It’s been quite a while since the Dallas Cowboys have managed to beat the New York Giants in a home game, but a new season brings with it the promise of a change in trends, as the two NFC East rivals open their 2013 NFL campaign with the 103rd meeting between the two teams.
There’s plenty of pressure on both franchises to fix whatever went wrong for them last season, but it’s especially true for the Cowboys. They’ve missed the playoffs for three straight seasons, and haven’t been able to beat the Giants in Cowboys Stadium since the opening of the venue, their last win at home against them dating back to the 2007 season, when they were still playing in the Texas Stadium.
The Giants finished 9-7 last year, but it wasn’t enough to try and defend their Super Bowl title in the postseason. The most notable issue the Giants had to face during the offseason was the contract negotiations with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, but limited with their salary cap, there wasn’t much they managed to do except move towards a future with David Wilson as their leading running back, while hoping that their reliance on the talented defensive line isn’t becoming too old of a “trick”.
Tony Romo is at the focus, especially with his shiny and expensive new extension that made up a lot of the summer happenings for the Cowboys. Romo had an excellent performance to start the season last year against the Giants in New York, but it’s proving his worth against them at home that’s been a problem throughout his career.
Romo is hoping that the offensive line issues of the last two years are finally over. He led the NFL with eight interceptions when under pressure, which includes three interceptions in the two games against the Giants. He’ll be mostly looking at his default option, Jason Witten, and the emerging star Dez Bryant, but getting something of a hopefully healthy DeMarco Murray would be a huge lift for him and the team.
The defense is another shifting matter, going to a 4-3 look with the Tampa 2 Monte Kiffin is installing, moving DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer to the defensive end position. Spencer is in question for the opening game, but it’ll be about the defense as a whole adjusting to the new system.
The Giants have injury issues of their own, which include running back Andre Brown and safety Stevie Brown (out for the season), but it’s also about Eli Manning and his connection with Nicks, who seems unhappy at the moment and not really connecting well with his quarterback. Victor Cruz might be getting paid a lot, but without Nicks he’s a far less effective target.
Prediction – Both teams have problems going into the season opener, but the Dallas Cowboys should look better than last year on both ends of the field, even with some injuries, and good enough to record a second consecutive season-opening win over their rivals.