NFL Season Opener 2012: Bold Predictions for Cowboys vs. Giants

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 01:   Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys and  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants greet each other after their game at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

I can't think of a better way for the NFL regular season to get going than a meeting between two teams that genuinely dislike each other, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants.

The Giants have beaten the Cowboys in three of their last four meetings, most recently in Week 17 of the 2011 season in a game that determined the winner of the NFC East—a game the Giants won going away, 31-14.

Both teams have revamped and retooled their rosters during the offseason and will be ready to go when the coin is flipped this evening.

So how's it all going to play out? Let's take a look.


Tony Romo Will Air It Out All Day Long

Is there a more polarizing quarterback around than Tony Romo? While Dallas believes in him, Romo garners little respect around the league as people are quick to point to his miscues far more often than his successes.

He will look to test the Giants secondary early and often and challenge inexperienced corners Michael Coe and Justin Tryon—though without having to worry about Jason Witten streaking downfield, both should get help over the top from safeties Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle.

Romo will eclipse 300 yards passing and throw for two touchdowns.


Eli Manning Will Do the Same

Dallas made it a priority to upgrade its secondary following the 2011 season, and the Cowboys accomplished their goal by signing free-agent corner Brandon Carr and drafting corner Morris Claiborne in the first round of this year's draft.

Even with those additions, Giants quarterback Eli Manning will not be deterred from airing it out to his duo of electrifying wide receivers, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

Like Romo, Eli is a sure bet for a 300-yard day, though he'll wind up with three touchdowns.


DeMarcus Ware Won't Find It As Easy To Get to Manning

There is no doubt that Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware is one of the premier pass rushers in the league, and he is going to get to Eli Manning at multiple points during the game. That's simply what the best players in the game do—they perform.

However, thoughts of Ware putting up a Derrick Thomas-like six-or-seven sack performance against journeyman Sean Locklear, who is starting at left tackle for Big Blue, are premature.

Locklear has held his own in the preseason with coach Tom Coughlin praising his pass-blocking abilities.

Like I said, Ware will get to the quarterback. But it'll be just after Eli has gotten rid of the ball, and the perennial Pro Bowler will end the day with a big fat zero in the sacks column.


DeMarco Murray Will Rush for 100 Yards

It was against the Giants in Week 13 last season that Murray broke his ankle and saw his breakout rookie season come to an end.

Fully healthy and with an axe to grind, Murray will be going up a Giants defense that allowed 121.3 yards per game on the ground in 2011, a number that placed it 19th out of the 32 teams in the league in that category.

With the Giants missing Chris Canty and Marvin Austin in the middle of their defensive line, Murray will have room to run and will get his season off to a solid start with a 100-yard game and a touchdown under his belt.


Martellus Bennett Will Be a Major Factor

While Murray might be looking for redemption for his season-ending injury, Bennett is looking to show the Cowboys why letting him go was the biggest mistake they've ever made.

Bennett told the New York Times: "I’m super-excited to show who I am and the player I’ve always been that I never got a chance to show (with the Cowboys)."

One thing Eli does as well as any quarterback in the league is spread the ball around. He has a knack for finding open receivers, and with the Cowboys keying in on containing Cruz and Nicks, Bennett will find himself with a number of mismatches in the middle of the field.

Bennett will finish the game with five receptions for 45 yards and two touchdowns.


David Wilson Will Explode In His Regular Season Debut

The Giants' first round pick in this year's draft, David Wilson, is supremely confident in his abilities, telling reporters that he has a set of goals he expects to achieve in his rookie season.

They are, via CBS Sports:

  • Five yards per carry.
  • Score at least 10 touchdowns.
  • No sacks allowed on my behalf.
  • A play of at least 20 yards in every game.
  • At least six 100-yard games.
  • No fumbles.

Wilson isn't going to score 10 touchdowns tonight, but he'll find the end zone en route to the first 100-yard rushing game of his career, including a run that goes for more than 20 yards.


That's Great and All, But What About the Final Score?

Both teams will put points on the board, but when the final whistle sounds—which considering that we are playing with replacement officials, that whistle may or may not ever be blown—the Giants will walk away victorious, 35-24.