The Dallas Cowboys opened the 2012 NFL Season by defeating the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. It was the first time since 2004 that the champs lost in the season opener.
Dallas had trouble with New York in 2011, losing two key contests against their rivals that kept them out of the playoffs.
The NFC East will likely be one of the more competitive divisions in football. Both the Cowboys and Giants are expected to be in the hunt for the postseason, and the Eagles have the best odds of finishing in first place at many sportsbooks. The Redskins could also be improved with the addition of Robert Griffin III.
It was just the first game of the new season, but "America's Team" looked impressive in their 24-17 victory on the road. Tony Romo was dominant, throwing for 307 yards and three touchdowns.
Should the Cowboys be the favorites to win the NFC East?
The Cowboys are expected to be one of the best teams in the NFL seemingly every year. They have failed to live up to those expectations in recent seasons, missing the playoffs in three of the last four years. At least for one game, Dallas looks like they have the talent to play as well as many expect them to.
In the offseason, the Cowboys addressed the key weaknesses that hampered them last year.
The Dallas secondary was one of the worst in the league in 2011. They drafted Morris Claiborne with the fifth pick in the draft and signed Brandon Carr in free agency. The two cornerbacks proved their worth against New York, holding Eli Manning to just 213 yards passing.
The offensive line was expected to be a problem heading into 2012, but the group was more than adequate on Wednesday night. The vaunted Giants defensive line recorded only two sacks. The trio of Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora failed to get to the quarterback.
Kevin Ogletree had the best game of his career, catching eight balls for 114 yards and two touchdowns. If the wide out can stay productive, the tandem of him, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant could give Dallas a top receiving corps.
The Giants have most of the same players that helped them win the Super Bowl in February, but they were very fortunate during their title run. New York won the championship after barely making the postseason with just nine wins.
The Eagles should be stiff competition for the Cowboys, but they have questions, as well. Michael Vick is very injury prone, and had to leave the team's first two preseason games because he was hurt. Philadelphia was picked by many to win the Super Bowl in 2011, but struggled, going 8-8.
It was only one game, and the Cowboys still have a lot to prove. Romo has been very productive in the regular season, but has been criticized for faltering in high pressure situations. The defense played well, but has yet to put together multiple strong efforts.
A lot of questions still surround the Cowboys, but they showed against the Giants that they have the talent to be one of the best teams in the NFC.