The Cowboys are favored heading into the Sunday afternoon game. 99% of the experts and algorithms tallied by NFLPickwatch.com favor the Cowboys straight up over the Giants. And our collection of straight-up expert picks below agrees.
Pro Football Talk (Smith): Cowboys 30, Giants 20
I’m expecting a rough year for the Giants, who need to figure out the right succession plan to go from Eli Manning to Daniel Jones. The Cowboys should win this one comfortably.
CBS (Prisco): Cowboys 30, Giants 16
The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliottback for this one, but does it matter? The Giants aren’t a good team, while the Cowboys have legitimate playoff hopes. The Cowboys will get the best of the Giants.
Pro Football Talk (Florio): Cowboys 30, Giants 20
The Cowboys had a good chance to win this one, even without Ezekiel Elliott in the fold. Now that he’s there, it’s 1-0 for the defending NFC East champs.
NFL (Rosenthal): Cowboys 26, Giants 20
There are few expectations for Big Blue this year, perhaps why this matchup is a late-afternoon game rather than the traditional Al and Cris Invitational. The Giants don’t have much of a pass rush, the linebackers can be blown off the ball and the secondary is uneven at best. Coach Pat Shurmur’s best chance at escaping Dallas with a win will be for Saquon Barkley to make an early statement. The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year is the best back in the division, if not the league.
Miami Herald (Cote): Cowboys 24, Giants 17
Ezekiel Elliott got his $90 million extension and should start Sunday, although I would be surprised if his workload is heavy. No matter. Biggies are biding time until Daniel Jones bumps Eli. NYG doesn’t have a lot beyond fantasy stud Saquon Barkley. Dallas has won four in a row in rivalry. Make it five, but hunch it inside the bet line.
Sporting News (Haislop): Cowboys 24, Giants 17
One of two things will happen when the Cowboys host the Giants to start the season. Either the Cowboys will win with Ezekiel Elliott fresh off returning from his holdout, or the Cowboys will win without Elliott. If New York manages to upset Dallas — which, in all seriousness, is possible — it can be chalked up to “weird Week 1 division game.” The Cowboys are good enough to make a Super Bowl run this year. Unless Daniel Jones quickly takes the starting quarterback job from Eli Manning and proceeds with a Patrick Mahomes-like breakout, the Giants are not.
The oddsmakers have the Cowboys as 7 to 7.5-point favorites, one of the biggest lines in week one, but can the Cowboys beat the spread?
Our small panel of experts picking against the spread isn’t so sure, and neither is NFLpickwatch.com, where 25% like the Giants against the spread.
Toronto Sun (Randall The Handle): Cowboys by 7½
History would back the G-Men here as they usually play close games with their division rival and they have been profitable as a road underdog. However, we’re going to buck those trends on this afternoon as we expect Dallas to come flying out of the gate with its formidable roster, one that is significantly stronger than this guest’s. The Giants were a 5-11 team a year ago and they return with a weaker lineup. They lost two of their best players when Odell Beckham Jr. was traded and SS Landon Collins departed via free agency. Cowboys have a sneakily good defence, a great runner and they upped their receiving corps. The Giants have dropped five of their past six September contests vs. the Cowboys.
Las Vegas Sun (Keefer): Giants (+7.5)
This is the perfect storm of one team not being nearly as bad as their perception — the Giants lost two more games than their Pythagorean expectation last season — and the other being worse — the Cowboys won two more games than their Pythagorean last season. Take advantage before the market adjusts.
The Athletic (Kapadia): Giants (+7)
Kellen Moore makes his highly anticipated debut as Dallas’ offensive coordinator against arguably the least talented defense in the NFL. Keep an eye on Saquon Barkley in the passing game. The Cowboys ranked 26th in terms of covering running backs last season, according to Football Outsiders. Given that Golden Tate is suspended, Barkley might be looking at 25-plus touches in this one. Dallas wins, but it’s competitive.
Sporting News (Iyer): Giants (+7)
The Cowboys still don’t know if they will have Ezekiel Elliott for the opener, so under that cloud of uncertainty and because these teams tend to play close games regardless of expectations, expect the Giants to make the hosts sweat a little. Dak Prescott will try to help his team pull away, but Saquon Barkley and New York’s other high-level offensive skill players will produce to keep it interesting around their QB play. Dallas will hold on late to win with some cushion, but not not by enough to cover.
As far a season openers go, pre-game predictions often don’t mean all that much. Whether or not the experts have a good feel for what will happen on Sunday remains to be seen. We know NFL games 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.
Do you think the Giants can keep it competitive or will they get trampled underfoot?