By Zach Walker
All is well! All of the noise, the waiting, all the fillers and fluff that get everyone from the draft season to this moment in the calendar year. Oh, football, the time between seasons seemingly gets longer every year. But with the weekend of weekends looming just overhead, I’m feeling as good as a dog in a cotton candy factory.
The Cowboys have had a week. First, wrapping up La’el Collins for the foreseeable future, then bringing this Zeke Elliott saga to a close. When I saw that press conference, and Jerry Jones is holding up that “Zeke Who? That’s Who.” tee-shirt, I re-evaluated my life. In college, I wrote two speeches over Jerry Jones, and I can say this about the Man. Jones can S*** the bed, let that information be widely available, then sell previously crapped in sheets to you at a mark-up. And holding up that shirt, I thought, good lord, ‘he’s gonna make an absolute killing’ off of those shirts. He turned flippant words into hard currency. The Man.
How much is to be expected of Zeke Elliott to actually play and play well on Sunday? I’m expecting Zeke to get at least twenty carries. But, now that that contract is in, the rest of the season is Dak Prescott’s to make the money. I’ve said it before, it’s a ballsy move by the Cowboys to let the quarterback go out and try and make all the money he can, given the new system that Kellen Moore is going to try and install. If Moore’s system clicks, that means Dak took THAT step, which means the mattress is about to be stuffed. We don’t yet know what Moore’s system is going to look like in game motion, but coming from an under-gifted, over-intelligent former quarterback, he’ll understand how to put the quarterback’s strengths at the front of the attack. We’ll be seeing Amari Cooper for the first time against the Giants, and a second season, more seasoned Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb is going to be an unbelievable free agent pickup/upgrade at the position.
The Giants have some things to figure out this season, and it’s when to pull out the vaudevillian hook and close the door on the Eli Manning era and begin the Daniel Jones time in New York. The Cowboys won’t see Jones in this game, that’d be a serious upset to see him that early in the season. The Giants have Saquon Barkley, and that’s the focus of any team going against the Giants for the considerable future. He’ll have an ever-developing Will Hernandez leading for him, and the UTEP product is no joke and one of the best picks by the Giants in a decade.
Contain Barkley, force Eli Manning to make snap throws, win the game. (Containing Barkley basically means try keeping him around the 100 yard mark, because he’s going to get his). The dynamic duo of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are going to be busy bodies to keep Barkley under wraps.
These openers, and just games versus the NFC East in general, don’t adhere to the regular laws of reality, chance, and logic. It’s likely to get frustrating and confusing.
Dallas – 34
New York – 31