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New NFL season … start fresh … compete against your friends for points and prizes:
NFL Fan Rewards. Earn coins and points during the entire 2013-2014 NFL season.
The Dallas Cowboys open the 2013-2014 season against an old and familiar nemesis, the New York Giants. Dallas had a busy off-season, overturning its coaching staff, giving quarterback Tony Romo a contract extension, reshuffling its offensive line and switching play-callers. All in hopes of getting the Dallas Cowboys over the hump of consecutive 8-8 seasons.
Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys’ keys to victory:
Invade the backfield
Eli Manning has his share of success against the Cowboys in the past. But in 2012 his stat line and 77.6 passer rating against Dallas were fairly pedestrian, in part, because the Cowboys’ defense was able to apply pressure – sacking him four times. The Giants’ line has been weakened by injuries to center David Baas and right tackle David Diehl. That will affect a team that had the fewest negative plays in the NFL last season. The Cowboys’ patchwork defensive front needs to take advantage.
When the Cowboys dumped defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and replaced him with Monte Kiffin, they made it known that the move was born out of the desire to force more turnovers. Last season, the Cowboys generated 16 takeaways. Only three teams had fewer. Dallas’ defense has spent the preseason trying to create more game-changing plays. They need to be opportunistic against the Giants, who coughed up the football 21 times last season and had the ninth-fewest giveaways.
Jump out to fast start
Last season, the Cowboys’ offense procrastinated, waiting until a decent chunk of time had expired before kicking into high gear. Only three teams scored fewer points in the first halves of games in 2012 than the Cowboys, who were notorious slow starters. Case example was a loss to the Giants last October, when Dallas trailed 23-0 early in the second quarter before staging a furious comeback that ultimately fell short. On Sunday, the Cowboys will have to get on track early against the Giants.
Get running game going
The Cowboys spent the off-season and training camp trying to resuscitate a running game that was historically bad in 2012, when Dallas rushed for 1,265 yards – a franchise low for a 16-game season. The Cowboys have installed zone-blocking schemes and stretch plays designed to boost the ground attack. Tailback DeMarco Murray is confident the changes will help as he tries to bounce back from a disappointing season. He’ll find out Sunday while facing the team that was the opponent in the last game he accumulated 100 or more rushing yards.
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards
View NFL|Dallas Cowboys game stats and scores online while you watch or listen to the game.
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Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)
When: Sunday, September 8th, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. (Dallas time)
Where: AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium), Arlington, Texas
Watch on TV: NBC’s Sunday Night Football; check local listings
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Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last season, the predictor disappeared for several weeks. While the exact age of The Great Robbini is unknown, it’s widely believed that he was experiencing some kind of midlife crisis.
It has been a very productive offseason. As promised, it became ‘uncomfortable’ for last years Dallas Cowboys. Jason Garrett delegated offensive play-calling duties to Callahan, new defensive coaches and scheme (the Texas 2 defense), more gameday planning from quarterback Tony Romo, and Cowboys Stadium has been renamed. Jerry Jones is younger, Stephen Jones has secret sauce, and Jay Ratliff isn’t playing (ooooh, that’s the same). The Great Robbini is geeked! He has tuned his crystal ball directly to the AT&T network! We expect that his apparatus is beaming signals loud and clear!
The GREAT Robbini is psyched about the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys incoming vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. I’m sure you’ll agree … a lot of these will come true. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys week #1 predictions:
Cowboys roll over the Giants! Dallas Cowboys start it off right in newly named AT&T Stadium.
It seems that “in the Garrett era” that consistently, the top division rival has been the uhhhh …New Jersey Giants. Mostly for the way they’ve taken a W out of the past four Cowboys Stadium contests. Usually a close game leaving bitterness in the mouths of us all. This time around the ‘Boys take Eli & Co. out in an execution style massacre in Arlington.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 4 sacks on Eli Manning
Sean Lee forced fumble
JJ Wilcox INT
DeMarcus Ware 2 sacks
Victor Cruz Injured
Bruce Carter/Barry Church lead tackles
Predictions for the offense …
- Tony Romo 3 TDs
Dez Bryant 2 TDs
Gavin Escobar TD
DeMarco Murray TD
RB committee 130 yds. +
Dan Bailey 2 FGs
Miles Austin 60 yds.
