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Cowboys news: It’s game day! Injury updates, game predictions, key players, and more!

Our favorite day of the year has finally arrived!

NFL: Pro Bowl-NFC Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Vet Morris cut to make room for Zeke - Todd Archer, ESPN

The Cowboys made a last-minute roster move to make way for the highest paid running back in the league.

The Cowboys had been granted a roster exemption after Elliott signed his six-year, $90 million extension on Wednesday that included $50 million in guarantees, according to sources. Elliott took part in all three practices during the week and was pronounced fit to go, but Jason Garrett would not comment on what kind of role the running back would play after missing all of training camp.

To make room for Elliott, veteran running back Alfred Morris was released, according to a source.

Ezekiel Elliott posts message to Cowboys fans before opener - Brad Crawford, 247 Sports

Zeke will be on the field Sunday, but before that happens, he’s got a message to all of us fans.

Dallas and the star running back put pen to paper this week, agreeing on a six-year contract extension worth $90 million at the final possible hour ahead of Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants. Elliott reported to practice to Wednesday and is expected to be full-go to begin his fourth season with Dallas.

“Because I believe I’m the best,” Elliott said after signing a deal that includes a reported $50 million guaranteed.

Elliott posted a message to his 2.1 million Twitter follower on Friday with the caption, “We Ready” attached to a highlight video promoting this weekend’s battle against the Cowboys’ NFC rivals.

While Elliott will be in action today, another former first-rounder won’t be.

Cowboys DE Taco Charlton to be inactive for season opener vs. Giants - Staff, Dallas Morning News

Taco Charlton was a healthy scratch a few games last season, and it looks like he’ll start the new season off with another benching.

Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton will be inactive during the team’s 2019 season opener Sunday at home against the New York Giants, a source told The News. Charlton is recovering from an ankle sprain, which he sustained during the Cowboys’ 34-0 preseason victory vs. the Houston Texans on Aug. 24. Despite the injury, Charlton has been a participant in practice leading up to Week 1.

On Saturday morning, Charlton sent a cryptic tweet with a photo of him celebrating on the field after sacking Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

And here’s the tweet...

The Cowboys have a few players injured so there will be a few easy choices for the seven inactives, but Charlton will now be one of them. Tthe final injury report for both teams.

Final Thoughts: How To Manage The Veterans? - Staff, Dallas Cowboys

With several players missing time due to injury/holdout, it should be interesting to see how much time certain players play, including the return of their All-Pro cornerback.

We need to keep an eye on Byron Jones this week. With how well Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis practiced during training camp, there really isn’t a reason at this time to push Jones back into his starting role. Jones practiced all week and, like most of the guys coming off injuries, has looked solid. Where Jones was getting most of his work has been as a backup to Brown. Where we might see Jones is in some sub or nickel package snaps. With Jones’ history of dealing with athletic tight ends, we might see him work against Evan Engram in coverage.

Is the Cowboys’ game on TV in your area? Let the folks over at 506 Sports answer that question for you with their Week 1 coverage map.

Giants vs. Cowboys: 10 Things to Watch - Dan Salomone, New York Giants

Back at the Giants base camp, they provide 10 things to watch in today’s game, including their offensive line makeover.

4. More than 300 starts for new-look O-line.

Remmers and Kevin Zeitler were two key offseason additions to shore up the right side of the offensive line. Now the Giants’ starting five offensive linemen (Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Zeitler and Remmers) have 302 regular-season starts combined. In the 2018 opener, that number was 192.

New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys Prediction and Preview - Clint Lamb, Athlon Sports

A three-things to watch list, including our first look at Amari Cooper this season.

3. Amari Cooper versus Janoris Jenkins

After battling plantar fasciitis throughout the offseason, it looks like Cooper will be a full-go against the Giants in Week 1. While that’s good news, the former Alabama standout will more than likely be going against Janoris Jenkins for much of the day. Cooper only faced off against New York once during his first half-season in Dallas, but the G-Men held him to only five catches for 31 yards while also forcing him to fumble once. Jenkins was a major reason for that success, so it’ll be interesting to see if Cooper can have somewhat of a bounce-back performance this time around.

3 top areas of concern as Cowboys prepare for Giants in Week 1 - Ben Grimaldi, Cowboys Wire

A look a three areas the Cowboys should be concerned with in their game against the Giants.

Giants new look passing offense

The biggest two pieces remain the same, Manning and Barkley, who will be at the center of the offense. For the second consecutive year, the Giants went about rebuilding their offensive line. The team traded for Kevin Zeitler to start at right guard and added right tackle Mike Remmers in free agency. Remmers is expected to play despite missing some practice time this week due to illness.

With Beckham gone, the passing game will no longer look to force feed one of the best receivers in the league. Instead, the Giants will look to get Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram more involved. Shepard injured his thumb early in training camp, but he’ll play after missing all of the Giants’ preseason action. Engram is the next best weapon in the passing game, thanks to a suspension to newly acquired Golden Tate. It’s a shallow group of receiving options for the Giants and the offense doesn’t look as explosive as they were with Beckham, but that could work to their advantage by spreading the ball around.

NY Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys: How they match up, predictions - Art Stapleton, North Jersey

Are you wondering what it would take for the Giants to pull this one out?

How they’ll win Giants:

This has to be a Saquon Barkley show early on, and it can be. He’s poised to run behind what is expected to be a fully competent offensive line, unlike last season when there were plenty of questions on the right side. But the story here will be everyone else but Barkley, whose talent is unquestioned. The communication between RG Kevin Zeitler and RT Mike Remmers on the right side will be paramount to their success, considering the Cowboys ran stunts and games (and circles) around Patrick Omameh and Ereck Flowers last season. Remmers needs to hold his own against star DE DeMarcus Lawrence, and if he can, that should give Eli Manning downfield chances on playaction on which he must capitalize.

The bigger story will come on defense where youth and inexperience - especially playing together - dot the depth chart. OLB Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden need to generate pressure, but the biggest concern is not allowing Dallas to dictate the game with their offensive line and run game. If the Giants can hold their own and make this a close one in the second half, they could steal it.

They have some predictions which are favorable towards the Cowboys, except one guy goes full Shaun O’Hara on us.

Our predictions

Zach Miller, Deputy Sports Editor: Saquon Barkley outshines Ezekiel Elliott as the Giants start the season with a win in Dallas. Giants 24, Cowboys 20

Gut Feeling: Staff Predictions For Cowboys-Giants - Staff, Dallas Cowboys

The folks over at the Mothership offer up their gut-feeling predictions. The Cowboys are clear favorites, but one staff writing believes it won’t come easy.

Nick Eatman: This is why we call this “gut” feeling. My head thinks the Cowboys are absolutely better than the Giants in just about every way and will win this game going away. My gut tells me that I’ve seen this game – literally – too many times to think the Giants will just roll over like that. These division games are always closer than they should be.

I still think the Cowboys will win, but it’ll be a little closer than everyone thinks. I’ve got a big day for Michael Gallup, a big play from Dalton Schultz, who has been under the radar this whole camp. I think both Zeke and Pollard will combine for 200 all-purpose yards and the defense gets at least four sacks. Still, the Giants will hang around and the Cowboys prevail, 27-21.

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