By Lee Dover
The NFL is back on Wednesday night when reigning Super Bowl champions the New York Giants host the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s a long time since the cold dark days of February when the Giants slayed the New England Patriots and Liverpool football club were a shadow of their former selves. Maybe some things never change.
The Cowboys will be praying that the destructive force of the New York Giants has waned during the off-season.
A quick glance at the formbook shows why the Giants are priced at 5/11 in Paddy Power’s online match betting in their pursuit of back-to-back Lombardi trophies – a possible fifth in their history.
The Giants have won seven of their past nine meetings against the Cowboys and in the Cowboys last competitive game on New Year’s Day – they were beaten 31-14 by the New Yorkers at the MetLife Stadium. However, the Texan side did manage to hold their own in a tight 37-34 loss at the Cowboys Stadium last December.
Dallas head coach Jason Garrett and Co. would have been the ones to have made it to Wildcard Weekend had they beaten the Giants on January 1.
There is little between these two teams in this incredibly tough NFC East Division which also contains the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins.
Neither team have made significant changes to their roster over the summer and will continue to lean on some old reliables.
The Giants may have traded Mario Manningham to the San Francisco 49ers but Eli Manning will still have his two most popular targets Hakeem Nicks and last year’s star rookie Victor Cruz to throw to.
Ahmad Bradshaw with the help of impressive rookie David Wilson form an impressive backfield tandem for the Giants and in Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora they might have the finest defensive line in the league.
If the Giants have the finest defensive line in the league the ‘Boys’ defence unit as a whole isn’t too far behind it and in Rob Ryan they perhaps have one of the finest defensive co-ordinators in the game.
DeMarcus Ware is one of the meanest linebackers in the league and the Cowboys gave up some serious cash to trade up in this year’s draft to pick Louisiana State University’s (LSU) cornerback Morris Claiborne in the sixth overall spot to give some help to their much maligned secondary.
On the other side of the ball the Cowboys will be hoping that a 24 hour security detail will keep Dez Bryant’s off-field issues in check and that DeMarco Murray will continue where he left off last season allowing quarter-back Tony Romo to finally deliver on the potential he so clearly possesses.
The Dallas Cowboys at 20/23 (+4 in the handicap) is probably the bet to look at in the season opener.
Clashes between these two are always tight and the Cowboys will want to get off to a decent start against their bitter rivals in front of the NBC cameras.
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