Cowboys vs. Giants: Top Five Reasons New York Will Win the NFL Season Opener

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst ISeptember 3, 2012

Cowboys vs. Giants: Top Five Reasons New York Will Win the NFL Season Opener

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    Football is finally back!

    Wednesday marks the start of a new season, as the Super Bowl champion Giants play host to their NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys

    One team will be looking to become the first team to successfully defend their title since the New England Patriots did almost a decade ago. 

    The other is looking to make a statement in the ultra competitive East and gain more than their one lone postseason win after seeing their rivals win two championships long after their own dynasty ended in the mid 90s. 

    It's time to throw the preseason records out the window and make your final evaluations on rookie performances—also hope that any player of significance was not injured during an insignificant game. 

The Boys Won't Be Ready for Real Time After an Easy Preseason Schedule

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    Of the four opponents the Dallas Cowboys faced in the preseason, three figure to be near the bottom of the standings come Week 17.

    In fact, the only team that's projected to do well and perhaps make the playoffs—the San Diego Chargers—was responsible for the Cowboys' only loss.

    Now, of course, the preseason amounts to a hill of beans. The record is rather useless, but assessing the talent of rookies, players returning off injury and how your first team matches up against the opponent is important. 

    So San Diego scoring 21 points against the Boys in the fourth quarter shouldn't be viewed as a huge loss—it's just a wake-up call to any team about how a lack of depth can come back to bite you later in the season as injuries take their toll. 

Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks Will Bully Rookie Morris Claiborne

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    After an extremely poor showing from the entire LSU Tigers in last year's National Championship, the bright lights of New York City will descend upon Dallas' top draft pick Morris Claiborne. 

    Through no major fault of his own, the last time the spotlight was on Claiborne, it was a disaster. The season opener in the media capital of the world is going to shake the confidence of any rookie, no matter what anyone tells you.

    With Eli Manning having formed great chemistry with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, the passing game for the Giants is already established.

    The loss of Mario Manningham is going to hurt the Giants in the short-run, but it will only be a matter of time before Manning turns a third receiver into a star. 

    Star cornerback Mike Jenkins is coming off a shoulder surgery and expecting any player to come back at 100 percent is a bad idea. 

    For his own benefit, Claiborne won't be rushed into a starting job from day one, but a player of his caliber and draft status needs to get as much experience as he can. 

    The Giants offensive line is not a good matchup for Dallas, and with offenses across the league switching to an extremely pass-heavy agenda, expect Manning to light up the Cowboys. 

The Champs Always Win the Season Opener

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    Since 2004, when the Super Bowl winner began being featured in the season opener, the champs have always won.

    The Giants are coming in Wednesday with all the confidence in the world, as well they should. They know they're the team to beat and have plenty of players and personnel from their Super Bowl XLII squad to know how to handle the pressure of having a bullseye painted on their chest. 

DeMarco Murray Won't Break the Giants' D

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    I don't like or trust Felix Jones.

    I put him in the same boat as Rashard Mendenhall. The two were drafted 22nd and 23rd overall in the 2008 draft.

    Both teams must look back at that first round and shake their heads when they could have had Chris Johnson or Matt Forte

    Thankfully for the Cowboys, DeMarco Murray emerged last year as one of the NFL's most explosive backs.

    While there's not a lot of data on Murray's five carry performance against the Giants last year, rest assured the G-Men are not going to fold like the Rams or Dolphins—teams that Murray absolutely burned. 

    The old adage, "Defense wins championships" didn't hold true when the Giants, ranked 27th in overall defense, met the Patriots, ranked 31st in overall defense in last year's Super Bowl. 

    Despite the fact that Dallas may be coming in with a better defense on paper, it would be foolhardy to assume the Giants D won't hold true in the primetime opener. 

There Is No Longer Any Doubt Eli Manning Is an Elite QB

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    With his second Super Bowl victory—and MVP to boot—Eli Manning has put to rest the constant talk of whether or not he is one of the league's best quarterbacks.

    Constantly underrated even after his first championship, the younger Manning has more championships than his brother Peyton, and has dealt future Hall of Famer Tom Brady his only Super Bowl losses. 

    With all the buzz surrounding Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees regarding the league MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, not too many people noticed Manning's career year of 4,933 passing yards and 61 percent completion percentage. 

    At only 31 years old, Manning is in his prime, and it's definitely not unreasonable to think that he's got another Super Bowl or two left in him.