If you're looking at the record of the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, you likely believe this isn't a game you should care about, but you couldn't be more wrong. This is a matchup that has a metric ton worth of storylines, and that includes the return of Jason Garrett to Dallas for the first time since parting ways with the Cowboys in January. The hiring of Mike McCarthy was done before Garrett's contract was technically expired -- making for a very awkward exit -- and while the latter insists he harbors no hard feelings, you don't have to be mindreader to know he wants to win on Sunday and twist the 1-3 knife into a 1-4 start to the season.
Of course, that's easier said than done when the Giants offense is the literal antithesis of the one he left behind in North Texas. The duo of Garrett and Joe Judge has seen Big Blue fail to score a single touchdown in the last two games en route to an 0-4 record, and it doesn't help that Saquon Barkley is out for the year with a torn ACL. Both teams need a win, and desperately -- but even with one victory between them, both are still very much in the mix for the NFC East crown.
Will Garrett's flatlined New York offense come to life against McCarthy's equally dead defense? Or will Dak Prescott and the prolific Cowboys offense ?
There's only one way to find out.
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It's officially a patchwork offensive line in Dallas that is also without starting center Joe Looney this week, who replaced a now-retired Travis Frederick, leaving Zack Martin and Connor Williams as the only two projected starters on the Cowboys O-line. That doesn't bode well for McCarthy's offensive front, because while Martin can and will potentially be asked to play two different positions at varying times, Williams has been a liability for much of the season. Look for the Cowboys to finally allow former third-round pick Connor McGovern his NFL debut, and from there it'll be on a promising Brandon Knight and a struggling Terence Steele to man the edges.
This could be big for the Giants, assuming they can also account for the fact Prescott is utilizing his legs more than ever to escape danger and tear off chunks of yards. He's also getting rid of the ball faster than he ever has in his NFL career, as the Cowboys adjust to lack of a dominant (or at times, even sufficient) offensive line. Anything can happen when these two teams meet, yes, but the Giants are allowing 24 points per game and the Cowboys average 31.5 points weekly. And while Garrett's former team is allowing a massive 36.5 points each week, his current team averages just 11.8 points whenever they take the field.
Unless the Cowboys offense gets giveaway happy yet again, the Giants are up against it, which explains why Dallas is 9.5-point favorites to take the win, per William Hill Sportsbook.
As stated, give the edge to the Cowboys in this one, upsetting Garrett's homecoming in the process. Be sure to check out more on this game from our experts at CBSSports.com -- including Will Brinson and Pete Prisco -- to help with your game picks for this one and every matchup on the Week 1 slate.