The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys kickoff the 2012 NFL season on Wednesday night in what should be a dandy. Both teams have aspirations to not only claim the NFC East title, both believe they are good enough to win the Super Bowl.
The Giants won the division with a 9-7 record last season but they had to beat the Cowboys in Week 17 to claim it. The Cowboys finished 8-8.
The Cowboys went to work in the offseason to fix a number of their areas of weakness, starting with their offensive line and secondary. We’ll know just how much they’ve improved in those areas tonight.
Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings are two new starters at guard for the Cowboys and they’ll have to keep the Giants ferocious pass rush away from Tony Romo. If he gets time, he should be able to pick apart a Giants secondary that is banged up. Starter Prince Amukamara is out and Jayron Hosley is also expected to miss the game.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys spent plenty of money and draft picks to acquire cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. The hope is that they can upgrade the Cowboys in the secondary and provide the team with better coverage, which was a big weakness last season. If that’s the case, the Cowboys front seven should be able to get to the quarterback more often and force more mistakes.
The Giants should be buoyed by the raising of their championship banner and a raucous home crowd. They’ve won three of the last four in this series as Eli Manning has been just a tad sharper than Romo in those contests. That’s why the NFL odds makers have the New York Giants listed as a four-point favorite for Wednesday night’s opening affair.
If there was ever a statement game for the Cowboys in this new season, this game certainly qualifies. A win against the defending Super Bowl Champions in their house, would send a loud message to the rest of the NFC that the Cowboys are back and better than ever.