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(AP) -- The Dallas Cowboys are looking to become the first team in 11 seasons to repeat as NFC East champions, though they are treating last year as a long time ago.

 

The New York Giants' glory days are becoming a distant memory too after a second straight losing season preceded an offseason that added to their question marks.

 

The Cowboys are enjoying the longest win streak by either team in this division rivalry since the early 1990s with four straight victories as they get ready to host the Giants on Sunday night.

 

Expectations were low for Dallas (12-4) last year after three straight 8-8 seasons. Yet the Cowboys rode NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray along with Tony Romo and his league-best passer rating of 113.2 to the East title for the first time in five years. Dallas lost at Green Bay in a divisional playoff game.

 

Dallas insists that past success won't have anything to do with this year. No NFC East team has repeated since Philadelphia won four in a row from 2001-04.

 

"We start from ground zero and that's a point that we've tried to make for our football team right from the start and I think they understood that way back in April and probably before that, that 2014 is done with and we need to focus on being the best version of the Dallas Cowboys we can be in 2015," coach Jason Garrett said.

 

Murray is gone to the Eagles, so the Cowboys will employ a running back committee that includes newcomers Darren McFadden and Christine Michael as well as holdovers Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar.

 

Romo will try to build on a season in which his 34 touchdown passes were two shy of his career best. He will once again target Dez Bryant, who signed a five-year, $70 million deal in the offseason after leading the NFL with 16 TD receptions a year ago.

 

Even without Murray, the Cowboys do not expect a drop-off in a rushing attack that ranked second in the league with 147.1 yards per game.

 

"I think we're always at our best when we can attack defenses different ways and that starts with the run and the pass," Garrett said. "I think we've made a concerted effort in our organization to be stronger and better on our offensive line."

 

A fifth consecutive victory over New York would give Dallas its longest run in the series since the Cowboys took five straight between 1992-94.

 

The Giants' four defeats have come during their first back-to-back losing seasons under coach Tom Coughlin, who is entering his 12th year with him and general manager Jerry Reese clearly under scrutiny.

 

A difficult offseason saw starting left tackle Will Beatty tear a pectoral muscle in May that has put his entire season in doubt.

 

Even worse news came when two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul injured his right hand in a fireworks accident on the July Fourth holiday. Pierre-Paul finally met this week with the Giants, who aren't sure when he can return.

 

In addition, star receiver Victor Cruz is not ready to come back from surgery on a torn patellar tendon suffered Oct. 12.

 

"We have a few things, obviously, that need to be ironed out and need to be clarified," Coughlin said. "Hopefully that's what will happen right here."

 

One constant is Eli Manning, who recovered from a dismal 2013 to throw for 30 touchdowns with 14 interceptions under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. He needs 245 yards to become the 15th in history to throw for 40,000.

 

He only had 12 games to work with Odell Beckham Jr., who electrified the NFL with 1,305 receiving yards and 12 TD catches after missing the first four games of his rookie season with a hamstring injury.

 

Beckham caught four touchdowns against the Cowboys, with a 10-reception, two-TD, 146-yard effort the last time these teams met Nov. 23 in a 31-28 defeat. That included an astounding one-handed grab over Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr for a 43-yard score that set social media abuzz.

 

"I've seen it a few times, enough to learn from it," Carr said.

 

The state of the offensive line remains a concern, though New York appears to have drafted a major talent in the first round in tackle Ereck Flowers. The Giants had the league's fourth-worst rushing attack two seasons ago and ranked 23rd last year.

 

The 2014 defense also finished fourth-worst in the league by allowing 395.3 yards per game. That resulted in coordinator Perry Fewell being replaced by Steve Spagnuolo, who guided the defense during its glory days in 2007-08.

 

Dallas also has issues on that side of the ball as defensive end Greg Hardy (domestic violence case) and linebacker Rolando McClain (substance abuse violation) will miss the first four games on suspensions. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick was lost to a season-ending knee injury.

 

Still, the Cowboys appear to have fewer holes than a Giants team that has dropped four straight openers - two to Dallas.

 

"I think it's good to start in the division," Manning said. "And Sunday night, it should be a great environment."

