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Eatman: Cornering A Big Difference From 2011 Opener

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Talk about a déjà vu feeling. Here we are in New Jersey getting ready for the season opener at MetLife Stadium.

Certainly it's a little different this year being on a Wednesday – the first Wednesday game in NFL history. And the fact the Cowboys are facing a division rival in the Giants and not a less familiar team like the Jets.

But same city, same stadium and same buildup for sure. For the Cowboys, there are similar concerns, especially on offense. Can Miles Austin and Dez Bryant stay healthy? What a key that is, considering they haven't practiced much in the last month and getting thrown into the mix for a four-quarter game will be a big change in their routine.

Last year, Austin battled hamstring injuries leading up to the opener and it was only halfway into the first quarter before Bryant suffered a thigh injury.

So if – and it's an important if – Dez Bryant and Miles Austin can make it through the game without any injury, it's a huge advantage for the Cowboys.

Unlike last year when they had to face Jets cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, it's a different story this year with the Giants.

Yes, of course they have a phenomenal pass rush and sometimes that can offset an average secondary.

With rookie Prince Amukamara (high ankle sprain) not playing Wednesday night, it gives fifth-year pro Michael Coe his first career start. Coe has bounced around practice squads and inactive lists for years, and now he's facing Austin and Bryant on the big stage.

Yes, Morris Claiborne is doing the same on the other side as well – and it's likely both will be targeted by the opposing quarterbacks.

But the Giants have never had big names at corner. Corey Webster is a solid corner on the left side, and backups Justin Tryon and Jayron Hosley are not really household names.

So, if Doug Free and Tyron Smith can do their thing – and the offensive line can give Romo a chance to throw, it could be a big factor in the game when the Cowboys throw the ball. If there is time to throw, the Cowboys could have a big night.

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