Two NFC East rivals kick off their respective season in prime time on Sunday Night Football. Both teams battled through injuries for all of last season and spent the offseason trying to fix the holes created by the injuries. With the division looking to be a very competitive one, both teams will have extra incentive o pull out this week 1 win.
The Cowboys did not sign many free agents but two of them have the potential to be game changers. Defensive End Greg Hardy was signed to bolster the teams pass rush. He will be serving a 6 game suspension to start the season but wont have any impact on this game. Running back Darren McFadden was a big time prospect coming out of Arkansas a few years back. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is an alumnus of Arkansas and signed the tailback to replace the NFL’s leading rusher, Demarco Murray who signed with the division rival Eagles. Mcfadden had the misfortune of playing for the Raiders for the early part of his career so it remains to be seen if he can be a productive NFL back. He has also been injury prone throughout. The Cowboys offensive line is considered the best in football and this season will go a long way towards showing whether Murray’s success was a product of a dominant offensive line or the talents of Murray.
The Giants are coming off an extremely disappointing season and head into this one filled with question marks. The team did well in the draft with its top pick in safety Landon Collins who showed in the preseason that his style of play, will make a seamless transition into the NFL. The only other addition of significance was the signing of Patriots running back Shane Vereen, who is arguably the best pass catching running back in the league. He will help a 3 headed attack featuring veteran Rashad Jennings and impressive second year back Andre Williams. The defense has been decimated by injuries throughout the preseason especially in the secondary where they are going to have to rely on players who weren’t in training camp to play significant snaps during week 1. The biggest loss to the defense is the uncertain return of defensive end Jason Pierre Paul. He lost a finger in an offseason fireworks accident and has yet to sign his franchise tag tender (which really hurts the team because that money still counts against the salary cap” and is nowhere near ready to play according to reports.
Both teams have a lot to prove. The Giants are fighting for their coach’s job as there in no chance Tom Coughlin survives another season of not making the playoffs. The Cowboys have been considered a Superbowl favorite several times in recent seasons but have yet to even reach a conference final during the Tony Romo era. Both teams have veteran quarterbacks who can get the job done. The key to both teams will be to figure out their defensive shortcomings.
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