The Cowboys host the Giants on Sunday in the season opener, and are looking to make it five straight wins against the Giants. If previous season openers are anything to go by, this game should end with a Cowboys win, as KD Drummond explained in a post in April.
Cowboys have won four straight against G-Men, and will try to enhance their 7-0 record against the Giants in season openers, dating back to 1965.
But divisional games have a way of taking on a life of their own, so pre-game predictions may not mean all that much. Whether or not the experts have a good feel for what will happen on Sunday remains to be seen, but here's what those experts are predicting for the game:
Peter Schrager, Foxsports
||38-21||The Giants are hurting all over and it's not even Week 1. Their safety situation is dire, Victor Cruz is still not 100 percent, and the offensive line has more question marks than an episode of "Lost." Then, there's the pass rush. Is there one? The Cowboys get Sean Lee back and added Randy Gregory and Greg Hardy -- at least after he serves his four-game suspension -- to their pass rush. After the summer they've had, I just don't see the Giants showing up ready to compete. This one could get ugly.|
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
||37-33||The Cowboys have won the past four games against the Giants, and will make it five straight here. Dallas will be improved on defense, but I think Eli Manning and his offense will keep it close in this one. Tony Romo wins a shootout against a suspect Giants defense.|
Don Banks, SI.com
||34-20||The Giants will move the ball against a Dallas defense that some think has improved over last year’s strong showing, but New York’s defense isn’t anywhere near ready to contend with Tony Romo and the rest of the defending NFC East champs. The Cowboys are starting to dominate this division series, and will keep Jerry Jones smiling throughout the Sunday Night Football opener with a fifth consecutive vanquishing of their rivals.|
Greg Cote, Miami Herald
||30-27||Sunday prime-timer was a Game of the Week contender; you don’t get many better division rivalries in Week 1. 51. Dallas won NFC East last year, and no team has repeated in that division since 2004. ’Boys have beaten Biggies in four in a row, but both were competitive last year. Prospect of a TV-pleasing shootout favors Tony Romo at home.|
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
||34-20||The Cowboys have much more talent and much more skill and much more everything than the Giants, who seem to think every year that they’re on the verge of turning things around but they never quite can.|
David Steele, Sporting News
||30-16||There are a surprising number of question marks for a Cowboys team coming off such a solid season and harboring such high hopes. Is that line good enough to negate losing DeMarco Murray? Can Randy Gregory make an impact right away on a defense that needs him? However, the Cowboys likely will struggle more with themselves than with the Giants.|
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
||37-24||You may or may not know that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have not met the most times among active quarterbacks. Believe it or not, that designation belongs to Tony Romo and Eli Manning, who will be facing each other for the 17th time as starters come Sunday evening. (That's not counting Romo's first significant NFL game action, which came against the Giants when he subbed in for a pat-pat-pat-the-ball Drew Bledsoe.) While Dallas swept last year's series, it probably wouldn't have happened if a) Larry Donnell didn't fumble twice in Big D, and b) Manning didn't have a deflected ball go right into Barry Church's hands in N.J. Still, Dallas will win again because the Giants simply don't have horses up front that the Cowboys can't wrangle.|
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk
||34-25||The Cowboys’ running game won’t be quite what it was last year without DeMarco Murray, but the combination of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and a great offensive line gives them one of the best passing attacks in the NFL. They’ll put plenty of points on the board against the Giants.|
Not everybody provides commentary with their pick. Here are a few pick'em panels who don't offer any sound bites, but who do offer a take on who the favorite is for Sunday night.
|NFL Around The League||6||0|
|Dallas Morning News||10||0|
And even the fans don't leave much of a doubt about who the favorite is in this game:
The Cowboys are 6-point favorites at home over the Giants, but NFL games - and divisional games in particular - are not played in Vegas and can often go in an entirely different direction than one would have expected. And with this being the season opener, almost anything is possible on Sunday night.
What's your expectation for the game?
Get your picks in for the BTB Pick 256 Challenge!
Pick 256 is a season-long contest in which BTB members and readers get to pick the straight-up winners for all games each week. We have 460 entries for kickoff weekend so far, and only four of the entries picked the Giants to win.
Because we were a little late with the kickoff post this week, you have until kickoff on Sunday at 1 pm EST to submit your picks (and you'll get a freebie for tonight's Steelers/Patriots game). But why wait until the last minute? If you haven't yet submitted your picks, now would be a good time. Here's the link to the entry form.
If the link above doesn't work for whatever reason, use the following alternative, which does not autopopulate your BTB user name into the entry form.