A bitter rivalry between Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants continues as they will face off this Sunday. This will be the fourth time in the last five years that these two teams meet in the season opener. Every year it is different, but this year it is special because both teams acquired some great players that can influence the course of the game.
Take a glance at some of the most important matchups:
Dez Bryant Vs. Janoris Jenkins
Everybody is familiar with the Cowboys play style, and that is to run the ball whenever they can. In order to prevent this, Giants will have the best chance if they put constant pressure on a rookie quarterback Dak Prescott from the beginning of the game. The best strategy to stop Cowboys from running is an eight-in-the-box defense. Prescott will not have an easy task, considering that the respect of the defenders must be earned.
As for Dez Bryant and Janoris Jenkins, there will probably be one-on-one coverage during the entire match. It would be great for the Cowboys if they opened the game with some passes. In doing so, an already famous wide receiver Dez Bryant will be activated and dangerous from the beginning, and Prescott’s self-esteem and confidence will rise. Moreover, they will create more space for running.
On the previous occasion, Bryant scored a 68-yard touchdown, whereas Jenkins had a pick six. Bryant must be aggressive early because after some time Jenkins will get tired and more likely to make a mistake. Although Jenkins is an intelligent and talented cornerback, sometimes he tends to take risks on the ball and go for an impossible interception.
Taking advantage in the battlefield
In the off-season, New York focused more on bringing defensive pieces. They were successful in signing Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon who are more than capable of causing chaos and challenging vicious offensive lines like Dallas has. A tremendous offensive line Dallas has now was similar to the one Giants had in the Eli Manning era.
Another key matchup is Vernon vs. Tyron Smith.
Last time these two met, Vernon was too much to handle, and he sacked Tony Romo after a great move. Moreover, Romo received a few hits and Smith was completely helpless.
Dak Prescott must feel comfortable, and he will only shine if the offensive line can give him enough time to make the right decision.
Odell Beckham Jr. Vs. the Dallas Secondary
The Dallas Secondary need to play flawlessly in order for Dallas to win in the opener. With DeMarcus Lawrence absent because of the injury and a week pass rush, the Secondary will have to give their best. Orlando Scandrick, Byron Jones, and Morris Claiborne are the players whom Dallas will put their trust in.
Nowadays, Odell Beckham is one of the best wide receivers in NFL and stopping him will not be a piece of cake. However, New York’s offensive line and the running game has not yet lived to the full potential, and this is the aspect of the game Dallas should focus on.
Rookie Sterling Shepard can probably foresee one-on-one coverage, which is another key matchup.
Dallas will help Prescott if they remove the pressure off his back and that is why they need to win in these direct duels. This will create space for Cowboys running back to play his game, and Prescott can relax and enjoy his debut.