With all of the latest Ezekiel Elliott suspension updates in the news, it barely feels like the Dallas Cowboys will take the field – with Elliott – in just three days to kickoff the 2017 season at home against the New York Giants. Meeting their NFC East rivals in week one for the third consecutive year, these two teams with high hopes will indeed put on a show Sunday night, with fresh faces all over the field. Perhaps most notably, the Cowboys will throw their young secondary into the fire against Ben McAdoo and the Giants' passing game, with the New York HC far from impressed at the turnover Dallas experienced at CB and S.
Ben McAdoo quips that the Cowboys' secondary looks different in 2017. "If you know who's playing corner for them, you can let me know."
— David Helman (@davidhelman_) September 6, 2017
It is no secret that the Giants were the lone thorn in the side of the 2016 Cowboys through the regular season, as they won both meetings by a combined four points thanks in large part to a revamped defense built through free agency.
The Cowboys chose to revamp their secondary for 2017 through the draft, letting Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox walk in free agency. Second round pick CB Chidobe Awuzie and sixth round S Xavier Woods will be expected to make immediate impacts in replacing these veteran starters, as second-year CB Anthony Brown, FA acquisition Nolan Carroll, and veteran Orlando Scandrick will attempt to provide stability in transition at the position.
Regardless the state of the Cowboys' defense, they have done well to contain Eli Manning and the Giants over the past seasons. Two of the Giants' worst three passing performances by total yards gained over the last two seasons have come against the Cowboys .
Star NY receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has only reached 100 yards against the Cowboys once in his career, doing so back in 2014. His status for Sunday Night Football remains uncertain after he missed yet another practice on Wednesday.
#NYGiants Injury Report
Did Not Practice:
WR Odell Beckham (Ankle)
LB Keenan Robinson (Concussion)
— New York Giants (@Giants) September 6, 2017
Cowboys Nation should be excited about having some real, meaningful football to dig into soon. The prospect of a young defensive backfield that will play with an added emphasis for getting to the football is an exciting one, as everyone from the rookies like Awuzie to “veterans” like Byron Jones should only improve as the season goes on.
The Giants will be a formidable test as always though, and just as Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott forced the world to take notice of them as rookies for America's Team a year ago, there are Cowboys defenders looking to do the same come Sunday. They can start by introducing themselves to Ben McAdoo at AT&T Stadium.