In what is becoming a Week 1 tradition, the New York Giants will once again take on the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sunday Night Football.
The New York Giants swept the season series and the floor with the Dallas Cowboys last year, winning the season opener at Dallas, 20-19, and taking their Week 14 matchup at MetLife Stadium, 10-7.
These two teams are the preseason favorites to win the NFC East. Both have a tough schedule in September, so starting the season with a win is absolutely imperative for both squads.
So what will it take to roll into Monday morning with a 1-0 record versus taking the loss? We’ve got the answers for you.
Here are the four keys to victory for the New York Giants in tonight’s primetime game.
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1. Contain Ezekiel Elliott
Last year, the Giants did an incredible job of bottling up the league’s leading rusher in Ezekiel Elliott. In two games, the Giants held Elliott to just 158 yards on 44 carries, equating to 3.6 yards per rush.
Despite the loss of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, the Giants front four, led by All-Pro Damon Harrison, still matches well against the Cowboys’ strong offensive line. If the Giants can once again contain Zeke, they’ll stand an excellent chance of winning their fourth straight game against the Cowboys.
2. Win the turnover battle
In what will likely be a close game, it’s imperative that the Giant do not turn over the ball. Both defenses were stellar at taking the ball away last year.
Last season, the Cowboys forced 28 fumbles and recovered 11 of them. The Giants defensive unit recorded 17 interceptions, which was tied for fourth in the league. The Giants need to try to confuse Dak Prescott with different schemes and force him into making a bad decision that might lead to an interception or two.
3. The Marshall plan
Whether or not Odell Beckham Jr. plays, the Giants need to get Brandon Marshall involved early and often in the game. The 6-foot-3 wide receiver will have several inches over the Cowboys’ outside cornerbacks. The Cowboys are vulnerable in the secondary so look for Eli Manning to try to connect with Marshall on some deep passes.
4. Don’t get beat deep
As great as the Giants defense is, it will be difficult for the Cowboys to consistently produce 10-12 play scoring drives. So the Giants secondary must remain disciplined and not get tricked into giving up a huge play that results in a score.
The Giants could have shut out the Cowboys in their Week 14 matchup last season if they hadn’t left Terrance Williams all alone for a 31-yard touchdown. If the Giants don’t give up big plays in the passing game tonight, they’ll leave Dallas with a win.
The Giants defense matches up very well against the Cowboys’ offense giving up just two touchdowns in two games last year. The Giants defense will be just as good, if not better, this year and the Giants offense, with the addition of Marshall and Evan Engram, is much improved.
Look for the Giants to score a late, fourth-quarter touchdown and come away with a hard-fought victory. Giants 23, Cowboys 17