NEW YORK (AP) – The season opener features several story lines, perhaps none bigger than setting being 10th anniversary of terrorist attacks; MetLife Stadium a few miles across Hudson River from World Trade Center site.
Several events planned to commemorate event before game and at halftime, including children of first responders serving as honorary team captains.
The game pits Jets coach Rex Ryan against twin brother Rob, Cowboys’ defensive coordinator. Rex leads 5-3 in sibling rivalry, which dates to their college coaching days. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett makes debut as team’s full-time coach after going 5-3 as interim last season.
Dallas is looking for 35th opening day win, 20th on road.
QB Tony Romo returns after missing final 10 games of last season with broken collarbone.
Jason Witten needs 33 yards receiving to become seventh tight end to reach 7,000 career yards. He’s fifth on Cowboys’ career receiving list in yards receiving, 329 from passing Hall of Famer Bob Hayes for fourth.
WR Dez Bryant had injury-shortened first season, finishing with 45 receptions – 1 shy of tying Hayes for team’s rookie mark.
LB DeMarcus Ware has five straight seasons of 10 or more sacks, longest current active streak and four off Reggie White’s NFL record.
Cowboys CB Terence Newman has lingering groin problem and likely won’t play; fellow starting CB Mike Jenkins suffered knee injury at practice Wednesday; and RT Tyron Smith also had knee injury at practice.
Game marks return of Jets WR Plaxico Burress, who hasn’t played since 2008, while with Giants. He served 20 months in prison on a gun charge after accidentally shooting himself in leg in November
QB Mark Sanchez has 23 wins, including four in postseason, to tie him with Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (2008-09) and Miami’s Dan Marino (1983-84) for second-most among QBs in first two seasons since 1970. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (2004-05) had 27 in his first two seasons.
Shonn Greene takes over as team’s starting RB in third season after serving as backup to LaDainian Tomlinson last season.
Tomlinson, in second season with Jets, needs 259 yards rushing to pass Jerome Bettis (13,662) for fifth place on NFL career rushing list.
WR Derrick Mason makes Jets debut while entering 14th NFL season, last six with Baltimore. He’s NFL active leader with 11,891 yards, and can become first player in league history with 60-plus catches and 750-plus yards receiving in 12 straight seasons.
Wayne Hunter replaces the retired Damien Woody as Jets’ RT on line that otherwise returns intact.
Jets return 10 of 11 defensive starters, losing only DE Shaun Ellis (Patriots) from team that went to second straight AFC championship game last season.
OPENING LINE: Jets by 4
2010 RECORD VS. SPREAD: Dallas 7-9; New York 11-8
SERIES RECORD: Cowboys lead 7-2
LAST MEETING: Cowboys 34, New York 3, Nov. 22, 2007, at Cowboys Stadium.
COWBOYS OFFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (16), PASS (6)
COWBOYS DEFENSE: OVERALL (23), RUSH (12), PASS (26)
JETS OFFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (4), PASS (22)
JETS DEFENSE:OVERALL (3), RUSH (3), PASS (6)
You can listen to the Cowboys vs Jets game locally on 105.3 The Fan, pregame 4:30pm, kickoff 7:20pm.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)