There are plenty of storylines to discuss in this one. Can the Giants start their title defense with a win? Can the Cowboys take their revenge for a 2011 that saw them lose twice to New York, including a Week 17 heartbreaker with the division title and playoff berth on the line?
And will either defense be able to slow down the offenses after 116 total points were scored in the two meetings between these sides last season?
Nope, it doesn't get much better than starting off the season this way. Let's take an in-depth look at this NFC East battle between two heated rivals.
When: Wednesday, September 5 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Listen: WFAN660 AM (New York), Sirius 92 and 93
Stream: Sunday Night Football All Access
Spread: Giants (-3.5), according to Bet Online
Cowboys Injuries (via ESPN)
DT Jay Ratliff, Ankle, Questionable
CB Mike Jenkins, Shoulder, Questionable
WR Dez Bryant, Knee, Probable
TE Jason Witten, Spleen, Questionable
WR Miles Austin, Hamstring, Probable
Giants Injuries (via ESPN)
LB Adrian Tracy, Questionable
LB Michael Boley, Hamstring, Probable
WR Hakeem Nicks, Foot, Questionable
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Hand, Probable
DT Marvin Austin, Back, Questionable
CB Jayron Hosley, Toe, Probable
CB Prince Amukamara, Ankle, Questionable
DT Shaun Rogers, IR
CB Terrell Thomas, IR
What's At Stake
Everyone likes to get off to a fast start in the NFL, but that's compounded when you open with a divisional rival. Both of these teams have aspirations to win the NFC East and make the playoffs, making this opening game a huge tilt for both sides.
Plus, the intensity in this one will be ratcheted up considering the Giants beat the Cowboys in the last game of the 2011 season with the division and a playoff berth up for grabs.
This is the fantasy football game of the week. Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Ahmad Bradshaw, DeMarco Murray and Jason Witten (assuming all of these guys play) should be started for fantasy teams in all formats.
This game looks like it could be a shootout, making plenty of fantasy owners quite happy to start the season.
Cowboys Player to Watch: DeMarco Murray, Running Back
Of all of the fantasy football players that will be started for owners in this contest, none is more intriguing than Murray. He exploded on the scene last season for the Cowboys, namely in his 253-yard breakthrough against the St. Louis Rams.
Still, with just seven NFL starts and two touchdowns, the jury is out on whether or not Murray can be the guy for the Cowboys over the course of a full season. If he is and shows the form he had in his seven starts last season, the Cowboys are going to have a very, very good offense this year.
If he can't be, it's another year of Felix Jones as the feature back. Yawn.
We'll get a good idea of what Murray has in store for 2012 against the Giants. I won't be shocked if he steals the show. Likewise, I won't be terribly surprised if he's a non-factor.
Giants Player to Watch: Eli Manning, Quarterback
A year removed from not only his best individual season of his career but also a Super Bowl win, the question remains: Can Eli Manning continue upon his 2011 success this year?
Fantasy owners want to know if he can come anywhere close to matching his 4,933 passing yards from a year ago, 912 yards over his previous high. And Giants fans hope he can replicate his 29 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions after throwing 25 picks a year before.
Last year, there was talk that Eli had earned the distinction of being the finest Manning in the game. I think the jury's still out. On Wednesday, we'll have a chance to see if Eli has an encore in his right arm this season.
What They're Saying
If you think the Cowboys forgot about the Week 17 loss to the Giants last year that cost them the division and kept them out of the playoffs, well, think again.
As Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes, that game has been on minds of several members of the Cowboys organization heading into this game:
Until Saturday, when the practice week started, the Cowboys hadn't looked like they wanted to forget it. Jason Witten and Sean Lee talked about the game all spring and summer. DeMarcus Ware said at the kickoff luncheon last week he was shaking because he wanted to play the Giants again so bad.
Jerry Jones opened training camp with balloons, skydivers and a microphone, inviting everybody in Oxnard, Calif., to come down to Cowboys Stadium and watch the Cowboys kick the Giants' donkeys.
Key Matchup: The Secondaries Against the Passing Attacks
Both the Giants and Cowboys' secondaries were weak points for each team last year.
The Giants gave up 255.1 passing yards per game and 28 touchdowns. The Cowboys weren't much better, giving up 244.1 passing yards per game and 24 touchdowns.
The Cowboys made serious moves attempting to improve against the pass, signing cornerback Brandon Carr and moving up in the draft to add Morris Claiborne. They should be better.
The Giants' secondary improved by the end of the year, and they'll be hoping Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, Prince Amukamara and Corey Webster can build upon the strides the unit made throughout the preseason.
Still, I think Romo and Manning will put on an aerial show on Wednesday evening. Get ready for a shootout.
The Cowboys want to win this one. Bad. I'm of the belief that NFC East clashes are pretty much always a toss-up, and the Giants could be in danger of a Super Bowl hangover. In a game that will be fun from start to finish, I think the Cowboys steal this one, 31-28.
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