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Michael Taylor 20th Sep 2009 - 10:37

Dallas to open new stadium with a bang

After 37 successful years at the Texas Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys now need to call a new place 'home' and that task could be made a whole lot easier if they manage to sneak their way past Super Bowl XLIV fancies, the New York Giants.

The brand new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington opens its doors to NFL action for the first time on Sunday night and spectators couldn't have wished for a better spectacle as one of the most successful teams of the modern era face-off against the solid looking Super Bowl XLII champions.

One thing that hasn't altered with the change of venues is that the Cowboys are favourites for yet another home game, and once again it seems most than justified.

Tony Romo and Jason Witten combined to great effect in their impressive week one win over the Bucs and they don't even have to worry about Terrell Owens spitting the dummy out every time they link up after his exit to Buffalo.

Witten emerged as the QB's go-to guy last year and it seems Romo's faith isn't misplaced as he continues to develop into one of the finest tight ends in the NFL.

He's a 9/1 shot to score the opening touchdown of the game but his importance in establishing the passing game could well prove the key to the match, especially if Marion Barber struggles against the Giants' solid rush defence.

Roy Williams is the other essential cog in the Cowboys offensive machine and if he can grow into the number one wide receiver role then the loss of Owens can be nothing but good news.

Dallas aren't the only ones with a few issues to resolve on the offence either with the Giants still looking a tad short without someone of Plaxico Burress' stature to aim at.

Eli Manning will keep aiming at Steve Smith but I still have several doubts about his calibre as the ace receiver, while the injury keeping rookie Hakeem Nicks out could prove costly in this NFC East battle.

However, one man who is back for the Giants is Osi Umenyiora who is guaranteed to give Romo a constant threat.

The London born defensive end was a big miss last year but he's back now and he'll continue to lead the defence and get in the quarterback's head - it'll be especially exciting to see who wins the sack race, Umenyiora or Cowboys' linebacker DeMarcus Ware.

I do think this Sunday will belong to the Cowboys though. Brandon Jacobs struggled to get going for the Giants last week and it just seemed to scream out that losing Derrick Ward to free agency is potentially a massive disaster.

It should be close but, after their week one performance, the Cowboys look to have just enough to cover the -3.0 point spread which can be backed at a big looking 21/20.

In the other televised games on Sunday, we should be treated to a gem in Philadelphia take on Drew Brees and his offence heavy New Orleans Saints.

Brees through for an unbelievable six touchdowns on opening day; Philadelphia gave up a miserly 83 passing yards, so the battle lines are drawn and it just comes down to what wins out, offence or defence.

In my eyes, as the play-offs prove every year, defence comes top so I'll be backing the Eagles at even money and praying that New Orleans once again fail against one of the NFC's main contenders.

As for Tampa Bay @ Buffalo, the only question that needs asking other than 'why is this game on TV?' is who can bounce back best from disappointing opening day showings?

Buffalo have TO but seemingly nobody able to consistently deliver the ball to him, while the Bucs are solid but have little to whet the appetite.

Based on the prices Tampa are the value bet at 7/4 but I think I'll be leaving these two off my coupon until I've figured a bit more out about what I see as relatively unknown quantities.






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