EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 01: Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants catches a touchdown pass against Orlando Scandrick #32 of the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
It takes a bit to beat the defending champion in its opener the year after winning its title.
It takes a bit to beat the defending champion in its opener the year after winning a title.
We know that because it hasn't happened since the NFL began its Kickoff Game in 2004. That's the Cowboys' challenge tonight, as they face the Super Bowl XLVI Champion Giants at 8:30 p.m. ET tonight.
A few have come close recently. New Orleans traveled to Lambeau to take on the Packers last year, only to fall 42-34. The Saints held off the Vikings 14-9 in the opener in 2010, and the Steelers needed overtime to hold off Tennessee 13-10 in 2009.
The Giants won their Kickoff Game in 2008, defeating Washington 16-7, but it's obviously a different year. The Cowboys are looking to break out of a period of mediocrity, and could do so with an improved secondary, particularly first-round draft pick, CB Morris Claiborne.
The Giants will counter with a powerful vertical passing attack, much like they had in 2011. WRs Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz should both be used often tonight at the direction of QB Eli Manning.
NBC has all the coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.
NFC East Preview: Defending Champion Giants Ready for Another Dogfight with Divisional Rivals (via sbnation)