IRVING, Texas -The NFL scheduled the defending champion New York Giants to kickoff the season in a marquee game against he Cowboys because they considered it to be a star-studded matchup.
With that in mind, Wednesday's game just wouldn't be the same without Witten on the field.
Despite the seriousness of his spleen injury, Witten's status for the game remains up in the air, and he did participate, at least on a limited basis, in Saturday's practice. Witten has been the image of durability and toughness during his eight-year career only missing one game.
For that reason, the New York Giants are preparing themselves for the game as if Witten will play. In a conference call with reporters on Saturday, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin talked about their stance on Witten.
"We usually take the position that the player is going to play," Coughlin said. "If it's otherwise, it's otherwise, but we're not going to be surprised the other way. We're not going to say that he's not going to play and then he plays."
Coughlin went on to explain the importance of Witten to the Cowboys. He explained the danger that he poses as a weapon if a team does not come in prepared to face him.
"All you've got to do is look at the tape," Coughlin said. "He leads the team in receptions far and away. The quarterback is very comfortable in all circumstances getting him the ball. He does an outstanding job of maneuvering and getting open and finding a way to advance the ball once he catches it."
Coughlin also recognized the difference Witten can make and what the Cowboys' offense would truly be getting back with the return of their starting tight end.
"He's very versatile and used in a lot of different ways," Coughlin said.
Coughlin is justifying his preparation to face Witten based on the danger of being caught off guard if he does play, but like the rest of us he has no idea one way or the other if Witten will take the field Wednesday night.
However, former Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett recently shared his prediction regarding Witten with the New York media. Bennett was the backup tight end to Witten before joining the Giants and he knows firsthand the toughness that Witten brings to the table.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he picked up his spleen, held it in his hand and tried to run routes," Bennett said, according to the New York Daily News. "That's the kind of guy he is."