Slicked-Back Benny Mac Looks To Lead Giants To Another Dallas Spoiler
For the third straight year & 4th time in 5, Big Blue open up their regular season with a visit to Jerry’s World. Unlike prior openers, the Giants were able to hang onto a one-point W while making Dak & Zeke look pedestrian in their NFL debuts. Elliot racked up 100+ at Met Life later in the season but Prescott had his worst game as a pro, completing less than 50% of his throws & chucking half of his league-low 4 picks. With the Giants D largely unchanged (Bromley & second-rounder Dalvin Tomlinson will look to fill the void left by Hankins’ Indianapolis pay day), Spagnuolo’s top-notch line & secondary are set to kick off Dak’s sophomore slump tonight. As for Zeke:
The key to the G-Men duplicating last year’s opening night success & 11-5 campaign will be improving on what they do when they have the ball. Slicked-Back Benny Mac & Mike Sullivan ran a real stagnant, predictable offense a year ago – but with a new do comes new offensive looks. While Big Blue didn’t do much to bolster their offensive line outside of providing depth with DJ Fluker, their leaky line will have help in the form of a fullback & some 2 TE sets.
Inking Rhett Ellison for 4/$18M was a shock to many but the dude can block with the best of them. First-round pick Evan Engram is drawing rave reviews for how committed he’s been to doing dirty work at the line when he’s not called on to flash his hands & 4.4 speed. The trio of Perkins, Vereen & Darkwa should have more room to run – and a run game they simply didn’t have last year will go a long way towards keeping defenses honest & allowing Eli to take advantage of all his downfield weapons.
Perhaps the league’s biggest weapon might be rocking warmups on the sideline tonight though. What looked to be an awful knee injury luckily turned out to be a low-grade high ankle sprain. Still, the latest reports doubt Odell Beckham taking the field & I’m OK with it. No need to get cute with a “decoy” role. The Giants need their best player at 100% for as long as possible. Besides, they’ve got a new guy with plenty of experience being a #1 to carry the weight in the interim.
Brandon Marshall gave a significant discount to trade his Jets green for Big Blue & finally get a taste of playoff football. When the squad is fully healthy, ODB & B-Marsh might be the best WR tandem in the league. Marshall brings a “Plaxico” element Eli has been missing – a dominant, big-bodied red zone threat who racked up 1500/14 just 2 years ago. Double Beckham? OK. Marshall may be 33 but he’s never had the luxury of playing second fiddle. While he’ll have to wait at least another week to experience that, don’t be surprised to see the vet rack up 1000 & push for double-digit scores. Against a highly suspect & inexperienced Dallas secondary supporting a shorthanded pass rush, Eli should have ample opportunity to develop chemistry with his new toy.
And I haven’t even mentioned Sterling Shepard.
Dallas was the regular season class of the NFC – but 2 of their 3 L’s came at the hands of their biggest rival. With the Cowboys & Giants both expected to battle for the 2017 division crown, there’s nothing better than opening the slate with a prime-time matchup. Week 1 is never a “must-win”. Still, setting the tone with a victory under the roof of the defending division champs is huge. If what should be an improved Big Blue can open another season 1-0 in the Big D, perhaps without their most dynamic offensive weapon, they’ll have proven to have closed the gap on more than just paper.
Prepare yourselves, Giants fans. This season is the return of something we haven’t had to deal with in 5 years.