Last season was a big year for the Dallas Cowboys, as the team brought home their second NFC East title in the past three seasons, as well as bringing home the first playoff win of the Dak Prescott era. As for the 2019 season, the Cowboys look to build on that success, chasing their first Super Bowl appearance since 1996.
America’s team certainly has the talent to reach that goal, but it will be dependent on which iteration of Prescott we will see, and it all starts week one against the New York Giants. Now the Giants were one of the worst teams in the NFL last season, and they seem to have gotten worse on paper since then. The offseason losses of Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon, as well as early blows in the receiving core of Golden Tate and Corey Coleman, lead many to believe that the team’s fortunes will be similar to 2018-2019.
The one bright spot for this team just happens to be in one of the areas that the Cowboys are most proficient in, the run game. Saquon Barkley is one of the premier backs in the league and is really New York’s only hope of moving the football in 2019. With the 23rd ranked total defense in 2018, the Giants essentially swapped a pass rusher for safety Jabrill Peppers. Peppers played well for Cleveland last season, but will not turn around a team’s pass defense by himself. In addition to the Peppers acquisition, New York drafted Dexter Lawrence out of Clemson to sure up a depleted defensive line.
DAL 27 – NYG 10
As for how the Cowboys stack up in this division match-up, I think this may be one of the easier games on Dallas’ schedule. Ezekiel Elliott will likely need a game or two to get back into 35 carry-per-game shape as he has been for the entirety of his career, but the carries given to him should be very efficient behind an incredible offensive line. This is also the first full season of the Dak Prescott-Amari Cooper connection, and I’m very excited to see how Kellen Moore will adjust the passing game that has been so stagnant over the past two seasons.
As for the defense, the team looks to improve on a season that the Cowboys finished sixth in total defense, and won multiple big games due to their presence on that side of the ball. Essentially, running it back with their talented young core seems to be the plan for Dallas, and who can blame them? The front-seven should simply overpower the Giants’ offensive line, and week one is a great matchup for Ezekiel Elliott to find his stride as he returns from his hold-out. Cowboys start off the year right, with a big win over a division foe.