 

Source: Hosted.Stats.com

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I like this game being the Sunday nighter on opening week. OBJ being on the Giants makes it at least a decent matchup, and should be high scoring with the receiving talent vastly outmatching the secondaries. Either a shootout or a Dallas blowout. Interested to see if the Giants offense has more fight in it now with Shane in the mix.

 

:Cowboys: 31

:Giants: 21

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I hate both of these teams. I hope they tie, but they won't. Dallas is probably going to wipe their asses with the Giants who outside of Eli, the WR position and JPP are pretty much trash. Eh, I guess they have decent corners. Anyway, Dallas is just a better team.

 

27-17 Dallas

 

Makes me physically ill to have to pick Dallas to win. Get your shit together Giants.

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Dallas wins because the Giants D is a joke.

 

Mcfadden may just have a 100+ yard game and if so...lolGiants

 

:Cowboys: 28

 

:Giants: 10

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Divisional games in the East are always close. I'll take the Cowboys here, but they're gonna have to earn it.

 

:Cowboys: 26

:Giants: 22

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Guest Phailadelphia

Romo has a history of butt-fucking Spagnolo defenses, so I'll take Dallas by 17.

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Christine Michael is inactive for Sunday night's Week 1 game against the Giants.

Michael was a longshot to be active after getting traded last week. Joseph Randle is expected to start in a committee with Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar.
The rest of the Cowboys inactives are OG La'el Collins, DT Davon Coleman, OT Jordan Mills, TE Geoff Swaim, NT Ken Bishop, and DE Ryan Russell.

 

 

 

Giants declared WR Victor Cruz, LB Jon Beason, DE Owa Odighizuwa, S Cooper Taylor, DT Louis Nix, TE Jerome Cunningham, and OL Bobby Hart inactive for Week 1 against the Cowboys.

Cruz has yet to resume running after suffering a setback with his calf. The Giants will go with Odell Beckham, Rueben Randle, and Preston Parker in three-wide sets. Beason has a chance to return in Week 2.

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This game really pissed me the fuck off. Can't you fucking miserable prick Giants do ANYTHING right? You had those scumbags right where you wanted them for almost the whole game and you just let them off the hook. Unacceptable.

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Rashad Jennings tells ESPN's Dan Graziano he was told not to score on 1st- and 2nd-and-goal on New York's final drive Sunday evening.

The idea being, to drain clock. Only the Giants then made the worst call of the young season, opting to pass on third down. They didn't complete it, and the Cowboys got an extra 40 seconds. Tony Romo promptly marched the Cowboys down the field for the game-winning touchdown after the Giants settled for a field goal. If true, it's a mind-bogglingly bad decision from coach Tom Coughlin, who has seemed increasingly out of his element in recent seasons.
Source: Dan Graziano on Twitte

 

 

That's...kinda weird. Why would you not take your chances going up by 10 with less than 2 minutes left?

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Wow, that's even worse than what actually happened. I agree with the philosophy if you're down by 3 or 4 and are trying to go up by one possession, but if you have an opportunity to go up 10 points, do it as soon as you can.

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Yes, points are not guaranteed in this league, you should absolutely try and take what you can get. Even stupider then, if you are actively trying to drain the clock, then why'd you throw it on third down? Mouth breathing doofus indeed.

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Wow, that's even worse than what actually happened. I agree with the philosophy if you're down by 3 or 4 and are trying to go up by one possession, but if you have an opportunity to go up 10 points, do it as soon as you can.

why would you ever use that philosophy if you're trailing by anything? there's no guarantee you'll have an opportunity to score on the next play, so you have to take points when you can, the only reason to purposely not score is if it allows you to run the clock completely out, otherwise you take whatever points you can get whenever you can get them

 

On another note, apparently there was some confusion on the Giants sideline about how many timeouts Dallas had. First off you should always know that, there are enough assistants somebody can be tasked with keeping track of timeouts, but that's not what I want to focus on. The confusion was created because Dallas was called for an offside penalty earlier in the drive the clock stopped and they weren't charged with a timeout even though the Giants declined the penalty, which seems like it could turn into a late game strategy. Obviously you wouldn't do it with offsides because you might accidentally erase a great defensive play, but are there other penalties that stop the clock? Perhaps something post-play? Not sure anyone would do it intentionally because of the yardage with the penalty, but I could see scenarios where it's worth giving the opponent five yards to get an extra timeout.

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