It is September 5th, 2012 in the Meadowlands, NJ (never quite got how they could be the New YORK Giants and play in New JERSEY, but I digress). Your Dallas Cowboys are about to kick-off the 2012 season against the team that eliminated them from playoff contention, and went on to win the big one. I have a vision for the way this game might turn out, and I have a blue print example for Garrett and Co. to follow on their way to this victory.
Find out more after the jump...
In week one of the 2011 season, the Baltimore Ravens faced off with the Pittsburg Steelers, the team that had eliminated them from the 2010 playoffs and had gone on to the Super Bowl (sound familiar yet?).
In this week 1 matchup the Ravens outgained the Steelers 385 to 312, ran for 170 yards and 1 TD, got 3 TD passes from Joe Flacco, sacked Roethlisberger 4 times, forced 7 Steeler turnovers(3 picks and 4 fumbles) and never trailed. They took the lead with 13:28 seconds left in the first quarter of the game and never looked back. They outplayed, and punished the Steelers from the first snap to the last and put a first class butt-whoopin on the defending AFC Champs.
After the game the Ravens talked about how they had been salivating all off-season long to get their hands on the Steelers after being eliminated by them the previous year. They had a Super Bowl in September, and set the tone for how their entire season would go. Of course they had some hiccups against Jacksonville and Seattle, but they finished 12-4 and went to the AFC Title game, and were 1 Lee Evans dropped TD away from the Super Bowl.
So how does this apply to the Cowboys/Giants Matchup on September 5???
I think this is the blue print for the Cowboys to beat the Giants week 1. Punish them physically, and hit them in the mouth over and over. Hopefully Carr, Claiborne, Jenkins and company will be able to keep the Giants receivers tied up long enough to force Eli to hold the ball and take some shots.
Since 2007, Eli Manning has 4 wins and 13 losses in games in which he is sacked 3 or more times. In those 17 games, he has thrown 26 of his 85 interceptions. He has thrown multiple interceptions in 7 of the games when he has been sacked 3 or more times and that represents almost 1/3 of the 22 times in the 5 years where he has thrown multiple interceptions.
I see the Cowboys putting relentless pressure on Eli, while disguising who is coming after him. I also picture Eli trying to pick on Claiborne because it will be his first regular season game in the NFL in prime time, and I think Mo makes him pay atleast once. I think the Cowboys show the ability to create turnovers and win by atleast 10, as they come out to show they aren't the same old Cowboys and that they will punish their opponents physically on defense and in the running game on offense and make them pay when they make a mistake.
After this game hype for the 2012 Cowboys could be at an all time high, and this will be when one of Jason Garrett's main principles will come into play, dealing with adversity, and dealing with success.