Dez Bryant 100 yds.
Cole Beasley 30 yds.
Terrence Williams 30 yds.
Jason Witten 45 yds.
Gavin Escobar 25 yds.
Tony Romo sacked twice
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for week #1. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Texas Country chart-toppers and CMT superstars Whiskey Myers will perform a pregame concert at the East Plaza before kickoff.
WHAT: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
WHEN: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. (Dallas)
WHERE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
It has been seven long weeks since the Dallas Cowboys first reported to training camp, but the regular season is finally here. The Cowboys open the 2013-2014 season on Sunday Night Football against the division-rival New York Giants, who they are 6-0 against on opening day.
Here are some things to look for as the Cowboys kick off their latest campaign:
Country music icon George Strait will be on hand Sunday night as an he joins the Dallas Cowboys as an honorary team captain for the game’s coin toss. This is Strait’s second trip to AT&T Stadium – he performed there in 2009 as the first event to be hosted at the venue.
Following the game, Strait is expected to hold a press conference regarding his 2014 The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.
New Bag Policy
Fans are reminded to remember the NFL’s new bag policy, which will be in effect Sunday night and at every Dallas Cowboys home game this season.
Only hand-held purses will be allowed into the stadium, along with clear plastic tote bags that do not exceed 12”x6”x12” inches.
Items such as backpacks, coolers, large purses, camera bags, diaper bags, fanny packs and seat cushions are not allowed into the stadium under the new NFL safety rules.
When To Get There?
AT&T Stadium opens at 5 p.m. (CDT)
Plaza opens at 4 p.m.
Parking lots at 3 p.m.
Party On the Plazas
More than just the Cowboys-Giants game on the field, there is plenty of entertainment for the fans before, during and after the game.
Rhythm & Blues Dance Team, Rhythm & Blues Drum Line and Rhythm & Blues Break Boys will each perform on both East & West plaza before the game.
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will split their squad and half and give performances in both the East and West Plazas at about 6:25 p.m.
Cowboys Cuties, a collection of local youth dance kids from the Dallas-Fort Worth area will perform in the West Plaza before kickoff.
In the Kids Zone, free games and activities such as a rock-climbing wall, mechanical bull, face painting, balloon animals, trampolines and Play 60 Games are featured.
East Plaza Food & Beverage discounts include: $5 Miller Lite until 5:30 p.m., $2 12 oz. bottled water and soda and discounted hot dogs, burgers and sausages.
This is the 103rd meeting between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. Dallas leads the series, 57-43-2, though New York has won three of the last four matchups.
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC) will do their normal routine approximately 20 minutes before kickoffs. Trumpeter Freddie Jones will perform the national anthem this week and at every Cowboys home game this year. Jones will be honoring longtime Texas Stadium trumpeter Tommy Lloyd.
At halftime, the TCU marching band will perform a rock and roll inspired set.
DCC Performance – 1 performance in the East Plaza around 5:45 PM
R&B Dance Team – 2 performances in the East Plaza and 1 performance in the west plaza
R&B Drum Line – 1 performance in the East and 1 performance in the West
R&B Break Boys – 1 performance in the East and 1 performance in the West
Cowboys Cuties – 4 performances in the West Plaza – a collection of local youth dance kids from the Dallas-Ft.Worth Metroplex
Kids Zone – mechanical bull, rock climbing wall, Play 60 games, face painting, balloon animals, trampoline
$5 Miller Lite on the plazas until 5:30 p.m.
Parking Lot Patrol – 50 members will be distributed in the parking lots greeting fans and starting rally chants, giving away small items to super fans.
Looking For 20 or more
All season long, Cowboys fans attending home games will be hoping for at least 20 points. This year, Papa John’s has partnered with the Cowboys for the ultimate fan promotion. Any game in which the Cowboys get at least 20 points, all fans in attendance will get 50 percent off their entire order the following day at papajohns.com with promo code COWBOYS20. Offer valid for regular-priced menu items and only at participating stores.
