It's finally time for the real games to begin. And it starts with the Giants taking on the Cowboys in the NFL's traditional kickoff game — this time on a Wednesday night.
Three things to watch for
1. An aerial display is a possibility
Both teams head into the opener with question marks in their secondary.
The Cowboys’ back four were among the worst last season, which led to their overhaul. Dallas made offseason news by signing former Chiefs corner Brandon Carr and also made a draft-day trade to select former LSU star corner Morris Claiborne.
The Giants, meanwhile, have their own problems. Terrell Thomas (ACL), is on injured reserve for the second-straight season and his backup, Prince Amukamara, is out with a high-ankle sprain. Veteran Michael Coe will start opposite Corey Webster, but although he’s played in 27 games, Coe has never started and will be a target of Tony Romo.
“I’m not going to be oblivious to that fact,” Coe said. “I know a team like Dallas, and Romo, and I’m sure they’ll look my way more often than not. I’ll be prepared for that.”
2. Will Hakeem Nicks be the same impact player?
Head coach Tom Coughlin said he “thinks [Hakeem Nicks] will play” but if you ask Nicks, who still has some soreness in his surgically repaired foot, he has “no doubt” he will be on the field.
But how effective will he be? The wideout has had little work since breaking his foot on May 24 and spent most of training camp on the physically unable-to-perform list. He only began practicing on Aug. 20 and played in the final preseason game last week against the Patriots, catching just one pass for six yards.
Nicks said he thinks naysayers will be surprised at his conditioning and readiness to contribute.
“I just wanted to get my feet back under me a little bit,” Nicks said of the final preseason game. “I got about 10 plays in. I just wanted to see how I was feeling back on the [stadium] turf, instead of being out here on the [practice field] grass. I got the feel of it, knowing what to expect. This game, I should see about 60 plays instead of 10.”
3. Will Dallas miss Bennett now that he’s gone?
Newest Giants’ tight end — and former Cowboy — Martellus Bennett insists that playing against his former team won’t fuel him more than usual, but was quick to acknowledge the irony of his situation.
“It is kind of ironic, because [Cowboys tight end Jason] Witten is a guy who never missed a game or practice when I was there,” Bennett said. “So the day when I’m not there, he may be out for the first game, which is very ironic.”
While Witten tallied 348 receptions for 3,926 yards and 20 touchdowns,
Bennett only mustered 85 receptions for 846 yards and four scores.
Wednesday night will be Bennett’s time to show his former employer what
“This week is not really about me going against the Cowboys, it’s more so the Giants. [But] I am super excited about the chance to go out there and be the guy and show the world what I’ve been capable of. It’s been a long time coming to show who I am and I’m player I’ve always been but never got a chance to show. … I definitely want to kick [butt].”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.