So there we were, the final game of the 2011 season, the Cowboys at the
Giants with the NFC East title on the line.
New York won 31-14 and, a month or so later, was taking home its second
Vince Lombardi Trophy in five seasons.
Now, here we are, The Opening of the 2012 schedule, and there are the
Cowboys journeying Wednesday to the Meadowlands to take on the Super
Bowl champions, who are 4-point favorites.
It's one of the NFL's better rivalries, but the Giants have won most of
the significant meetings in recent years. And no team has lost the
prime-time kickoff to the season after winning the NFL title since the
tradition was begun in 2004.
''Every game is a tough game,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ''Seems
to go pretty close to the wire. On the 17th week last year was a little
bit of an exception, but every game is a battle. These two teams play
each other hard and they're two talented teams that are very physical
and that's the way these games always are.''
As this one will be. Dallas retooled its defense, particularly the
secondary, to deal with the strong passing game the Giants and Eagles
present in the NFC East. The Giants (No. 3 in the AP Pro32) also had
significant changes, especially on offense with rookie David Wilson now
the primary backup to running back Ahmad Bradshaw, and big-play third
receiver Mario Manningham gone.
One key player, Dallas tight end Jason Witten, is recovering from a
lacerated spleen. The Cowboys (No. 15, AP Pro32) need him to have any
No. 30 Miami (plus 10 1/2) at No. 6 Houston
BEST BET: Texans are aiming for Super Bowl.
Dolphins are aiming to avoid cellar.
No. 10 Atlanta (minus 2 1/2) at No. 17 Kansas City
UPSET SPECIAL: Chiefs are hurting, but relatively
healthy compared to 2011 debacle.
No. 7 Pittsburgh (plus 1) at No. 11 Denver
Could be punishing return for Peyton Manning. He'll survive the
No. 27 Indianapolis (plus 9 1/2) at No. 12 Chicago
Rough debut for Andrew Luck. Better times ahead.
No. 24 Washington (plus 9 1/2) at No. 9 New Orleans
Rough debut for RG3. Actually he should do well, but Saints are ticked
off bunch that will score plenty.
No. 22 Seattle (minus 2 1/2) at No. 25 Arizona
Another rookie QB, Russell Wilson, will fare better than Luck and
No. 4 San Francisco (plus 5 1/2) at No. 1 Green Bay
They easily could meet again at Lambeau in January.
No. 8 Philadelphia (minus 8 1/2) at No. 32 Cleveland
Eagles can't afford another stumble out of the gate.
No. 20 Buffalo (plus 3) at No. 19 N.Y. Jets
Mario Williams and Mark Anderson meet at the QB, whether it's Sanchez
No. 2 New England (minus 6 1/2) at No. 21 Tennessee
Tom Brady got banged around in preseason. Titans can rush passer. Still
No. 31 Jacksonville (plus 4) at No. 28 Minnesota
Might be only time Vikings are favored this season.
No. 29 St. Louis (plus 8 1/2) at No. 13 Detroit
Difficult spot for Jeff Fisher in first game as Rams coach.
No. 18 Carolina (minus 2 1/2) at No. 26 Tampa Bay
Bucs being touted as one of most improved teams. We think that might be
No. 14 Cincinnati (plus 6) at No. 5 Baltimore, Monday
With improving offense, Ravens could be class of AFC.
No. 16 San Diego (minus 1) at No. 23 Oakland, Monday
Norv Turner needs fast start to season with Chargers.
Against spread: 133-111-5.
Straight up 176-91.
Best Bet: 4-15 against spread, 13-6 straight up.
Upset Special: 11-7 against spread, 8-10 straight up.