About The Game
A win against the New York Giants would give the Dallas Cowboys consecutive opening day victories since 2008-09.
Sunday is the first time since 2007 the Cowboys are opening their season at home, making this the first Week 1 opener at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys are 15-7-1 all-time in season openers played at home.
Cowboys linebacker Kyle Bosworth was a member of the Giants a week ago. Bosworth was released by New York last weekend when NFL teams cut their rosters to 53 spots. The Cowboys claimed Bosworth off waivers just a day later to help with their special teams.
Dallas leads the NFL in appearances on Sunday Night Football with 46 – the Giants are second with 41. The Cowboys are 21-25 all-time in those appearances. No team has more wins than Dallas’ 21 – Green Bay is tied with the Cowboys for first.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: New York Giants undefeated at Cowboys Stadium; New era begins today at AT&T Stadium
The Giants are 4-0 at Cowboys Stadium. They know that. The Cowboys know that.
It’s not a pretty stat.
Some Cowboys players look at it in the face and stare back. Some ignore it.
But just about everyone interviewed this week was asked about it. Here are some of the reactions from the week at Valley Ranch:
Dez Bryant: “You just brought it back to my attention. That’s in the past to me. It’s what’s going to go down on Sunday, that’s what we’re looking forward to. All that stuff about them being undefeated in the past, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about Sunday, and we can’t wait.”
DeMarco Murray: “Are they? I don’t know. Maybe they like it here. We definitely got to make sure we change that around a little bit.”
DeMarcus Ware: “I look at it as it’s time to have a turnaround. They’ve won every game here at our stadium. It’s all about image, how you want to build your image in that first game. Why not go out there and have a good game against a great team?”
Jason Witten: “Obviously you get upset about that. It’s disappointing more than anything, just that division opponents handled you that way. But every year is different, and so the games, when you look at them, they all came up different ways. I don’t think you can allow that to affect you. Regardless of where we’re playing, this is a big game.”
Jason Hatcher: “You want to protect your house. You don’t want nobody to come in here and kick your butt in your own house. But at the same time, we’ve got to go out there and play great football. We be the team we’re supposed to be and play like we’re supposed to be, doing what we did in training camp, Sunday’s game, we’ll come out with a win. We can’t just forget about what we did in training camp, how hard we worked, and go out there and play like crap, like we did the last couple years. That ain’t going to get it.”
Tony Romo: “Obviously, they’ve done a good job recently playing at the stadium. More than anything, we need to make sure that we create a home-field advantage. Our fans have done a great job. We need them to be at their best on Sunday night. When they are, they’re very tough to deal with here in Dallas. I expect them to be like that on Sunday, and I think that will help us gain a big advantage if we get that.”
Orlando Scandrick: “They only played in it what, three times? Yeah, I mean we need to go out and protect our home turf. I mean, people got to feel like when they come to Dallas to play it’s going to be a tough environment, that these guys play hard at home, that they play hard all the time.”
Jason Garrett: “The Giants are a good football team. We have had some great games with them and we’ve gone out there and played some great games with them. They have come down here and played some great games. They always seem to be close. They are always competitive. It’s an outstanding organization. It’s been a great organization for a long time. Their head coach is outstanding. He is a Hall of Fame coach. And they’ve got a lot of really, really good football players. So regardless of where you play them, it’s going to be a great challenge. We have great battles with them in both stadiums.”
And, the Giants, too, were asked about it in a conference call with DFW reporters …
Tom Coughlin: “Well, both teams play extremely hard. We’ve been fortunate enough to win them at the end.”
Eli Manning: “I don’t think there’s anything to it. We’ve had some tight games. Last year, literally a game of inches where the receiver had a pinkie out of bounds on the last play. A few years before that, we’re down 12 with five minutes and fought back for a win. There’s just been some games over the years, and so hopefully we can just find a way to hang in there and put ourselves in a situation to win the game at the end.”