Week 1 NFL Pick: Giants vs. Cowboys Will Set NFC East Tone Early

David Lawrence

Saturday, August 22, 2015 11:39 AM GMT

Giants will fittingly begin their season at Dallas in Week 1 where they will have the opportunity to begin their road to redemption on the right track. Join us & find the best pick for this encounter.

The Dallas Cowboys proved the NFL experts wrong when they registered 12 wins and won the NFC East division in 2014. The New York Giants are hoping they can accomplish a similar fate in 2015. The Giants will have the perfect opportunity to begin their road to redemption on the right track in Dallas on Sunday Night Football in Week 1. The Cowboys won both games between these teams last season with 31 points the key number after they hit that mark in each of their two victories against their NFC East rival.

 

How Has The Betting Line Moved?
Open: Dallas -5.5
Current: Dallas -5.5

There hasn’t been much movement in this game as the bettors seem split with their NFL picks, and the line seems to be set properly. The Cowboys are at home and are the better team, but the line isn’t climbing because this is still an NFC East showdown of two rivals who know each other well.

3 Key Storylines
Manning Under Pressure To Perform: Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings but he really struggled in 2013 and despite bouncing back last year there has been some obvious question marks about where he ranks among NFL quarterbacks. Manning threw for 4,410 yards and 30 touchdowns last season and while he leads the NFL in turnovers since his last Super Bowl win he cut his interception totals down from 27 in 2013 to 14 last season and made much better decisions with the football. The Giants have some impressive offensive weapons at the skill positions including wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Reuben Randle and they added another pass-catching threat out of the backfield in running back Shane Vereen so big things are expected this season. Manning threw for nearly 600 yards and six touchdowns with just one interception in two starts against Dallas last season and the pressure will be on him to perform this season beginning with a crucial Week 1 showdown.

Cowboys Begin Life Without Murray: DeMarco Murray led the NFL in rushing last season when he ran for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns but he ended up signing with the rival Philadelphia Eagles in free agency and that forced the Cowboys to look elsewhere to fill a massive void. Dallas brought in free agent Darren McFadden to team with Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar but Randle is dealing with an oblique injury and McFadden missed his first 11 practices with a hamstring strain. The Cowboys return all five starters on a dominant defensive line but they are dealing with some major injury concerns in the backfield and that could make life without Murray that much more difficult early on beginning against New York.

Defending Expectations: The Dallas defense took a major step forward last season when a unit many predicted would be among the worst in the NFL finished 19th in total defense but the pressure will be on to avoid regressing this season beginning with a very tough test in Week 1 against a Giants offense that torched them last season. Meanwhile, New York underachieved when it ranked 29th in total defense last season and is under pressure to improve beginning against the Cowboys’ explosive offense. Both teams have key pieces that will need to step up in order to live up to their potential on that side of the football but it makes sense to temper expectations for Week 1 with the potential for some major offensive fireworks in this game.

Week 1 NFL Pick: Giants to Cover as Dogs vs. Cowboys

Bet Early Or Bet Later…. And What’s The Play?
The NFL Odds for this game likely won’t move much barring a major preseason injury to either team. The Giants lost by 10 in Dallas last year in Week 7 but a lot has changed since then including the Cowboys losing the NFL’s leading rusher and New York reloading on offense where expectations will be high this season. The Giants understand how important these divisional matchups will be if they are going to improve in the NFC East this season and there is no denying that at least on paper the gap has closed between these two teams. There is no guarantee New York opens the season with a big road win against a division rival on Sunday Night Football but the Giants have improved enough that it isn’t unlikely they win this game or at the very least cover the 5.5-point betting line.

NFL Pick: New York +5.5 at BetOnline