Giants vs Cowboys Week 1 Preview by Vincent Zahler
Just 2 meaningful regular season losses for the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. Both of which were at the hands of the New York Giants. Both tough and close battles at opposite ends of the season. Were the Giants better than a 13 win team or did they simply match up well with the Cowboys? Perhaps that question will be answered tomorrow night. Let's review the matchups.. Cowboys Offense versus Giants Defense: This is the highlight of the game. The powerful and efficient offense of Dallas against the ferocious and playmaking defense of the Giants. Dak Prescott is looking to build off his shockingly impressive rookie season behind a vaunted offensive line aided by a top notch running game. Dak may have had plenty of help with Ezekiel Elliot and co. but he did everything that was asked of him and then some. Unfortunately for the Giants, top 3 running back Elliot will play after all said and done. Fortunately for the Giants, Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul and Damon "Snacks" Harrison are among the best run stuffers in the league to go with their pass rushing prowess. Dallas's receiving corp is rather formidable. Dez Bryant is a top 10 wide receiver and a prototypical number 1. He will be most likely be shadowed by all-pro Janoris "Jack Rabbit" Jenkins. If anyone can keep Dez in check, it Jenkins. On the other side, second year corner will have his hands full with fine deep threat Terrence Williams. This leaves all-pro level Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to deal with the slippery slot man Cole Beasley. All-pro safety Landon Collins will have possibly the most difficult task of all dealing with future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. Due to age, the edge is probably in Collins' favor. This game in the end comes down to the line play. Pro bowler/all-pros Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith against pro bowler/all-pros Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul and Damon Harrison. It's probably a draw. If the Giants can get penetration early and often, it can neutralize a fairly prolific Dallas offense. Cowboys Defense versus Giants Offense Wildcard is the best way to describe this matchup. The Giants offense has been Beckham or bust since Odell Beckham burst into the scene and by most reports, he's questionable at best to play following an ankle injury in preseason. The good news is that the Giants have another proven wide receiver in the form of Brandon Marshall to line up opposite 2016 all rookie team WR Sterling Shepherd. To add, there's the addition of exciting rookie Evan Engram. Dallas' secondary is decent but not special. Outside of Byron Jones and Orlando Scandrick its solid at best. It's a matchup that Eli Manning and the Giants should seek to exploit. Up front, both lines are questionable. While the Cowboys pass rush leaves much to be desired, so does the Giants pass protection. Maliek Collins is a fine player while ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford seem to hold up their own without flashing much. It remains to be seen what Taco Charlton can do. If there is a line that's susceptible to penetration and being stuffed in the run game it's the one featuring a decent center and guard in Weston Richburg and Justin Pugh but mediocre tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart. The battle up front here may very well be the deciding factor in the end. Somewhere off limits for the Giants offense might be the middle where college stalwart Jaylon Smith is to make his debut in the middle next to all-pro level Sean Lee and rising Damien Wilson. This group could make it extremely difficult for the Giants offense to do what they do best in the short passing game to running backs Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen. Prediction: Cowboys 20 Giants 13 After all said and done, most likely being without what has been the catalyst and virtual focal point of the Giants offense in OBJ, it may limit the Giants just enough to not keep up.