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Shaun O'Hara knows all about Cowboys rivalry


We've finally reached Week 1.

Kickoff Weekend is packed with thrilling matchups, including the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys facing off in the season opener for the seventh time since 2012.

Former Giants center and Super Bowl XLII champion Shaun O'Hara appeared Tuesday on the "Giants Huddle" podcast to preview Sunday night showdown, touching on the NFC East race, specific matchups, and the Giants' newcomers.

The Giants aim to start the season 1-0 for the second year in a row. However, their first game against their archrival will be important early on. The Cowboys have one of the best defenses in the league and will give the Giants a big test right out of the gate.

"This is a great way to open up the season," O'Hara said. "Anytime we could open Week 1 with Dallas, I'm all for it. Give me the juice. Give me all of the smoke. I want it all Week 1, and it's Sunday Night Football. I love the fact that it's at home. I love the fact that Giants fans get to experience this. I've played Dallas numerous times in Week 1, and it was always down in Dallas, so I like that aspect of it. … We beat them a couple of times and it was great, it was a great feeling to know already we got a division win and you beat one of your rivals, so I think it's a great way to start the season off.

"The Cowboys made some changes Kellen Moore is no longer the offensive coordinator and play caller, now Mike McCarthy is taking over the duties, but I like where the Giants' are right now year two of (Brian) Daboll being the head coach, year two of Mike Kafka and Daboll's offense and year two of (Wink) Martindale's defense, so I think this is a totally different team going into this year knowing what they are capable of now doing."

While the Giants prepare for the opener, O'Hara gave his take on key matchups for Sunday night.

"I think we are going to see an aerial assault," O'Hara said. "How do you help the defensive backs? Get pressure on the quarterback. Wink Martindale, we saw it all, he's going to bring some blitzes, he's going to bring some pressure, the safeties are going to be there. We will see opportunities in man coverage for Tre Hawkins III and for Deonte Banks. There is going to be chances to make plays whether it's an interception or pass break up. They are going to get those one-on-one moments. The biggest thing is to limit the big plays, as for Adoree' Jackson part of the reason why you move him into the slot corner aspect is because he is your best corner, but also when you look at the division, Dallas' CeeDee Lamb led the league in receiving yards from the slot last season and that's why you move Jackson around and I think that is going to be a fun matchup to watch."

As the defense will look to slow down the Cowboys' offense, the Giants are excited to watch as several newcomers will be ready to try an make an early impact.

"There is not a safety in the league that can cover Darren Waller one-on-one," O'Hara said. "It will be a great matchup to see how the Cowboys safeties, who may be without Donovan Wilson, fare. I think Jalin Hyatt is a mismatch. It will be interesting to see who goes with who in these matchups, but overall, I think Waller is definitely a mismatch in the Giants' favor. Defensively, Bobby Okereke, really looking forward to seeing his impact on this defense. Zeke Elliott is not there, but Tony Pollard is a very explosive runner, and I think Okereke, one thing he does really well is run sideline to sideline. It's almost like watching Brian Urlacher in terms of how much ground he can cover. When I see Okereke run and seeing his length, I think that will really help a lot in the run."

View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.


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