By: Anthony Miller
The wait is over. The Dallas Cowboys are back on the field for a regular season game Sunday night against the New York Giants.
This is the sixth time since the 2012 season that the two teams face off in the regular season opener. Dallas is 5-1 against the Giants in those matchups.
There are many storylines going into the season for the Cowboys as per usual since we are talking about America’s Team.
All eyes will be on Dak Prescott and see if he can protect the football better after throwing 15 interceptions in 12 games in 2022. Prescott’s injury to his thumb last season appeared to have effected him so this game could go a long way to seeing how he will play.
Some people believe this could be a make or break season for head coach Mike McCarthy as the team has won just one playoff game in three seasons under McCarthy. With improvements in the secondary and receiver, McCarthy is feeling the pressure to win now and be competitive in a weaker NFC than in the past.
Date/Time: Sunday, September 10, 2023 at 7:20 pm CST
Location: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ
Betting Line: Dallas -3.5
How to Watch: NBC
The Dallas Cowboys have some key players who will be making their debuts and have some returning players that should help.
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks joins the offense after being traded from the Houston Texans in the off-season. Cooks joins a solid receiving core that includes CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup which should make the group one of the top in the league. With the loss of tight end Dalton Schultz, there will be more focus on the receivers in the passing game.
This is the first season that running back Tony Pollard doesn’t have Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield which means it’s his job to run with. Pollard landed a franchise tag of $10 million for this season so he will need to step up in the running game and in the receiving game. Pollard ran for 165 yards in two games against New York last year including 105 yards in their first matchup in 2022. He will be the leading man in the backfield.
The combo of Trevon Diggs and Stephon Gilmore makes for an intriguing duo in the secondary. Dallas fans have seen what Diggs can do as even though his interception numbers were down in 2022, he improved his coverage skills from 2021. Gilmore is a veteran corner that the Cowboys have been missing. New York’s strength is running the football so they will have to stick with that as passing will be tough on Dallas.
With the Cowboys needed to zone in on quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley, the pressure is on the front seven of Dallas to play well against the run. Micah Parsons is already one of the best defensive players in the league and could make even bigger strides this season. The question for Dallas is at linebacker that has already seen injuries so Leighton Vander Esch will be a key at linebacker.
Of course, fans are going to be interested in the kicker position and how Brandon Aubrey does in his first NFL regular season game. Aubrey dominated the USFL this year and last year for the Birmingham Stallions. While he played well in preseason, consistency will be key and whether he can handle the spotlight on Sunday night football.
The Cowboys are 5-1 in their last six matchups against the Giants including a four-game winning streak against them the last two years. A lot of credit needs to be given to Brian Daboll for the job he has done as head coach of New York, but their offense has struggled against this fast, athletic Cowboys defense led by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
Prescott has a lot to prove this season and has the weapons to get the job done. It’s all about putting it all together and it helps that McCarthy is taking control of the playcalling in 2023. This offense should be more dynamic and should prove it in game one.
NFC East games are always tough especially if it is against the Philadelphia Eagles. It has seem though that the Cowboys have had the Giants’ number for years. With Dallas looking like their best team in years, it’s hard to argue that the Cowboys would start on the losing end against the Giants.
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 28, New York Giants 17
Featured Image via Adam Hunger/AP