The New York Giants begin their title defense in what could be a rain soaked MetLife
Stadium against rival Dallas Cowboys. Since the NFL started having the former Super Bowl
victor open the season at home eight years ago, the Super Bowl Champion has yet to lose.
Furthermore, Big Blue has won five of the last six and seven of the last nine meetings with the
Cowboys including last season’s series sweep, averaging 34 points against a defense that
surrendered 21.7 per game. Eli Manning stole the show at home last year against Dallas, going
24 of 33 attempts for 346 yards and three touchdowns. But, a downpour could dampen those
numbers. Forecasts show showers with isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon, which may
produce heavy rainfall. Southwest winds are expected to climb up to 5 to 10 mph with an overall
60 percent chance of rain come game time.
If conditions hold, the Giants are likely to try out their running game that ranked dead last in total rushing offense a year ago. And with the bruising running back Brandon Jacobs jumping coasts to join the 49ers, a heavy workload will be on Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw only picked up 69 yards on 24 carriers in two outings against Dallas last year and could have trouble holding onto the wet pigskin this week with one injured hand. His backup, David Wilson, will see some carries if Bradshaw’s injured hand is still bothersome.
Expect quarterback Eli Manning to rely on short passing patterns to start the game since
visibility downfield could be sub-par. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz will receive most of the
targets, given their chemistry with Eli and their ability to collect yards after the catch. Do not
count out tight end Martellus Bennett who saw a lot of preseason action and could be a red
zone option for Manning.
On the other side of the ball, the Dallas Cowboys have a similar style of attack with
two explosive receivers, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, as well as a dynamic running back in
DeMarco Murray. Still, quarterback Tony Romo is the key to making this all work. If Romo
can avoid turnovers and release the ball quickly, the Cowboys’ offense could challenge the
experienced Giants defense.
Given that both defenses have a strong front seven, the game is likely come down to
the basics: protect the football and make short gains in ugly weather. A banged up New York
Giant’s secondary forces Michael Coe into the starting lineup. If running back DeMarco Murray
struggles on the ground as he did a year ago, Coe will have his hands full with wide-outs Miles
Austin and Dez Bryant who should be able to make their moves on the wet but solid turf. At the
end of the night, this game is likely to be decided by turnovers. A lot has to go right for either
team to win this game, considering it is the season opener in a probable downpour, mistakes
are bound to happen.
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This story originally appeared on Nationalfootballpost.com
- Dallas Cowboys
- Eli Manning
- Eli Manning
- Ahmad Bradshaw
- The New York Giants