COMMENTARY | Sunday is a big day.
I'll be going to my first Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday. This will also be the first time I gaze upon the extreme monstrosity that is Cowbo... I mean, AT&T Stadium (I'm still not used to saying that). And I may be looking at that giant video board for a long period of time, but that's OK.
More importantly, will Sunday mark the first time the Cowboys beat the New York Giants at Jerry World?
Four games have been played between the bitter NFC East rivals in the $1-billion-plus stadium. Every game has come down to the final plays. But the Giants are 4-0 there. That doesn't scream homefield advantage.
The last time these two hooked up in Arlington, Dez Bryant's fingers were the difference in the Cowboys losing 29-24. The way the first half was going, the score could've very well been 59-24.
Every division matchup, especially in the NFC East, is important. Dallas plays its first regular season game under Monte Kiffin's 4-3 defense, which played well in the preseason.
There's reason to be excited for the Cowboys heading into Week 1. Starters on both sides of the ball played well all August. Take preseason results with a grain of salt, if you wish.
Tony Romo didn't throw a single interception and was only sacked three times in the three preseason games he played. He delivered more velocity in his passes than ever before, and officially declared Dez Bryant as his favorite target heading into Sunday.
Speaking of Bryant, he caught 13 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns in three games, averaging 14 yards per catch. Romo has given his complete confidence in Bryant to make big plays in open space. That's a good sign for Romo, who doesn't seem to be hesitant to throw Bryant the ball anymore like when he was a rookie.
Cue the Hallelujah chorus.
Defensively, there comes good and bad news. The good news is, the defensive starters held Arizona, Oakland and Cincinnati to under 10 points in the first half each game. Bad news? Only one sack on a team's starting quarterback ... Which was Matt Flynn against Oakland, but he's not the starter anymore.
Ironic, isn't it? OK, maybe not.
Preseason treated the Giants horribly. Eli Manning struggled to complete 50 percent of his passes in all but one game ... against the New England Patriots' second-string defense. If Manning is struggling, the whole team is. But as long as Manning has both Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks to throw the ball to, he'll be fine.
Running back David Wilson was the sparkplug New York's offense needed. Now the featured back with Ahmad Bradshaw gone, Wilson averaged eight yards per carry in the preseason, highlighted by a five-carry, 92-yard performance against the Jets that included an 84-yard touchdown.
Defense has been a problem for the Giants at the most crucial of times. Now with Osi Umenyiora gone, New York's pass rush is led by Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. The good news for the Cowboys is Pierre-Paul is listed as questionable. That could help if Romo throws a pick-six like this again.
That secondary will also be tested against Bryant and Miles Austin, who also had a decent preseason. Third-round pick Terrance Williams could share reps with Dwayne Harris in the slot to begin the game.
Dallas will be without Anthony Spencer on Sunday, and probably even longer than that. Dallas will more than likely go with George Selvie, a rarely-used defensive end who will get his first career start after dominating in preseason.
Selvie only had three sacks in four career years. He had three sacks all of preseason.
Defense could be the factor yet again, but that all hinders on both secondaries: If New York's corners can hang with Austin and Bryant, and if Dallas' safeties can stay with New York's playmakers at the top of the defense.
Both offenses are going to score points, that's a given. But which quarterback is going to make the fewest mistakes? This is a big year for both Manning and Romo, who need to step up their play towards the end of the year if they wish to drop Washington from the top of the division.
Very simple: If Romo doesn't throw four interceptions like he did last year in Dallas, the Cowboys will win. If New York's receivers have their way with Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, New York will win. Dallas' defense is primed to do big things this year.
Romo will have a big game, get the Cowboys into the win column and begin a season of heaping expectations in Dallas.
Danny Webster is a featured columnist for the Dallas Cowboys. You can reach him by going on Twitter and following @DannyWebster21.
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