The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys resume their NFC East rivalry in the regular season opener Sunday at AT&T Stadium. Both teams are eager to get back into playoff contention, although the Cowboys have more question marks than they'd like at quarterback.
Tony Romo was supposed to make his triumphant return from two broken collarbones, but his plans got derailed in the preseason when he broke a bone in his back. With Romo on the shelf for possibly half the season, the starting job falls to fourth-round rookie Dak Prescott. The Mississippi State product had an impressive preseason performance and Cowboys fans will hope it carries over to the real games. He'll have the luxury of throwing to a healthy Dez Bryant and handing off to hotshot rookie Ezekiel Elliot, while playing behind the best offensive line in football, so Prescott is set up well to succeed.
Prescott is going up against a Giants defense that got an aggressive makeover in the offseason. Perhaps feeling his seat get warm, general manager Jerry Reese opened up the checkbook in free agency, signing Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison to big-money deals. He also brought back Jason Pierre-Paul, who's trying to regain his elite form one year after disfiguring his hand in a fireworks accident.
But it's the offensive side of the ball that still has the biggest names in New York. Eli Manning's career got a second wind under playcaller Ben McAdoo, who got promoted to head coach after Tom Coughlin got pushed out the door. Rashad Jennings is set to be the lead running back after the Giants ditched an ill-advised platoon from last year.
No discussion of the Giants is complete without mentioning Odell Beckham Jr., who emerged as a bona fide superstar after two incredible seasons in the league. Beckham is must-see TV every week and he has a promising new wingman in second-round rookie Sterling Shepard, who immediately won a starting role out of camp. If Victor Cruz can come back from a devastating knee injury suffered in 2014, all the better for Eli and company.
Here at SB Nation, it's a 7-3 tilt in favor of the Giants.
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