Week 1: Dallas Cowboys At New York Giants
- QuarterbackThe heat is on Tony Romo to up his performance level this year. Jerry Jones has run out of patience with him and if Romo is not a playoff winner this year, his career in Dallas will come to an end.Eli Manning is coming off his second Super Bowl MVP season, and completed the season sweep of the Cowboys last year. His big-game ability is unquestioned, but he could be more consistent during the regular season.
- OffenseThe Cowboys have a nice looking receiving crew led by Dez Bryant and Isaac Austin along with Jason Witten. The Cowboys need better play from the offensive line to get more out of the running game.Victor Cruz should be able to pick up from where he left off because he is explosive and is much stronger than he appears. Hakeem Nicks is nearly as good and the Giants will get much more from running back Ahmad Bradshaw than they did a year ago.
- DefenseThe hangover from last year will not be easy to get past. However, they have perhaps the best defensive player in the league in DeMarcus Ware. They need more from Jay Ratliff, who made the Pro Bowl on reputation a year ago.The Giants have the best front four in the NFL and Jason Pierre-Paul should be unstoppable this season. Throw in Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora and it's a quarterback’s nightmare. While the secondary is decent, the linebackers are just ordinary.
- Special TeamsThe Cowboys were pleased with their coverage teams a year ago, and they also have confidence in placekicker Dan Bailey. The return game is below average and that’s not likely to change if Bryant doesn’t get a chance to return punts.Special teams played a huge role for the Giants in their championship run during the postseason. Steve Weatherford gets excellent distance and hang time on his punts.
The Giants didn’t look like a championship team until the final two weeks of the regular season last year. Tom Coughlin wants to see them get off to a much better start. The Cowboys are desperate to take charge in the NFC East and this would be a great time to assert themselves. Both teams have equal motivation, but the Giants have better weapons.