The New York Giants travel to the Lone Star State to take on the Dallas Cowboys in the opening game for the NFC East rivals on Sunday. The Cowboys swept both meetings between the teams last season and have a four-game winning streak in the rivalry coming into this contest.
Dallas is coming off an NFC East title last season, going 10-6 and winning a playoff game for the first time since the 2014 season. New York missed the playoffs for the second straight season, finishing 5-11 and in last place in the NFC East.
The moneyline for this contest has the New York Giants +290 and the Dallas Cowboys -350. Dallas is a seven-point favorite at home, with the over/under for the game set at 45.5.
End Of The Line?
Eli Manning enters the 2019 season with more scrutiny than ever, considering he hasn’t taken his team to the postseason in two years and has a first-round rookie in Daniel Jones sitting behind him on the depth chart. The 38-year-old is coming off a season in which he threw for 4,299 yards and 21 touchdowns, completing 66 percent of his pass attempts, but he won’t have Odell Beckham Jr. to throw to in 2019. If Manning struggles and the Giants aren’t competitive, it would not be a surprise to see coach Pat Shurmur go to Jones, though it likely won’t happen in this game.
With the quarterback controversy, the excellence of Saquon Barkley seems to have been forgotten. In his rookie season, Barkley ran for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns, giving the Giants a franchise back they haven’t had in a very long time. Barkley is also a threat as a receiver out of the backfield, catching 91 passes for 721 yards and four touchdowns a season ago, and he’ll likely get the ball a lot in this one both as a runner and receiver.
Back To Run
The Cowboys solved their running back problem last week by agreeing with Ezekiel Elliott to a contract extension that got him back with the team in time for the opener. Elliott led the NFL in rushing last season — just ahead of Barkley — finishing with 1,434 yards and six touchdowns. Like Barkley, Elliott is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, with 77 catches for 567 yards last season. With Elliott missing most of training camp, the Cowboys may look to only use him as a runner in this one unless absolutely necessary.
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has a number of other options to pass to this season, most notably wide receiver Amari Cooper — with the team for a full season for the first time — and tight end Jason Witten, who is back with the team after retiring for a year. Prescott had a career-best 3,885 passing yards for 22 touchdowns last season, with Cooper finishing with 53 catches for 725 yards and six touchdowns after coming to the Cowboys in a midseason trade with Oakland.
Cowboys Win Opener
Dallas has a number of offensive weapons and a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore who will be looking to make an impression in his debut. The Cowboys also have the better defense than the Giants, which will make life for Manning a little difficult with the pressure that it can apply. Look for Dallas to be in a high gear offensively from the get-go and take the victory at home. I’ll take Dallas -7 to get the win.