IRVING, Texas – Coming off their biggest statement win in years, the Cowboys are now tasked with re-focusing for their division opener against the Giants.
Few series have been as competitive as Dallas-New York in recent years. Eight of the past 10 meetings between the two have been decided by a touchdown or less, and all five of their games played at AT&T Stadium have been decided by six points or fewer.
Here are the gut feelings from staff writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus and David Helman.
Nick Eatman:I was way off last week, of course. I really needed to see the Cowboys handle a team like Seattle and after that I'm more than convinced. That being said, the Giants could come right in here and shock all of us with a win. And it might not be that shocking. The Giants get whipped by the Eagles. The Cowboys handle the world champs. It only makes NFL sense for Dallas to struggle. But I'm still picking the Cowboys. I think it might be a closer game for a little bit, but the Giants are just too banged up. Dallas will run the ball like we've seen and I'm saying DeMarco Murray not only breaks the record for most 100-yard games to start the season, but I think it'll be his season-high in yards, maybe even flirting with a 200-yard game. I see a defensive touchdown in this one and let's go with … Brandon Carr. The Cowboys have control of this game but a late Giants score makes it seem a little closer on the final scoreboard. Either way, I'm seeing a 6-1 record come 7 p.m. Sunday evening.
Bryan Broaddus:Each week that Tyrone Crawford has lined up as the under-tackle in this Cowboys scheme, he has played a little better. It appears that these defensive coaches have found the perfect spot for him to play that takes full advantage of his skillset by putting him closer to the quarterback and the ball. The Giants have had their share of struggles along the offensive line, especially at the guard spot. One of the keys to this game for the Cowboys will be the amount of pressure that they can generate on Eli Manning. Coaches like to look for matchups along the offensive line that they can take full advantage of, and my gut feeling is that Rod Marinelli has his eye on Weston Richburg as a guy that he wants Crawford to rush on. Crawford has too much power and quickness for Richburg to handle one-on-one, and he if doesn't get any help, he will be in for a long afternoon. Look for Crawford to have a dominant game, both in defending the run but attacking Manning in the pocket.
David Helman:My main reasoning for picking Seattle last week was that I couldn't see the Cowboys running at will against the league's best run defense. Well, they did. Coming off that performance, I have a hard time seeing the Giants having success against DeMarco Murray and Co. – even if Doug Free is sitting out. The adage says that the records go out the window for division games, and there's some truth to that. There hasn't been a blowout in this series since 2011. The Giants are just dealing with too many problems right now, though – no Rashad Jennings, no Victor Cruz, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is questionable and the offensive line is coming off a horrific game in Philadelphia. That's too much to overcome against a healthier Cowboys team that is firing on all cylinders. I don't think this will be the same caliber of beatdown as the Giants' loss in Philly, but the Cowboys will win – something like 37-24. Murray will go for more than 100 yards, and Joseph Randle will bounce back from his arrest with his first rushing touchdown of the season.