The NFL is back and we’ve got an interesting match up in week one. The Dallas Cowboys host their AFC East division rival New York Giants on Sunday, September 8. Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. Eastern at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. These are two teams that are always under a lot of pressure, especially the Giants, who finished 5-11 last year. The Cowboys won both games in their two match ups last year.
The Cowboys, coached by Jason Garrett, had a pretty good 2018 season. They finished 10-6 and won the AFC East. In the playoffs, they beat the Seahawks in the wildcard round and gave the Rams all they could handle in the Divisional Round before losing. Expectations are high once again for the Cowboys, that’s because Ezekiel Elliott finally inked a multi-year deal. Zeke will be ready for opening day versus the Giants.
Coach Pat Shurmur’s New York Football Giants are coming off another disappointing campaign in 2018. They finished 5-11 and once again missed the playoffs. There were a lot of changes in the off season as they drafted the quarterback of the future in Daniel Jones and traded away superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for Jabril Peppers and a first round pick, who turned out to be nose tackle Dexter Lawrence. Can they build off a 4-0 preseason and do some damage in 2019?
Giants could be in for another long season
Giants fans are wondering when their team is going to turn the corner. They’ve had to endure losing seasons in five of the last six years and the last two years have been the worst — literally. In 2017, they suffered through one of the worst seasons in franchise history at 3-13. Last year they are only slightly better at 5-11. Those two horrible years landed them a franchise running back in Saquon Barkley and someone they hope is the quarterback of the future in Daniel Jones — although the jury is still out on the latter.
Until then, the quarterback of the present is Eli Manning and he’s been a shell of his former self. He was benched two years ago by then-coach Ben McAdoo, and last year he was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league with a quarterback rating of 49.1. The numbers weren’t all horrible, as he had a 66 percent completion percentage, almost 4,300 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, but a lot of his throws were dink and dunk stuff to Barkley and his receivers. He wasn’t very effective throwing the ball downfield, which may have led to their biggest move of the off season — trading Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham, who was not thrilled with his role on the Giants, was sent to Cleveland for safety Jabril Peppers and a first-round pick, which turned out to be nose tackle Dexter Lawrence. It helped shore up a pretty bad defense, which ranked 24th last year in total defense. But it left an All-Pro sized hole in the offense, which they filled by signing Golden Tate. Tate, who is more of a slot receiver, is a better fit for Manning than Beckham was, as he is good catching stuff over the middle and is great with yards after catch. But there is a slight catch with Tate — he was suspended for the first four games of the season for a banned substance.
So now the Giants have to rely mainly on Sterling Shepherd and tight end Evan Engram. Cody Lattimer and Bennie Fowler are the other wideouts. That’s not exactly a receiving corps that’s going to strike fear in opposing defenses. It seems only a matter of games, not seasons, before Eli is out and Jones is in. Either way, it could be another long season for the NY Football Giants.
Cowboys are ready to roll
The big news for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason occurred just a few days ago when the team finally came to terms with superstar running back Ezekiel Elliott. If the Cowboys want to have any shot of competing in the NFC this year, they need Elliott back in the fold. The Cowboys re-upped Elliott with a six-year, $90 million extension with $50 million guaranteed. It made him the highest-paid running back in the league. “It was super tough,” Elliott said of this holdout, reported USA Today. “I mean it was really hard. Super hard. But honestly what helped me get through is just the support of the guys in this building.”
It’s no secret that Elliott is the proverbial straw that stirs the drink in Dallas. Elliott led the NFL last year with 1,434 yards rushing last year and 5 touchdowns. He also had 77 receptions for 567 yards and 3 receiving touchdowns. Elliott led the Cowboys to a 10-6 record and an NFC East title last year. They beat Seattle in the wildcard round but lost to the Rams in the Divisional Round.
In addition, quarterback Dak Prescott has some new weapons to play with. One is an old friend, tight end Jason Witten, who came out of retirement and left a gig with Monday Night Football, to play another season in Big D. They also added slot receiver Randall Cobb. Also, Prescott will also have a full season with receiver Amari Cooper, who they picked up midseason last year. Cooper had a major impact on the Cowboys offense last year and is expected to be even better this year as he has grown more comfortable in the offense. Promising young player Michael Gallup is the other wide receiver.
Last year the Cowboys ranked 7th in team defense. They added an elite pass rusher in Robert Quinn, who, alongside DeMarcus Lawrence, will give the Cowboys one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. They kept all the major pieces in place at linebacker and in the secondary, so the Cowboys should once again be an elite defensive team. The Super Bowl is certainly within reach for Dallas this year.
- Cowboys are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NFC East.
- Giants are 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games on fieldturf.
- Giants are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games in Week 1.
- Giants are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games in September.