10 Things To Watch For

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Giants vs. Cowboys: 10 Things to Watch

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Everything you need to know about the Week 1 matchup between the Giants and Cowboys:

1. Back to Dallas. Sunday will be the fourth time in five years and the fifth time in seven seasons the Giants will open at AT&T Stadium against the Cowboys. After they won the first four trips to the venue starting in 2009, the Giants have fallen to 5-5 overall at the home of the Cowboys. The Giants are 50-39-5 in season openers, including 33-26-5 on the road.

2. NFC East outlook. No team has won back-to-back titles in the division since the early 2000s, which is good news for everyone but Dallas in 2019. The Cowboys overcame a 3-5 start last year to finish 10-6 and win the NFC East, which sent two teams to the postseason. The Giants had a second-half surge of their own, but it was not enough as they finished 5-11.

3. OT Remmers good to go; injury report. Right tackle Mike Remmers was limited early in the week due to an illness and back issue. He worked up to being a full participant in Friday’s practice and is good to go for Sunday. Meanwhile, tight end Garrett Dickerson (quad) and rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring) have been ruled out.

4. More than 300 starts for new-look O-line. Remmers and Kevin Zeitler were two key offseason additions to shore up the right side of the offensive line. Now the Giants’ starting five offensive linemen (Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Zeitler and Remmers) have 302 regular-season starts combined. In the 2018 opener, that number was 192.

5. Zeke back with Dak. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who edged out Saquon Barkley by 127 yards last season for his second rushing title, ended a 40-day holdout just before the start of the regular season. Elliott and the Cowboys agreed to a six-year contract extension on Wednesday, which means the Giants will be seeing plenty of him in the foreseeable future behind quarterback Dak Prescott and one of the best offensive lines in the league.

6. Cooper brings a new element to Dallas. No matter how many touches Elliott gets on Sunday, Dallas still boasts plenty of Pro Bowlers on offense, including wide receiver Amari Cooper. Prescott averaged 274 passing yards per game over the final nine weeks of the 2018 regular season after Cooper joined the team. In his career, Prescott is 9-0 in the regular season when throwing for at least 274 yards, including road wins at the Giants in 2017 and 2018. He is 23-16 otherwise as a starter.

7. Saquon one of seven captains. In just his second season, Barkley has been voted a team captain. It came as no surprise after seeing his leadership displayed throughout the spring and summer practices. On offense, he is joined by quarterback Eli Manning, his 13th time being named a captain, and left tackle Nate Solder. Linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Antoine Bethea, who signed this offseason, are the defensive captains. Long snapper Zak DeOssie and safety Michael Thomas will lead special teams.

8. Shepard, Engram move into larger roles. Golden Tate has begun serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Even before then, fellow wide receiver Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram knew they would have more on their plates in 2019. The offense will look to put up where it left off last season, when it averaged 27.4 points per game in the second half of the year.

9. Putting the D in Big D. The Cowboys’ offensive stars get a lot of attention, but Rod Marinelli built their defense into a top-10 outfit last season. In 2018, the Cowboys ranked sixth in scoring and seventh in yards.

10. Eli’s Sweet 16. When Eli Manning takes his first snap on Sunday, he will become the first Giant to play 16 seasons with the franchise. Pro Football Hall of Famers Mel Hein and Michael Strahan and quarterback Phil Simms are the only other players to wear a Giants uniform for 15 seasons.

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