(Jason Pierre-Paul & Justin Tuck are the league's best pairing of defensive ends - dominating)
The Giants are the reigning champions & deservedly so after overcoming some of the best teams in football in the playoffs, first of all taking down the poor travelling Atlanta Falcons at home then taking down the Packers' high powered offense & the 49er's mean defense on the road before besting the Patriots in the Super Bowl. It was certainly an impressive finish to the season for the Giants but they hadn't even looked like making the post season a couple of weeks before & had to beat their rivals here, the Dallas Cowboys, in their final game in order to win the NFC East. The Cowboys are becoming notorious for failing when it comes to December & should prove a tougher opposition at this stage of the season particularly as the Giants may only have Victor Cruz as an established & fit receiver to aim for. Now there are certainly worse targets for Eli Manning to have to pass to but with Hakeem Nicks having missed preseason & slightly doubtful here & Mario Manningham traded away an awful lot will fall on Cruz's shoulders, he could do it but the Cowboys have improved their secondary in the off-season & may double cover Cruz.
(It's worth chancing that WR Dwayne Harris can emerge as a first teamer for the Cowboys)
The Cowboys have brought in Brandon Carr from Kansas City at cornerback on a big money deal & also traded up in the draft to take the exciting Morris Claiborne at cornerback too & it was good to see the team recognise their weakness as they gave up too many big passing plays in 2011. The Cowboys have problems of their own at receiver with Dez Bryant in trouble with law in the off-season & Jason Witten is coming back after a lacerated spleen suffered in pre-season. That means that Dwayne Harris, a virtual unknown on the side who gained no receptions in his rookie year may get his chance after gaining 3 touchdowns in preseason (the only Cowboy to get a receiving TD), he looks certain to line up at least. The Cowboys can run the ball but it's rare that they get rushing touchdowns, gaining just 5 last season compared to 33 passing scores & in this game they won't have to deal with the Giants' star cornerback in Prince Amukamara who looks to miss out with injury. Harris is basically being underrated here, he'll be feeling confident & odds of 28/1 for him to score the first TD & 5/1 to score at anytime are huge.
Both sides have excellent pass rushes & we're looking forwards to seeing Justin Tuck & Jason Pierre-Paul for the Giants & maybe the league's best defensive player in DeMarcus Ware for the Cowboys - they will all be looking to sack the quaretrback & it could be a worrying evening for Manning & Romo. The Giants ranked outright last in the running game last year & with the Cowboys improving in their secondary we can see them sending everything at Eli Manning, the Giants were only average until their outstanding run in last season & it may be worth going with the Cowboys on the handicap as they get a 4 point head start. The Cowboys have DeMarco Murray coming back in at running back after injury in week 14 last season, he had an excellent rookie season once breaking in as number one & the Cowboys looked a better & less predictable outfit with him in the side.
Dwayne Harris to score 1st Touchdown at 28/1 & to score at anytime at 5/1 (Bet365)
Dallas Cowboys to win with +4 point head start at 10/11 (general)