NEW YORK GIANTS (0-0)
at DALLAS COWBOYS (0-0)
Kickoff: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Line: Dallas -3.5, Total: 48.5
The Cowboys look for a rare win over the Giants when the NFC East rivals clash on Sunday night.
New York has dominated this series in recent years, going 8-3 (SU and ATS) in the past 11 meetings. However, the road team won both games last year, giving New York QB Eli Manning four straight wins in Dallas, where heís thrown for 1,228 yards (307 YPG) and 8 TD. Cowboys QB Tony Romo has also flourished in this series with 286 passing YPG and 28 TD over 12 games. The performances of these two quarterbacks are a big reason with the Over is 9-4 (69%) in this series since 2007. The Giants parted ways with veteran RB Ahmad Bradshaw and DE Osi Umenyiora this offseason, but hope ultra-talented youngsters RB David Wilson and DE Jason Pierre-Paul both step up. Romo has great weapons with WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten, but RB DeMarco Murray needs to stay healthy for this team to succeed. While the Giants are a strong 57-37 ATS (61%) as a road underdog of seven points or less since 1992, the Cowboys are just 1-9 ATS (10%) as a home favorite of seven points or less in the past two seasons.
Will the Giants leave Big D with another victory? For the answer, connect to NFL Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 season and playoffs. During the 2012 campaign, the experts combined for a 52% ATS success rate in NFL Best Bets, highlighted by StatFox Brian's 60% ATS mark (36-24-2 ATS) and StatFox Dave's 53% ATS accuracy (44-41-4). StatFox Scott and StatFox Gary dominated NFL Totals, with Scott going 57% (38-29-1) and Gary cranking out a 56% clip (28-22-1) during the season, capped off by a perfect 4-0 run in the postseason.
QB Eli Manning has taken over this offense, running a lot of three-receiver sets, and working off play-action. WR Hakeem Nicks works primarily on the outside with WR Victor Cruz getting most targets out of the slot. Cruz has been slowed with an injured heel during the preseason, but does expect to start on Sunday. TE Brandon Myers is the main check-down option. The Giants have moved toward a zone-blocking scheme more and more in past years. Second-year RB David Wilson fits best in a one-cut system, as does tandem back Andre Brown, but he was lost for the season with a broken leg suffered in late August. Although the Giants' defense allowed the second-most yards in the NFL (383 YPG), they also forced 35 turnovers (3rd-best in NFL) with FS Stevie Brown compiling six interceptions. The defensive line is too talented with DEs Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck to record just 33 sacks again (22nd in league), and a better pass rush will certainly help their beleaguered secondary that gave up 7.6 YPA (2nd-worst in NFL). However, both Pierre-Paul (back) and starting FS Antrel Rolle (ankle) are questionable for this game. The defense added seven new defenders this offseason, but DT Cullen Jenkins is the only projected starter.
Jason Garrett will give up his play-calling duties to new offensive coordinator Bill Callahan this year. That should mean more action for the ground game with RB DeMarco Murray taking a full workload. The Cowboys finished third in the NFL in passing offense last year (296 YPG), but had the league's second-worst rushing offense (79 YPG). Callahan will still operated Garrett's aggressive Air Coryell passing game with WR Dez Bryant now the clear-cut No. 1 option. QB Tony Romo often comes back to TE Jason Witten for shorter targets, and WR Miles Austin does more catch-and-run work over the middle. Dallas will switch to a 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who oversaw Chicagoís amazing 44-turnover defense last year. This pair of veteran coaches will hopefully increase the teamís paltry 16 takeaways from a year ago. Star pass rusher DeMarcus Ware (111 career sacks) shifts to defensive end, Sean Lee mans the MLB spot and Bruce Carter explodes from the weakside linebacker position. The Cowboys also inked two new starters via free agency, SLB Justin Durant and FS Will Allen. Dallas is dealing with two significant injuries on defense, as DE Jay Ratliff (hamstring) is doubtful to play, while DE/LB hybrid Anthony Spencer is listed as questionable with a knee injury.