Here are five players to focus on when the Dallas Cowboys face off against the New York Giants tonight on Sunday Night Football.
The Dallas Cowboys have a tough test to start off their 2017 NFL regular season, facing the only team to beat them twice last season. On their way to a 13-3 record, the Cowboys lost in both of their meetings with their divisional rivals, the New York Giants. But both contests were highly competitive, as the G-Men only beat Dallas by a combined four points.
Now, the Cowboys will face off against the Giants once again. And New York brings some new offensive toys with them to AT&T Stadium in rookie tight end Evan Engram and veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall. It should be an epic matchup on Sunday Night Football.
Here are five Cowboys players I’ll be watching when these two NFC East rivals kick it off…
Dak Prescott, Quarterback
All eyes will be on Prescott, the man under center commanding America’s Team. The second-year quarterback has heard all the speculation of a sophomore slump this entire offseason. But he’s looked nothing but sharp and poised so far this year. Prescott can put much of that noise to rest with a solid outing and a victory of the Giants in Week One.
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back
Following an offseason full of suspension and investigation news, Elliott has remained very quiet. Now, the 22-year old has a chance to let his play do the talking. I expect a monstrous debut from Zeke, as he takes his frustrations out on New York.
Jaylon Smith, Linebacker
It is believed Smith will get his first professional start in this ball game. Regardless if that happens or not, watching the young linebacker is a must for fans as he represents the team’s defensive future. Still recovering from a devastating knee injury, Smith has improved with each preseason outing. Now, a knee injury suffered by starting middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens will force the former 2016 second round pick into early action. How will Smith respond?
Orlando Scandrick, Cornerback
One of the biggest areas of concern going into this matchup for the Cowboys is their defensive secondary. Losing three of their starters to free agency this offseason, Scandrick now stands alone as the wily veteran of this inexperienced group. Recently named a team captain for the first time in his nine-year career, Orlando will need to step up and become the defensive monster he showed signs of being three years ago.
Jeff Heath, Safety
After spending the past few seasons as the Cowboys special teams ace, Jeff Heath has earned a chance to start at safety for Dallas this season. That doesn’t mean he’ll end the year in that same role though. Heath is going to have to prove he can be a viable starter in the NFL and that begins Sunday night against the Giants.
Bonus: Ryan Switzer, Wide Receiver/Returner
After being sidelined the entire preseason due to a hamstring injury, fourth round selection Ryan Switzer is expected to make his much anticipated debut against New York on Sunday night. The diminutive receiver should be a game-changer as a special teams returner for Dallas this season as well as being a Cole Beasley-clone on offense. Switzer will be exciting to watch.