The New York Giants will come to town looking to rain on Jerry Jones' parade. If Dallas can pull off a win against the team who many consider the best in the division--some the best in the conference, it would give us an indication of how good these Cowboys actually are as a team.
I think we can all agree that this one is going to be a doozy.
Exactly, what kind of team is Dallas? How good can we really expect them to be? Albert Breer says that playing the Giants will be a good way to gauge the Cowboys. From this game, Breer thinks that the team will have a better understanding of its offensive line, overall discipline, how well they defend the run, and how well they maintain focus under pressure.
At the very least, Cowboys players seem to grasp the fact that they can win only games now, not championships.
"It changes," quarterback Tony Romo said. "There will be some great team here for the first six weeks that will have the Super Bowl wrapped up, and there will be another for the next six weeks, and then there will be another team. That's just part of football."
That said, Sunday night's showdown yells BIG GAME louder than most September matchups. Dallas officially opens its $1.2 billion football palace, with more than 100,000 fans expected to attend. And on the other sideline will be the team from New York that took away the Cowboys' Super Bowl dreams in 2007 -- and their division title last year.
More Giants @ Cowboys after the jump.
I'm glad not to be the only one who fears this. Tom Orsborn's article reaches into the recent history of how the Cowboys fall flat in landmark games--a streak that must be broken!
That’s been the case three times this decade, starting with the day Emmitt Smith became the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Oct. 27, 2002. Rather than celebrate Smith’s big moment with a win, the Cowboys fell 17-14 to the Seattle Seahawks.
Three years later, the Cowboys inducted "The Triplets" — Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin — into the Ring of Honor at halftime of a Monday night contest against the hated Washington Redskins. It looked like a perfect night until the Cowboys blew a 13-0 lead in the fourth quarter to lose 14-13.
And then there was last December, the final game at Texas Stadium, a game with playoff implications, a game the Cowboys needed to win to shake their annual December blues and ride into the season finale in Philadelphia on a roll. But instead of rising to the occasion, the Cowboys gave up back-to-back long touchdowns runs in the fourth quarter to lose 33-24 to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Giants' defenders know about Felix Jones.
"He’s a game-breaker," Corey Webster said yesterday. "He can make the big runs, the big catches. He can change the game, even on kickoff teams."
They know about his speed.
"You’ve just got to play a speed guy a little different," Mathias Kiwanuka said. "Make sure that your leverage is exactly right ‘cause he’ll get on top of you quick and make sure that we do our jobs."
New York has a talented, young safety in Kenny Phillips. But because of a nagging knee injury, it is unclear whether he will play this week. The injury is something he may just have to deal with all season.
Unfortunately, it looks like that's the way it's going to be all season for the Giants' first-round pick in 2008. Although neither Phillips nor the team has discussed the specifics of his injury, they've said that there's nothing they can do to fix the problem in-season so it is expected to linger all year. Phillips said the week-to-week issue will be controlling the swelling and figuring out how much he can tolerate the pain.
"That's what we're trying to avoid by me sitting out practice," Phillips said. "I want to make sure that if I do play, I'm 100%."
If they keep asking, Brandon Jacobs keeps answering.
"You don’t want to ever lose a divisional game whether the stadium was built in 1909 or one that was built today," Jacobs said. "Dallas doesn’t like us and a couple of guys on their team made that pretty clear earlier in the week. We have guys in this locker room who are going to make that clear as well."
The guys at the Wall Street Journal all pick the Giants to win (insert sad face, here).
New York Giants at Dallas (-3): Your predictor will freely cop to some anti-Cowboy bias, but it’s easier to pull for the Giants given that this is the home opener at the hilariously gaudy — even J.R. Ewing was like, "dude, this is a bit much" — new Cowboys Stadium. It’s easier to be biased considering that the Giants looked solid in Week 1, and that their one defensive weakness — a gimpy secondary — isn’t likely to be exploited by a just-OK Dallas receiving corps. The Cowboys are good at a lot of things: rushing the passer, creative offensive schemes, having a loathsome owner. But the Giants just seem better. — DR
Pick: David: N.Y. Giants, Garey: N.Y. Giants, Al Toonie: N.Y. Giants
Here is DC.com's injury report for the game.
PFTV previews the game in this video.
For all you lovers of numbers, Larry Ackers does his statistical preview of the game.
Tony Dungy had some nice stuff to say about the Dallas offense, while Rodney Harrison dissected the defense.
"I really liked the Cowboys offense", said NBC's Tony Dungy. "They did a lot with their receivers. Got the ball to a lot of different people." Dungy was also impressed with Cowboys' ground game, "They're very balanced right now, playing very, very good offense with Tony Romo in charge."
But NBC's Rodney Harrison cautions the Cowboys defense has some room for improvement: "The Dallas Cowboys have some issues in their secondary", Harrison said. "You look up front, they're playing well. But in the secondary they just didn't seem like they were playing with a lot of confidence. Terrence Newman got out of position a few times. It looks right now like now that the offense is clicking a lot faster than the defense".
LB Keith Brooking is determined to right the defense's ship.
"There has to be a sense of urgency," linebacker Keith Brooking said. "I just watched the film by myself, and we can't accept that defensively. "I know without a doubt we will go in there and get the mistakes corrected and guys will be accountable. I know that all 11 guys on our defense have the right mentality and the right attitude. They are going to focus just like I am going to focus, and we aren't going to let this happen again."
With more than 100,000 attendees expected at Cowboys Stadium (a number aided by the BTB Social), how will Sunday's crowd compare to those that hit that high mark in the league's past?
The largest crowd for an NFL regular-season game was 103,467 for Arizona-San Francisco in Mexico City in 2005. The record for a game in the United States is 103,985 for the Super Bowl between Steelers and Rams at the Rose Bowl in January 1980. The record for any NFL game is 112,376 for a preseason game between the Cowboys and Houston Oilers in Mexico City in 1994; that'll probably hold until the Super Bowl comes to this building in February 2011.
For those of you going to the game, this website might help you with parking: dallascowboysmaps.com. At the preseason game against the 49ers, I must have circled the parking lots four to five times trying to figure out which one was for my section.
On Friday morning, did you get a chance to watch the best Today Show ever? If not, here's the clip of tourguide, Emmitt Smith.
Matt Lauer cruises around in a golf cart while talking to Jerry Jones.
I saved the best for last. Run through a little history of, and meet the 2009 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
MartyB interviews Kevin Ogletree on DC.com's multimedia center. Hilarious!