Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Who will break first, the Cowboys or the Giants?

Cowboys vs. Giants kickoff the NFL season tonight.
Recent history has shown that the Cowboys always break first.  First comes the body, and then comes the spirit.  Whether it was the 2010 showdown between both ball clubs in Cowboys Stadium that saw Tony Romo's collarbone shattered by the hands of Michael Boley, and what would follow it was a complete tank job by Wade Phillips and his Cowboys which would lead to Wade's mid-season firing.  A game that not only severed the head of the snake, but broke the spirit of a team with aspirations of not only hosting the Super Bowl in Cowboys Stadium, but being an actual participant in the game.  Last season was no different.  Murray breaks his ankle in the first half and is out for the season, and the Cowboys are seemingly in control of the game anyway despite Murray's injury.  Sporting a 12 point lead with 5 minutes to go.  What would happen in those final five minutes would break the spirit of the Cowboys, and would be the turning point in the Giants' season that ended with a Super Bowl victory.

What recent history has also shown, is that these games between the polarizing Dallas Cowboys and the resilient New York Gmen have a huge impact on how each team's season will play out.  Tonight will be no different.  If the Cowboys win, they are sitting pretty, and kick off the season on the right foot.  If the Giants win, it's just business as usual for the defending champions in home openers.  If the Cowboys lose, there will be plenty of question marks and finger pointing at Jason Garrett and Tony Romo as usual.  If the Gmen lose, the Super Bowl hangover talks will run rampant.

The question is, who will break first?  History shows that it's the Cowboys.  Having an offensive line full of question marks certainly won't help their cause.  Considering they are going up against arguably the best pass rush in all of football.  We also don't know if Jason Witten will put on those cleats.

What we do know is that both teams will be without major interior defensive presences with Jay Ratliff and Chris Canty out of tonight's game.  That Romo has lost his last five starts versus the Giants.  That the Giants have the swagger, and the ability to come through in big games more often than not.  That the Cowboys are the complete opposite in big games.  That the Cowboys are undefeated against the Giants in season openers.  That no defending champion has lost the home opener since moving to NBC.  That the Cowboys are typically the team to break first.  Something's got to give.

The keys to tonight's game will come down to a few things:
  • Turnovers
  • Injuries
  • Poise
With both teams coming to the game banged up with injuries (whether it's Austin, Dez, Witten, Nicks, etc.), the team that can stay the healthiest, can force the most turnovers, and has the most poise will win this game.  You have to give the Giants the advantage in this aspect.  They force a lot of timely turnovers, and they have championship poise.  Something these Cowboys know nothing about.  The Giants know they have the Cowboys' number, and the Cowboys know it too.  If the Cowboys want to win this game, they have to show some poise, weather the loud and crazy Giant fans, take advantage of NY's mistakes, and avoid their own mistakes.

It's a tough task just opening the season on the road alone, but having to open the season on the road against the defending champs as they unveil those championship banners is almost asking too much.  Cowboys could earn a lot of respect if they come out of this one victorious.  More often than not, the winner of these games tend to do good things later on in the season.  So if the Cowboys want to change perception and do some great things later in the season, they can't break; and winning tonight's game would be a step in the right direction.

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