The Cowboys versus the Giants has turned into a shootout in recent years. And Monday's game should be no different, with our analyst Neil Harvey making Dallas his top bet of the three televised games that wrap up Week One in the NFL...
"In Des Bryant, Dallas have one of the NFL's top three receivers, in terms of talent if not attitude. When in the mood though, he's a force of nature, and one the Giants' flimsy secondary looks incapable of keeping out of the endzone"
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
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Like a couple of of aged gunslingers with whisky bottles in hand, the Giants and Cowboys look set to shoot it out. Quarterbacks Eli Manning and Tony Romo certainly love to play expansive football, so don't be surprised if we see them aiming downfield right from the off.
In Des Bryant, Dallas have one of the NFL's top three receivers, in terms of talent if not attitude. When in the mood though, he's a force of nature, and one the Giants' flimsy secondary looks incapable of keeping out of the endzone. For the Giants, Odell Beckham Junior has become the darling of fans and media alike. But the word is out on him now and without the element of surprise he could find this season much tougher.
Rashard Jennings will find it hard running through a sturdy Dallas defensive line. He should still be the go-to man though once the Giants get within five yards of the goal line and could well snaffle a score.
Dallas would have been certainties to do well against what was last year's third worst run defense, were it not for the loss of DeMarco Murray. Instead, we have Joseph Randle, Christine Michael, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar all vying to fill his shoes. But that competition should at least keep the intensity high.
The Cowboys won this by 10 points last year, a feat that they could easily repeat here. And if Dallas, as I expect, forge out in front, we could see them run out the clock by giving each of their RB contenders some game time. And that makes an appealing case for backing the most points to come in the first half.
Dallas (-6) to beat New York Giants @ 1.9010/11
Dallas (-3.5) to beat New York Giants at Half Time @ 1.9620/21
First half to be highest scoring half @ 1.9110/11 or better
Des Bryant to score anytime touchdown @ 1.68/13 or better
Rashard Jennings to score anytime touchdown @ 2.56/4 or better
Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons
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A lot of pundits are expecting the flashy Eagles to win this battle of the birds against the faltering Falcons. But I'm not so sure after Head Coach Chip Kelly spent his off-season sending his top quarterback, running back and wide receiver packing.
In have come DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews at RB. Murray was briliant at the Cowboys but had a much better offensive line to create holes to run through. Matthews was a flash in the pan at San Diego. And both are hideously prone to injuries. I'm not even sure either will be fit to lead the line come late season.
Sam Bradford is the new QB. He seems talented. But again, he hasn't stayed fit long enough for anyone to be certain. Odds on him not surviving the season? I'll take those.
And in at receiver comes rookie Nelson Agholor, to join Jordan Matthews who sparkled in his first season. So if Bradford is up to muster, which we've still to discover, he should have some good targets at his disposal in the passing game.
Philadelphia are full of playmakers and really shone in the preseason. But the hype has overtaken reality I fear and such a boom-bust side could be worth opposing as a result.
The Falcons meanwhile should prove an offensive threat, especially on home turf where their record is traditionally far superior. Quarterback Matt Ryan oozes both class and experience and has one of the league's top receivers in Julio Jones to aim for.
Rookie running back Tevin Coleman looks set to start this game. He's an unknown quantity but arrives with high hopes. And while their signings have been nowhere near as eye-catching as those of the Eagles, Atlanta have recruited wisely, bolstering their pass-rush unit and defensive line.
Following a 6-10 season, the Falcons have been written off. But new head coach Dan Quinn is a man with a plan. The former Seattle defensive co-ordinator took the Seahawks to two Super Bowls and looks determined to sure up Atlanta's defense first and foremost. So don't bank on them being rolled over as easily as most are expecting.
Atlanta (+3) to beat Philadelphia @ 1.981/1
Atlanta (+2.5) to win at half time @ 1.9620/21 or better
Julio Jones to score anytime touchdown @ 2.001/1 or better
Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 49ers
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The 49ers were hot stuff a couple of years ago, when a brutal defence and a ferocious running game helped them to the Superbowl. But things can change every quickly in the NFL and their team today is almost unrecognisable from that of 2013.
Last year, San Fran could only break even, with an 8-8 record. And now they're without coach Jim Harbaugh, the man who moulded the team. Gone too is defensive general Patrick Willis. Running back Frank Gore saw the iceberg coming. He shipped out to pastures greener in Indianapolis. Plus, the 49ers once formidable offensive line is now missing Anthony Davis and Mike Lupati.
On offense, Colin Kaepernick will try to run the ball like in his rookie year but defences are now waiting for him. And Carlos Hyde is still unproven at running back. The 49ers have added Torrey Smith from Baltimore out wide, but will Kaepernick have enough time, behind a crumbling offensive line, to find him?
At the same time, the sense is Minnesota are heading in the opposite direction. Teddy Bridgewater still has lots to prove but did enough as a rookie quarterback to provide hope for this year. And now he has deep ball threat Mike Wallace, signed from Miami, to aim for alongside Charles Johnson. Much more important for the Vikings though is the return of Adrian Peterson. One of the best running backs the league's ever seen, Peterson returns from a year-long suspension for child abuse determined to repair his tattered reputation.
Minnesota have also bolstered their defence, which improved dramatically last season, with some smart draft picks.
Worth noting though. Vikings' kicker Blair Walsh is a fading force with some saying he now has the yips, after missing several short kicks last season. And that makes the novelty bet of a missed field goal look a genuine runner on this occasion.
Minnesota to beat San Francisco @ 1.794/5
Minnesota(-1.5) to win at half time @ 1.9620/21 or better
Total San Francisco points Under 19.5 @ 1.9620/21 or better
Adrian Peterson to score first touchdown @ 6.005/1 or better
Adrian Peterson to score anytime touchdown @ 1.845/6 or better
A field goal to be missed @ 2.001/1 or better