There’s a blue-blood matchup on tap for the first Sunday Night Football game of 2023, one that pits two NFC East combatants against each other with the chance to set the tone for the remaining 16 weeks of the season. The Dallas Cowboys are tricky 3.5-point road favorites facing the New York Giants under the lights at MetLife Stadium.
Dallas has had the upper hand for several years when these familiar opponents have met. They’ve won four straight in the series and 11 of 12 dating back to the start of the 2017 season, a time when Dez Bryant was the team’s leading receiver.
Both of last year’s matchups were one-score games when the final whistle sounded, although their final meeting involved a backdoor cover where the Giants scored a touchdown with eight seconds to go. Dallas was favored by ten at home in that SVP-worthy bad beat for Cowboys’ backers.
The Giants were outgained by 185 yards during these matchups in 2022 and struggled to keep up with a ferocious Cowboys pass rush. Dallas sacked New York QBs eight times last season, while the G-Men couldn’t manage one in retaliation.
Dallas averaged 6.3 yards per play across the two games compared to New York’s 5.4 mark. Both teams ran the ball effectively, combining for 602 yards and five scores on 115 attempts.
The major disparity was how many times Dallas ran the ball, given that they played with a lead for the majority of game time. Their 69 rushes dwarfed the Giants' 46 carries, while New York attempted more passes (72-to-61) in a consistent effort to claw back into contention.
We’ve finalized our prop plays for Sunday’s nighttime opener and present those picks and the logic behind them next.
Lamb saw 23 targets against New York in 2022, so we’ve established that his baseline of opportunities meets the need for a total like this. Lamb hauled in 14 of those throws, including a catch of 25+ yards in each game.
We mentioned that the Giants had to handle an onslaught of rushing attempts from the Cowboys while Dallas was trying to preserve leads and shrink games last season.
Without the ability to lean on both Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard, it’s not clear they’ll be able to repeat that game plan, especially when the Giants have been prepping for this game for weeks, if not months.
Expect Dak to look Lamb’s way in the neighborhood of ten times or more on Sunday night, and we trust the two-time Pro-Bowler to cash this play.
Jones threw one combined touchdown in the Giants’ two losses to the Cowboys last year, and he’ll need to be more effective as a passer to prevent further sacks and pressures from ruining drives.
New York has two young, talented tackles, and their offensive line experienced their second offseason together except for a rookie center. That last part does cause some worry, but the extra prep for a Week 1 matchup should offset some of the first-year mistakes that otherwise get made early in the season.
There’s no doubt that the Dallas defense will apply pressure to disrupt Jones, but we think he’ll be able to rely on the big boys up front for extra time in the pocket that paves the way for multiple touchdown passes.