Free Opening Night Pick - Cowboys at Giants
Old Man Winner - 09/04/2012

Yes, I know the game is on Wednesday, but we are going to supply a pick for all the Thursday night games this year and this is our first installment. Think "Monday Night Football" that you were watching on Thursday or Friday this pre-season! What? You weren't watching? Don't worry - we were and we've got you covered! Here we go and good luck to you on another successful NFL season!

Wednesday Night Pick

We all know you cannot put too much credence on how teams played in the pre-season. However, you can pick up some tidbits here and there like who is likely to start, who is entering the season with injuries or just coming off injuries, and how the offensive and defensive lines may gel.

That said, here are my takeaways from both the offseason and the pre-season.

Let's start with Dallas. Their defense should be improved. There line play was good last year both against the run (7th in the league) and rushing the passer (7th in the league). However, they were pretty awful in the secondary (23rd in the league against the pass). They spent a significant amount of both money and draft capital to improve their corners. If Morris Claiborne, who they traded up to take with the 6th pick in the first round of the draft, along with Brandon Carr, who was their marquee free agent signing via KC, can solidify their secondary, then the Cowboys should have a pretty solid defense this year.

On the other side of the ball, however, things look to be sliding in the wrong direction. The offensive line looked absolutely putrid in the pre-season and Romo, in the limited snaps he took, looked like he was running for his life - and that is in the pre-season when teams normally do not show all their blitz packages. We also know that Romo is fairly injury prone and I do not see him making it through the year without missing at least a few games. DeMarcus Murray was a nice surprise last year and projects to have a nice season, but he is coming off a wrist injury. Romo's receiving targets are a mess. Romo's "Binky", Jason Witten, ruptured his spleen and is doubtful for the game this week. Miles Austin has struggled with hamstring issues all pre-season, a constant, nagging issue with him. And Dez Bryant has had knee issues, not to even mention his off-the-field issues.

The Giants defensive line could very well be the best in the league. Deep, deep, deep - they just keep bringing the heat with fresh rotating linemen. Last year they lost a lot of games to injury on that line. It was only late in the year when they got all their players back and we all saw what happened after that! However, big injuries in the secondary, with both projected pre-season starters out for this game, could create big issues if Austin and Bryant are actually healthy. LB Michael Boley is projected to play, which should help stabilize the middle of the field.

Offensively the Giants should be fairly stable as compared to last year - a very good passing team (5th in the league last year) and a rushing game that can't get any worse (last). The line has gotten younger and should prove to be a little better than last year.

Wednesday night I see the defensive lines owning the night. Both teams should get significant pressure and I don't see either rushing attack contributing much. Look for some big pass plays, but an overall lower scoring game.

If someone were twisting my arm, I'd lay the points, but I much prefer the UNDER to get the season started profitably.

NYG 23 Dal 16
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