Ben Steele previews the New York Giants trip to Dallas and thinks that it could be time for New York to move on from the Eli Manning era...
Prescott will be leaning on his favourite target, Amari Cooper who has averaged 80.5 yards a game in his Dallas career, as he hunts for his fifth straight win over New York.
Busy offseason will show for both teams
The NFC East matchup in Dallas as the Cowboys host the New York Giants is a game that caps an intense offseason for both teams. The Cowboys' summer has been dominated by stories about contracts, most notably Zeke Elliott's holdout.
The 24-year-old is one of the best running backs in the NFL and finally has a paycheck to match that, he signed the biggest running back contract in NFL history on Wednesday, but having spent most of his time in Cabo, rather than with the team, he may not be 100% in Week 1. Look for the Cowboys to use rookie rusher Tony Pollard on occasion as they try to manage Elliott's workload.
The Giants begin life without Odell Beckham Jr, after trading him to Cleveland, and will start Eli Manning at quarterback despite first round pick Daniel Jones's impressive preseason.
Jones threw for 416 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and made a serious impression with the media, but New York will go with the veteran Manning. With one team unsure on the fitness of their best offensive player and another choosing to start an ageing former star over their up and coming talent we could be in for a game that is slightly closer than anticipated. Dallas are a very short price to win the game, but with question marks surrounding a couple of key players it may not be the rout that some are predicting. Dallas to win by less than 14 points is a good bet at 7/5.
Dallas Defense will worry Eli but may struggle with Saquon
In 2018 Eli Manning was sacked 47 times, only five quarterbacks were sacked more, and he starts his 16th season behind an offensive line who will have to cope with the supremely talented, DeMarcus Lawrence. The defensive end accounted for just over a quarter of the Dallas' sacks last year and was duly rewarded with a new $100m contract. Dallas are paying him to be the top tier pass rusher that he has threatened to be in recent years. With a lot of pressure expected, Manning will have to rely on Saquon Barkley, who set multiple records in his rookie year.
Barkley, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, hit the ground running in New York and will need to do the same if the G-men are to have any success in 2019. OBJ is now in Cleveland and the Giants replaced him with Golden Tate who promptly failed a drugs test and is banned for the first four games, Barkley will almost certainly be asked to pick up some of the slack there.
The positive news for New York is that their burgeoning superstar put up 248 total yards and scored a touchdown in his two games against the Cowboys last season, so he has a history of success but with Dallas loading up against the run he might find it tricky to repeat the feat on Sunday. I don't think the Giants will have much to shout about offensively so backing under 18.5 points in the Away Team Total Points market at 5/6 seems like a good price, definitely one to look at adding in to a Same Game Multi.
Prescott needs to earn his contract
Zeke Elliott hasn't been the only man chasing a new contract in Dallas; quarterback Dak Prescott didn't hold out but he knows that this season is effectively an audition for a big money deal. Week 1, facing a side who had trouble defending the pass last year, seems a good place to start. Prescott will be leaning on his favourite target, Amari Cooper who has averaged 80.5 yards a game in his Dallas career, as he hunts for his fifth straight win over New York.
Prescott, a fourth round draft pick three years ago, has been a pleasant surprise for the Cowboys during his career but whether he really deserves to be paid like an elite level QB remains to be seen. Throughout his career teams have preferred to try and stop the Cowboys run game, and take their chances against Prescott. With Elliott having missed the preseason, Prescott has a chance to make a statement this week that this is his team and lead them to victory. Dallas are the heaviest favourite in the NFL this week so backing them to scored in every quarter looks like good value at 11/8 particularly against a poor New York defensive unit.
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