It’s the third time in four years that the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will open the season against each other. The rivals are set to meet in Dallas on the first edition of “Sunday Night Football” for the 2015 NFL season, and all signs are pointing towards a similar outcome of their last two Week 1 matchups.
Dallas beat New York in the first week of both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and the Giants are winless against the Cowboys in their last four tries. After winning the NFC East last season, Dallas is favored to start the upcoming season off on the right foot. The Cowboys are six-point favorites at Las Vegas casinos, and only two other games on the Week 1 schedule feature a bigger betting line.
The Giants might have a better chance of winning when the two teams meet at MetLife Stadium in Week 7, but they enter Dallas with a number of injuries. Wide receiver Victor Cruz is battling a calf injury, and it’s looking like he’ll miss Sunday’s contest. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul returned to New York this week, but he might not play until October because of the hand injury he suffered in a fireworks incident.
"Obviously it would be good if he was all healed and ready to go," Coughlin told reporters before Giants practice. "But he was not. Hopefully, at some point in time, Jason will be ready to play and we'll get the green light. ”
New York had trouble stopping Dallas last season, surrendering 31 points in both games. While the Giants have one of the NFL’s best pair of starting cornerbacks, the Cowboys will look to take advantage of the team’s issues at safety. The position was a revolving door for New York in the preseason, and it could result in Dez Bryant putting up big numbers. The Pro Bowl wide receiver caught 16 passes for 237 yards against the Giants in 2014.
Injuries could also force Dallas to have trouble with New York’s passing game. Odell Beckham Jr. put himself on the map with his incredible catch against the Cowboys last year, and he ended that contest with 10 grabs for 146 yards and two scores. This time around, Beckham won't have to deal with cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who is done for the season with a torn ACL and MCL.
With both Eli Manning and Tony Romo in position to throw for a lot of yards, the divisional matchup could end up being the highest scoring of any Week 1 contest. The over/under is set at 51 points.
The difference in the game might come down to the offensive lines. Dallas might have the best collection of guards and tackles in the NFL, which helped DeMarco Murray become football’s leading rusher last season. Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and the newly added Christine Michael will split carries for the Cowboys, and they should find success behind a strong offensive line.
New York’s offensive line looks different than it did a year ago. Rookie Ereck Flowers will start at left tackle, and Marshall Newhouse becomes the starter at right tackle. The unit was solid in the preseason, but has been plagued by injuries.
Point Spread: Dallas -6 (vegasinsider.com)
Over/Under: 51 points
Prediction: Dallas over New York, 34-27