The Cowboys host the Giants today in the season opener and are looking to make it six straight wins against the Giants. If previous season openers are anything to go by, this game should end with a Cowboys win, as the Cowboys are 8-0 against the Giants in season openers, dating all the way 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
||17-13||Dak and Zeke are all the rage and it’s hard not to get caught up in the hysteria. The last time there was a rookie quarterback and rookie running back starting for the Cowboys in Week 1, it was Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill and the year was 1969. The stage will be huge. Troy and Joe are there, it’s a nationally televised game, and the Giants have $200 million of new additions on defense. I see a low-scoring affair, and the visiting Giants winning in the end on the arm of Eli Manning.|
Greg Cote, Miami Herald
||24-23||Division rivals in a rare pick-’em game that finds Giants 0-8 all-time in season openers vs. Dallas. Biggies also have lost three in a row with Cowboys hosting. NYG welcomes new coach Ben McAdoo, sports’ first great McAdoo since Bob, but doubt he’ll leave field smiling. Cowboy hopes sank with Tony Romo’s latest injury but Dak Prescott — who would be Dallas’ first rookie QB to win a season opener since Roger Staubach in 1969 — has looked sharp. And I expect a big season, and game, from rookie Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott.|
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
||21-17||Dak Prescott makes his first NFL start against a tough division rival. The Giants spent big to improve their defense, and it will provide a nice challenge for the rookie. He looked good in the preseason, but he will see a lot of new looks. Eli Manning finds a way late to win it.|
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
||27-20||Dak Prescott may not become the next Roger Staubach, but for the first game of the season they’ll have him ready to be Clint Longley. The fact that the Giants haven’t improved nearly as much as they hope will be a factor, too.|
Chris Burke, SI.com
||28-27||Scratch what I said about the Chargers being capable of pulling Week 1’s biggest upset. The real stunner is that this game is not one of the three Sunday/Monday prime-time affairs. Most eyes will be on Dallas’s Dakstreet Boys anyway. Can rookie QB Dak Prescott carry over his brilliant preseason into a game that counts? He and RB Ezekiel Elliott are going to have to be locked in, because the Giants will move the ball when they have it. Don’t sleep on another potential first-year star, New York WR Sterling Shepard.|
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
||30-24||What a unique matchup this has turned out to be. Dak Prescott leaped straight from the fourth round into the starting lineup. There should be an adjustment period. Yet, the Giants' first-team offense was awful in the preseason, while Big Blue's defense is sporting several new players (including their seventh middle linebacker in as many years -- incredible not fun fact). Advantage Dallas, right? Well, not so fast. The Cowboys' defense will be operating without pass rushers Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence. This could be a track meet Sunday. Eli Manning has lost all three of his openers against the Cowboys. Tough game to call here, but thinking, with no book on Dak, the New York defense could suffer a struggle-rewski.|
David Steele, Sporting News
||24-19||Dak Prescott won’t be facing the LT-era Giants defense — far from it. But chances are he’ll see something different in the games that count than he did in the preseason. Prescott has a high ceiling, but don’t be surprised if he doesn't exactly hit it right away.|
Jon Machota, DMN
||24-21||On paper, it seems easy to figure out. The Giants have the better defense and the better quarterback. The Cowboys are starting a rookie running back and a rookie quarterback. How could anyone pick against New York? Well, funny things happen in the parity-driven NFL. The Giants will do everything in their power to shut down Ezekiel Elliott. It will work early, forcing Dak Prescott to throw. But he’ll make some plays with both his arm and his feet, giving the Cowboys a small second-half lead. Elliott will finish things off from there, breaking off a couple big runs, grinding the clock and totaling 130 yards in his rookie debut.|
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk
||23-20||In their last 36 games, the Cowboys are 17-5 with Tony Romo and 1-13 without him. I think it’s about to be 1-14 without Romo.|
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 today.
|Dallas Morning News||5||3|
57%% of the 138 predictions tallied by NFLPickwatch.com favor the Giants over the Cowboys, the lowest total in any Week 1 contest. The game is a pick'em in Vegas, 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 today.
What's your expectation for the game?