by Spiro Kasabian @NYspawtsguy_spi

For the 5th time in seven years, the New York Giants will be opening their season in Dallas against their hated rival, the Dallas Cowboys.  What did the Giants, as an organization, do to piss off the NFL schedule makers to earn this type of start every year?

The Giants young defense will get a major test right off the when they take on a Cowboys offense that doesn’t have many holes.  The Cowboy defense, coached by Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard, are a talented, fast, and well-coached bunch.  They have given Eli and the Giant offense fits the past few years, and I expect this to continue Sunday Afternoon.

There are a couple of matchups that will determine Sunday’s NFC East divisional bout.  If the Giants can steal a few of these matchups, they have a chance to go into Jerry’s World and steal a victory.

Matchups to Watch:

Saquon Barkley vs Dallas Cowboys LBs:

The Giants love to get Barkley the ball as many times and ways as possible.  The Cowboys deploy two of the very best Linebackers the league has to offer in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch.  If Barkley can make a few plays in the passing game and bust a long run or two in the running game, the Giants will have a shot to put up some points on this good, but not great Dallas defense.  It will not be easy.

Giants Young D Line vs Cowboys Veteran O Line:

Dexter Lawrence is going to be thrown into the Lion’s Den right off the bat.  The Cowboys, when healthy, boast a Top 3 Offensive Line.  Their star center, Travis Frederick, is back and teamed up with All-Pro Zack Martin, will give Lawrence, Hill and Tomlinson all they can handle.  It will be up to the young defensive line to stalemate the fearsome offensive line of the Cowboys and keep Ezekiel Elliott in check.  If the Giants lose this matchup, you can fold up shop, because the Cowboys will run all over you.

Giants Linebacker/Safety vs Jason Witten:

Listen, we don’t know what the 37-year-old, lumbering, Tight End Jason Witten still has left.  Honestly, I don’t even care that he is old and coming back from a one-year retirement.  Until the Giants prove that they can prevent Witten from killing them over the middle, I will always fear the old man. 

The Giants will throw Tae Davis, Alec Ogletree, and Jabrill Peppers at Witten and they absolutely need to win this matchup to prevent Witten from moving the chains and scoring Red Zone TDs.  He won’t beat you deep.

I think this game will be a lot closer than the 7-point spread currently suggests, provided the Giants defensive line comes to play.  If not, the Cowboys will be able to do whatever they want on offense and it will be a long day if the Giants offense needs to play from far behind on the scoreboard.  Give Eli Manning time, and I think this offense should be able to score some points. 

Score early and take the crowd out of it.  Make Dak beat you with a banged up and rusty Amari Cooper.  Giants keep it close but ultimately lose a close one in the end.