New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys on Week 1 of the NFL season is bordering on becoming a tradition. With this year’s version just a couple of days away, let’s see how Dallas fans are feeling about Sunday night. Dave Halprin of Blogging The Boys graciously answers our “Five Questions.”
Ed: Now that we know Ezekiel Elliott will play on Sunday can you summarize your thoughts on the Elliott suspension situation?
Dave: I'm not really going to judge what happened during the alleged incident, it's hard to know these things at such a distance. I will say that I think the NFL's process of working through discipline is still problematic and feels very uneven. The NFLPA gave away a lot of rights in the last CBA that they are now regretting, and I'm sure this will be a huge issue in the negotiations for the new CBA. We'll see what happens with Elliott's and the NFLPA's restraining order filing, a judge is supposed to rule on that Friday afternoon.
Ed: Which would surprise you more? If Odell Beckham did or did not play Sunday night?
Dave: At this point it would surprise me more if he played. He didn't practice on Wednesday and ankle injuries for skill position players are notoriously tricky. I'm sure the Giants would love to have him out there, but it's a long season and Beckham is going to be a key to success for New York. I would guess they are going to err on the side of caution. But it's hard for me to say, I haven't been following it too closely so I'm just guessing.
Ed: The Jaylon Smith comeback seems pretty remarkable. What are your thoughts on Smith as of now? How much impact do you think he can make?
Dave: His comeback is remarkable, there were definitely times that made you think he may not ever play again. But he was emphatic that he would come back and he did everything he needed to in rehabbing the injury, his will and work ethic are impressive. As for his play, it has been good so far. It hasn't been great like what you would have expected from him pre-injury, but he's a quality linebacker out there and he should only get better as he learns how to play with his current physical abilities. My guess is his impact will grow as the season goes on, they will likely spell him with Justin Durant for the immediate future so they won't overtax him since he's been out of football for a while. He might make a play or two, but it will probably be a while before he can really become an impact player.
Ed: You've gotten this question from me before, but here it is again. If you could pick one player off the Giants roster NOT NAMED ODELL BECKHAM and put him in the Cowboys lineup, who would it be? Why?
Dave: Jason Pierre-Paul or Olivier Vernon. I love Landon Collins' game, but the Cowboys need a stud pass rusher. Either of those would upgrade our defensive line and make the opposition do some game-planning for that player. I also wouldn't mind a few of the Giants' corners, but in the end the thing the Cowboys really need on defense is consistent pass rush.
Ed: Big picture question. How do you see the NFC East playing out this season? In the end, do you think the Giants or Eagles will be a bigger threat to Dallas in the division?
Dave: I think it will come down to the Cowboys and the Giants in the East. At this point I'm not a firm believer in the Eagles, they have potential but I would need to see it on the field first. I know the Cowboys and the Giants are quality teams, and I would expect them to battle down to the wire for the division.