs. The Dallas defense has improved in the secondary, which was an obvious weak link from last season. The acquisition of Brandon Carr and the drafting of Morris Claiborne has the secondary looking mighty salty. Jay Ratliff is out for this game, so Josh Brent will probably get the start and need to step up his game for this nationally televised game.
If the offense is anything like it was last year, it will kick it in gear late in the game. Quarterback Tony Romo looked sharp towards the end of the preseason, the running backs are healthy minus a wrist injury to DeMarco Murray, but he is listed as probable and participated in the last full practice. Tight End Jason Witten is listed as doubtful, but he is still expected to travel and ready to play some football. Wide Receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant along with new third receiver, Dwayne Harris will be hard to stop. Romo is a fantasy football team’s best friend.
He is a stats monster, but now that the pressure will be off from having a failing defensive backfield, he will be able to put some big numbers and get some touchdowns added to the usual he can put up.
Provided the Cowboys don’t hurt themselves with penalties, this will be a game for the ages. The Giants will be the team they are playing, but the only team that can lose this game is the Cowboys themselves by having unnecessary penalties. The offensive line will have to earn its paycheck as they face off against a very good Giants front seven.
An analysis of data, provided by nfl.com shows that the Cowboys matchup better than the Giants as there were 7 categories offensively and 5 defensively. Offensively, the Cowboys are better at converting 3rd downs, better rush yards per game, and time of possession. Defensively, Dallas has lower total yards per game, passing yards per game, rushing yards per game, and points allowed per game.
Defense wins championships and the Dallas defense will win this game. Cowboys win 27-21.