New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, September 11, 2016, 4:25 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Opening Line: Dallas -4
Current Line: New York -1 (-115)
Opening Total: 49
Current Total: 46
Opening Money Line: Cowboys -120 / Giants +100
Current Money Line: Giants -120 / Cowboys +100
The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys renew their rivalry Sunday afternoon in Arlington. The Cowboys lead the series 62-44-2. Last year, the two teams split the season series with each winning at home. Dallas won 27-26 in Arlington and New York won 27-20 in East Rutherford. The Cowboys will play at MetLife Stadium on December 11.
New York was 6-10 last year and long time coach Tom Coughlin resigned. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo takes over as the coach. It was the third straight losing season for the Giants and fourth straight season without a playoff appearance. Dallas was 4-12 last year after injuries to key players such as quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Dez Bryant derailed their season. Jason Garrett returns as the head coach.
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New York scored 26 points a game last year but allowed 28 last year. The Giants averaged 372 yards per game on offense including 272 passing and 101 rushing yards per game. On defense, New York allowed 420 yards per game including 299 passing and 121 rushing yards. The Giants were 91/233 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 116/244. New York forced 23 sacks and allowed 27 last year. The Giants were +7 in turnovers with 6 defensive/special teams touchdowns. New York allowed four defensive or special teams touchdowns.
Quarterback Eli Manning had one of his best seasons statistically last year. He completed 62.6% of his passes for 4,436 yards with 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Ryan Nassib is the back-up.
Running back Rashad Jennings had 195 carries for 863 yards with 3 touchdowns, and also made 29 catches for 296 yards and a touchdown. Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa will also get some carries. Vereen rushed for 260 yards last year, but was the third leading receiver with 49 catches for 495 yards and 4 touchdowns. Fullbacks Nikita Whitlock and Will Johnson are both on injured reserve.
Receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. is one of the top receivers in the league. He had 96 catches for 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns. Although #2 receiver Rueben Randle is now with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants’ receiving corps could be better in 2016. Victor Cruz returns after missing all of last year with various lower body injuries. He was the top receiver for the Giants before OBJ came into the picture. The Giants also drafted Sterling Shepard in the second round out of Oklahoma. Tight end Larry Donnell had 29 catches for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Five defensive players are listed on the injury report, but most are probable. Kicker Josh Brown is suspended for this game after a domestic violence incident. Randy Bullock will serve as the kicker.
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Dallas scored only 17 points per game last year and allowed 23. The Cowboys averaged 335 yards per game including 217 passing and 118 rushing yards per game. On defense, Dallas allowed 348 total yards including 227 passing and 121 rushing yards per game. Dallas was 74/205 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents were 86/218. Dallas forced 31 sacks and allowed 33 last year. The Cowboys were -22 in turnovers. Dallas had two defensive touchdowns and allowed 6 defensive or special teams touchdowns.
After Romo broke his collarbone in week two last year, the quarterback position was an unmitigated disaster. Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore all started some games and all were terrible. Romo returned on Thanksgiving but injured the collarbone again and was out for the season.
Dallas drafted Dak Prescott in the fourth round as the potential quarterback of the future. Well, the future is now for the Cowboys. He was supposed to be the third string quarterback, but then Moore broke his leg in training camp. Then Romo suffered a fractured vertebrae in the third game of the pre-season and will be out 6-10 weeks. Prescott will start until Romo comes back if he is able. Prescott was impressive in the pre-season throwing for 454 yards and 5 touchdowns without an interception, and also rushed for 2 touchdowns. He is still a rookie though and no one can predict what will happen in the regular season. The Cowboys signed veteran Mark Sanchez to be the back-up last week after the Denver Broncos released him.
The good news for Prescott is he can lean on a strong running game behind what is arguably the league’s best offensive line. Dallas drafted running back Ezekiel Elliot out of Ohio State with the #4 overall pick. He is electrifying and explosive and barring injury will be a star in this league. Dallas also signed Alfred Morris from the rival Washington Redskins. Lance Dunbar returns from an injury but is questionable with a knee injury. Last year’s leading rusher Darren McFadden is on injured reserve with an elbow injury.
Bryant suffered a broken foot in the opening game of last season and missed over half the season. He had 31 catches for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns. He looks to return to his all-pro form and remain healthy. Terrance Williams had 52 catches for 840 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Jason Witten had 77 catches for 713 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cole Beasley had 52 catches for 536 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Nine defensive players are listed on the injury report. Defensive ends Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence, plus linebacker Rolando McClain are all suspended for the first four games of the season. Defense is a major question mark for the Cowboys.
New York is 4-1 ATS in September but 1-4 in Week One games. The Giants are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in Dallas. The over is 20-8-1 in this series overall and the last seven games in Dallas in this series have gone over.
Dallas is 10-25-1 ATS at home, 7-19-1 on fieldturf, 1-5 against NFC teams, and and 0-3-1 overall.
This should be a high scoring game. The Giants revamped their defense but they have a long way to go. Dallas will try to control the clock with their running game and keep the defense off the field as much as possible. I think the Cowboys pull out a close win at home.
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