Eli Manning and the defending champion New York Giants are ready to begin another season. Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants host the first Wednesday regular-season NFL game since 1948 tonight when they face the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Will the Cowboys "beat the Giants asses this season," as promised by owner Jerry Jones? Or, will the Giants keep knocking Dallas down, treating them like some sort of pesky little brother who can be annoying but keeps coming up short in the end?
Wednesday night we begin finding out.
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC -- Al Michaels, play-by-play; Cris Collinsworth, commentary; Michele Tafoya, sideline
Radio: Giants radio network (WFAN -- 660 AM), with pre-game shows beginning at 7 p.m.
Odds: Giants -4
Giants: Prince Amukamara, CB (ankle, out); Marvin Austin, DT (back, out); James Brewer, OT (back, out); Michael Boley, LB (hamstring, questionable); Will Beatty, OT (back, questionable); Jayron Hosley, CB (turf toe, questionable); Hakeem Nicks, WR (foot, questionable).
Cowboys: Jay Ratliff, NT (ankle, out); Jason Witten, TE (abdomen, doubtful); Mike Jenkins, CB (shoulder, questionable).
WHAT TO WATCH
1. The Cowboys added free-agent Brandon Carr and first-round pick Morris Claiborne to their secondary. How will those two handle Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and the other Giants' receivers. Added intrigue there in finding out just how much like himself Nicks looks.
2. The tight end. It's a sideshow, sure, but how will Martellus Bennett perform against his former team? You know he saw Dallas coach Jason Garrett's comments about him being a "complementary" player, and you know this season for Bennett is about proving Garrett wrong. On the Dallas side, does Jason Witten play only a few weeks after suffering a lacerated spleen?
3. Who returns punts for the Giants? After a preseason filled with tryouts, and with no one really grabbing the job, that is anybody's guess.
4. Sean Locklear vs. DeMarcus Ware. If Will Beatty plays, which I doubt, I can't imagine him taking more than a handful of snaps. That leaves the veteran Locklear, a right tackle most of his career, matched up with Dallas' best player, DeMarcus Ware.
5. Can the Giants run the ball? Improving the worst rushing attack in the league in 2011 has been a focus ever since last season ended. Have the Giants actually made any progress? That's a good question.
"Our goal is just, as it is for all 31 teams in this league, is to win the World Championship and that’s where we go with this thing. We know that certainly another goal is to win the division, which puts you in position to be in the playoffs, but we don’t talk about anything other than that. It’s a new year. It’s a new season; we’re very excited about that. Our goal is exactly where it is. As is all 31 teams and that’s the way we present it to our team. We don’t talk about defending. We don’t talk about any of that stuff. We talk about being as good as we can possibly be, knowing full well we have a very, very difficult schedule to play but understanding that to get where we want to go, you’ve got to beat the very best and the very best are right on the schedule."
-- Giants coach Tom Coughlin
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