It’s pretty intense how gigantic a Week 2 game feels.
Everyone knows the story about how the 1993 Dallas Cowboys started 0-2 with Emmitt Smith holding out, hampering the team’s chances early on. People are also very aware of the New York Giants also started off 0-2 in 2007 before they’d break Cowboys fans hearts in the divisional round of the playoffs months later. As you know, both of these teams won the Super Bowl. Those are exceptions to the rule, 0-2 is a huge hole.
A Cowboys and Giants showdown on Sunday Night Football is a staple in today’s NFL so it’s a bit poetic that it would be these teams, these rivals, looking to outlast the other in what feels like a game of survival this week. Either franchise will look to their past should they be the one to lose, but neither wants that to be an option. 1-1 is the goal.
This game is epic, there’s no way to deny that. Let’s hope it’s a lot of fun with the kind of result that we like. Here are this week’s bold predictions.
Anthony Brown will pick off Eli Manning
The forgotten man in the secondary a year ago, Anthony Brown made us all remember him in the 2017 season opener when he picked off Eli Manning. It was the second interception of Brown’s career and the second off of Eli. Funny how that works out.
What’s the old saying? If you do something twice in a row it’s a tradition? Well Anthony has picked off Eli two years in a row so literally 100% of data supports that he’ll intercept him this year, right? Right?
Obviously there are two instances where Brown will be eligible to pick off Eli, but let’s go ahead and cash this out right now please and thanks.
The Giants won’t cross midfield in the first half
If there’s one thing on the Cowboys that we’re all universally confident in, it’s the defense. Dallas has a bevy of playmakers at every level on that side of the ball and they get to feature DeMarcus Lawrence against Ereck Flowers, which is a very good thing.
The New York Giants put together over 300 total yards of offense in their season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars which is a little shocking when you say it out loud given the caliber of that defense. It’s not like the G-Men had a great day against the Jags, and it’s not like Eli Manning stopped being himself since then.
Dallas is going to try and put together long and methodical drives when they’re on offense early on and when you couple that with who their defense is against who the Giants are, it doesn’t seem like they’ll have success early on.
No Cowboys receiver will catch a touchdown
This game has the feel of a lot of field goals and very few touchdowns overall, but I do think that we’re going to see Dak Prescott throw one or two; however, they won’t be to wide receivers.
Remember when Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs went something 148 games in a row without throwing a touchdown to a wide receiver? That’s what it feels like we’re on the verge of. Troy Aikman questioned the creativity (the lack of it, obviously) within the Cowboys offense last week, and that’s hardly something that gets fixed in seven days.
We’re going to see some tight end, fullback, and/or running back-caught touchdowns against the Giants. Reminds me of Deon Anderson 10 years ago.
Jason Garrett will go for at least one fourth down
The Cowboys are 0 for 1 on fourth down conversions this season, and you never want that to be the case. People like to accuse Jason Garrett of being a conservative head coach (a topic for another day), but going for it on fourth down isn’t something he’s afraid of.
You can see this materializing. The Cowboys will have the ball about 10 yards past midfield, be facing a 4th and 1, and Jason Garrett will leave the offense out there. What will happen when he goes for it? Will they hand the ball to Zeke, utilize some play action, or let Dak Prescott run some sort of RPO?
We’ll have to wait and see.
The Cowboys will hold the lead after every quarter
As this does feel like a low-scoring game it doesn’t feel like we’re going to have a whole lot of change. You can just sense that points are going to be hard to come by and something each team is really going to have to work for.
The Cowboys won both of their meetings against the Giants last season, and they really exploded on offense in the second one. Obviously these two teams know each other very well, but the Cowboys seem to be the more desperate team and sometimes that’s enough to win out.
Let’s hope that’s the case.