2012 Regular Season Opener- Giants vs Cowboys Preview
The 2012 regular season kicks off tomorrow night as the Dallas Cowboys travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Eli Manning will set out for back-to-back Super Bowl titles whilst Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will just be hoping to improve on their 8-8 record from last season and be back in the hunt for the NFC East.
The game is live on NBC in the States and on Sky Sports 1 in Ireland and the UK.
Here are a few quick notes on what to watch for during the game.
What to watch on offense
- Rookies- After letting both Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham leave in free agency this offseason, (both players signed with the San Francisco 49ers) the Giants wasted no time in finding their replacements through the draft. The Giants selected Virginia Tech running back David Wilson in the first round and LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle in the second.
- Early Contributors- Even though they are rookies, both players will be counted on to be major contributors to the Giants offense. Look for Wilson to split carries with Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield with Randle replacing Manningham as the Giants no. 3 receiver.
- Skill Positions- Whilst they are yet to have a consistent run of games together, the Cowboys boast one of the better groups of skill position starters in the NFL. Tony Romo is the leader at quarterback at although he isn’t among the top 10 best in the league, (ranked no. 13 on my list of starting NFL quarterbacks last week) he is still a great quarterback who can put up big numbers. As for the others, Demarco Murray could be a top 10 running back if he stayed healthy and wide receiver Dez Bryant could be the best receiver in football if he could only solve his off-field issues.
- Jason Witten- Often referred to as “Tony Romo’s best friend”, Witten has been one of the best tight ends in the NFL for just about his entire career. Although his status is listed as questionable due to injury, he is scheduled to undergo a CT scan today before he can be cleared to play. If all four of these players start tomorrow night, it will be the first time they all managed to do so since Week 14 of last season.
What to watch on defense
- Defensive Ends: The Giants defense managed to turn things around during their Super Bowl run last year and that’s down to the tremendous play of their defensive ends. Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora all play significant snaps on the Giants d-line and are some of the top pass rushers in the NFL today. Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith will have to be at his very best to protect Romo from JPP and co. tomorrow night.
- Secondary: The Cowboys secondary has almost completely changed from last season with the additions of free agent acquisition Brandon Carr and first-round draft choice Morris Claiborne. Both these players will be tasked with stopping the Giants formidable wide receiver duo of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. It will also be interesting to see what Cowboys coordinator Rob Ryan has planned for the rest of the defense to stop Eli Manning.
I’ll pick a Giants victory to get their Super Bowl defense off to a winning start. Giants 34 Cowboys 20
So that’s my preview and prediction of the season opener. Be sure to check back tomorrow for a full preview of all the other games in Week 1.