Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Jets Preview: 5 Things to Watch

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IISeptember 9, 2011

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Jets Preview: 5 Things to Watch

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    This Sunday, NBC's Sunday Night Football plays host to one of the best matchups of Week 1 when the New York Jets host the Dallas Cowboys in the new Meadowlands

    This game marks a lot of firsts, along with a lot returns for star players from injury. 

    It also marks a high octane offense versus one of the league's elite defenses. Prime time is exactly where this game belongs. 

    Here are a few things I'll be watching for in this game. 

Tony Romo's Return

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    Dallas quarterback Tony Romo returns to the field after his shortened season due to a nasty collarbone injury he suffered vs. the Giants a year ago. 

    I'm anxious to see which Tony Romo shows up for the game.

    More importantly, I'm anxious to see if he's fully healed, or if he has some lingering problems with the collarbone. 

Miles Austin's Injury

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    Pro Bowl wide receiver Miles Austin has been plagued with a ailing hamstring injury all offseason. 

    He's been limited in practice the last couple weeks and the Cowboys hope to have him back in full practice on Friday.

    I'll be noticing if the hamstring is affecting Austin on the field, or as a subsequent consequence, some of his looks go Dez Bryant's way. 

Rob Ryan vs. Rex Ryan

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    The NFL planned this one perfectly.

    Brand new Cowboys defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, vs. his outspoken brother, Rex.

    We'll see if the guys let the players duke it out on the field, or if this game slips into a game of egos.

    Either way, brotherly love will be flowing in New York, and it's going to be one hell of a chess match. 

Mark Sanchez

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    Mark Sanchez was drafted fifth overall by the Jets in 2009, however, his production as a quarterback has been that of a fifth-round draft pick.

    Simply put, Sanchez needs to prove that he can handle playing quarterback for a big-name team, run by a big-name coach who isn't afraid to let his quarterback know when he's unhappy. 

    Prior to the onset of the season, Rex Ryan named Sanchez the team captain. Week 1, I'll be noticing "Pretty Boy" Sanchez's progression as an on-field leader. 

Plaxico Burress' Involvement

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    Plaxico Burress will be suiting up in his first NFL regular season game since 2008, when he plays against the Cowboys on Sunday night. 

    He's 34 years old now, and aside from one spectacular diving catch, his preseason has told the same tale. 

    Week 1 against the Cowboys will tell whether or not the Jets are serious about utilizing Plax, or, if his signing was just a novelty act.