The Dallas Cowboys are now just a little over 24 hours away from kicking off their 2016 season against the division rival New York Giants.
I don’t know about you, but watching the Denver Broncos narrowly escape the Carolina Panthers Thursday night really has me excited to finally see the Cowboys in action once again.
If you happened to watch the the game Thursday night and how it came down to the final seconds, I think you are fully prepared for what we will see between the Cowboys and Giants Sunday afternoon.
The Dallas Cowboys have won five out of the last six meetings with the Giants, but if they want to continue that streak they will need some of their players to have really good individual games.
Below are the Cowboys players that I think need to have big games against the New York Giants Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.
Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott
Okay, I cheated a little here and decided to put Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott together. My reasoning is that both players really need to have a big game against the New York Giants Sunday afternoon in order for the Dallas Cowboys to come away with a victory.
There are no two skill players on offense that touch the ball as much as the quarterback and running back, thus the need for them both to show up.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to put up huge statistical numbers. They just need to do their jobs and not make any rookie mental mistakes.
There is a lot of optimism heading into the 2016 season by Dallas Cowboys fans (myself included) and I believe it’s because of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Of course, there are others whose opinions might carry more weight than mine and they also believe Cowboys fans have a reason to be excited as a well.
They may both be rookies, but the Cowboys have reasons to be excited about their new backfield. https://t.co/fXZEdcQBby
I personally think it would be wise for the Cowboys coaching staff to get Dez Bryant the ball early and often in this game. I think that would set the tone and let the Giants know that he is back to 100%, because we all know that Bryant is the emotional and inspirational leader for the team.
Some people believe being successful in the running game opens up the passing game, but I personally think that it works both ways.
On any given play opposing defenses have to account for Bryant wherever he is on the field. If he is able to force the Giants into double covering him, then that results one less defender they can put in the box to stop the running game.
Like I mentioned with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, Bryant doesn’t need to necessarily show up big in the stat sheets. He just needs to make his presence felt on the field to keep the Giants defense honest.
Without a doubt the Dallas Cowboys best defensive player is Sean Lee when he is able to stay healthy. He is one player that needs to show up in the stat sheets by having a big game.
He was moved to the weak side linebacker position to help keep him healthy and give him the opportunity to use his instincts and playmaking ability. It’s those instincts and playmaking ability that need to show up against the Giants.
In all honesty, I think Sean Lee could very well have double digit tackles and a good chance of creating a turnover or two.
The Cowboys defense can use all the turnovers they can get and I think Sean Lee gives them the best chance of doing just that.
The Dallas Cowboys have Jack Crawford and Benson Mayowa listed as their starters at defensive end, but it’s David Irving that I think needs to have a big game.
Irving was one of the best defensive players for the Cowboys last season. All he did was make plays when he was given the opportunity and should do so again in 2016 now that he is expected to have an expanded role.
Whether he is lined up at defensive tackle or defensive end doesn’t really matter. He is a mismatch problem for opposing offensive lineman because of his ability to get off the ball quickly and use his 6’7″ frame to his advantage.
I fully expect to see defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli use David Irving up and down the defensive line Sunday afternoon against the Giants to wreak havoc on the Eli Manning led Giants offense.
Don’t be surprised if David Irving’s name is mentioned often because I think he will be making positive plays all of the field against the New York Giants.
The Dallas Cowboys secondary has a tough test ahead of them trying to keep the New York Giants wide receivers in check.
Yeah I know, I cheated a little bit here too.
Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr, and Morris Claiborne are all linked together because identifying them as individuals would be unfair. They will likely all have their turn at covering each of the Giants WRs.
Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard can all create mismatch problems for the Cowboys secondary and this matchup could ultimately determine the outcome of the game.
Beckham has established himself as one of the best WRs in the NFL already. Cruz gave the Cowboys problems in the past and if 100% healthy could do so again. Shepard is an unknown in the NFL as a rookie, but for some reason he worries me the most.
The Dallas Cowboys secondary has to have a good game to help ensure a victory.
Do you agree or disagree that these players need big games?
Please feel free to take advantage of the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.