We’ve made it to week one in the NFL and that means the Cowboys are taking on the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on Sunday afternoon. What can the Cowboys expect from the Giants and vice versa? How do the front-page writers of BTB see this matchup going?
When the Giants have the ball
Stop Saquon Barkley
Without question, the best player the Giants have on offense is Saquon Barkley. The Giants did make a few upgrades on their offensive line with Kevin Zeitler being added at guard. Second-year guard Will Hernandez will be starting on the opposite side of Zeitler but New York also has Nate Solder at left tackle and Michael Remmers at right tackle. It’s not the Cowboys offensive line but it’s much-improved from the offensive lines we have seen New York have in the past. Needless to say, Barkley’s job of getting to the hole and bursting through will be much easier than it has been.
The Cowboys have to control Barkley to put the handcuffs on the Giants offensive attack. Eli Manning will try and get the ball out to Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. However, if the Dallas defense clamps down on Barkley, the Giants won’t get very far in this matchup. Linebackers Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee must be disciplined and mindful to plug any rushing lanes. The Cowboys defensive line will need to keep their gap responsibilities. Stop Saquon and you have a great shot of ending this contest quickly.
When the Cowboys have the ball.
Beat the Blitz
The Giants have lost playmakers such as Landon Collins, Damon Harrison, and Olivier Vernon. New York just doesn’t have the pass rush abilities to put consistent pressure on Dak Prescott. Because of this, expect the Giants to try and manufacture pressure with disguised blitzes. The Cowboys running backs need to be aware of their responsibilities to protect Prescott. The Cowboys offense should expect the blitz, and they have the talent to beat the blitz.
Dallas has weapons on offense and a rejuvenated offensive line that is going to make it extremely difficult on this Giants defense. Dak Prescott and Kellen Moore need to aggressively attack the Giants defense but sound decision making is still the key to opening up their offense. The last thing they want to do is give the ball away to the Giants and make their defense gain confidence.
Now onto the predictions from our front page writers...
“The Cowboys come out firing thanks to the creative play-calling of Kellen Moore and the stellar play of Dak Prescott. Ezekiel Elliott’s return gives the team some added juice, and Dallas wins comfortably.”
“Cowboys defense shows up early but the offense is sluggish to start. Expect a low scoring game early on. By the third quarter, you can sense the Cowboys have this one comfortably. They cap it off with a defensive touchdown, routing the Giants 30-13.”
“Saquon Barkley will make his mark in this game but the Cowboys defense will still limit the overall offense. Xavier Woods gets a pick while Dak Prescott shows significant growth in Kellen Moore’s offense. Cowboys win 27-10.”
“The Kellen-Moore era gets off to a strong start, with Dak Prescott throwing for 300 yards and three touchdown passes. Ezekiel Elliott adds one score on the ground, and the Cowboys defense creates a series of fun “Eli Manning facial expressions” notching five sacks and an interception. Cowboys win by 20.”
“I see the Giants keeping this a lot closer than my comrades who are all calling for a Cowboys’ blowout. For one, the Cowboys’ style of play doesn’t lend itself to getting huge blowout victories very often.
The Giants have enough talent on both sides to compete in this one but the Cowboys still outmatch them heavily. Defensively, the Cowboys walk away with a pick and a fumble recovery. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense will put up a four-touchdown performance, two by air, and two on the ground split between Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Give me the Cowboys in a pull-away win similar to last year’s week two contest where the final score isn’t very indicative of how dominant the Cowboys were at times. 31-23.”