Although the NFL is restricted to such a small geographic fan base, I think that it is one of the most special sports of all. The NFL has something so unique that other leagues like the NBA, NHL, MLB, and more can’t really replicate as well as the NFL does – its culture.
When you think about Sundays, do you think about the NBA, NHL, MLB, or even going to church? No – you think about the NFL.
Sunday is the one day of the week dedicated to the sport, and even with the occasional Monday or Thursday night games, you know that if there’s one day you’re watching the NFL, it’s Sunday. Most other popular North American sports can’t replicate this, also partially because the NFL plays only 16 games a year. Unlike the NBA, NHL, and especially the MLB, every single game is memorable (yes, I even remember that time the Steelers beat the Dolphins 3-0 in a rain soaked field in 2007) and every game is important…well, unless the Cleveland Browns are playing. And when it comes to the Super Bowl, there is no sporting event in Canada and USA that is watched more than that. The Super Bowl is an annual tradition for many, even though some only watch for the commercials. Anyways, that’s why I think the NFL is one of the best sports to be a fan of, and as a Colts fan I’m pretty excited for this new season with Andrew Luck at QB. With that, let’s get to my first pick for the new NFL season.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (Spread: Giants -3.5)
Let me throw out a couple trends here: the Cowboys are 5-0 against the Giants all time in season opener games, defending Super Bowl champions are 8-0 in the kickoff game since the tradition started in 2004, and only one home team has lost the kickoff game, which was the Giants in the first kickoff game ever in 2002. One of the first two streaks mentioned must end tonight.
I think the Giants are going to be somewhat underestimated here – they struggled with keeping their big three DEs healthy last year (Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Umenyiora) and when they did get healthy, they absolutely dominated, including the last game of the year when they knocked off the Cowboys to earn a playoff spot. However, there are still some concerns with the Giants with their banged up secondary (CBs Amukamara and Thomas are out) and their WRs after they lost Manningham and Nicks was injured.
The Cowboys look fantastic, especially on offense, but also do have some causes for concern. Their offensive line, especially C Phil Costa, needs some development, and they have too many injuries in their major receiving targets – WRs Austin and Bryant have been injured, Robinson is gone for Jacksonville, and TE Witten is most likely out tonight. The Cowboys made huge moves this offseason after acquiring CBs Carr and Claiborne, but how well will they perform in their first game?
They say the game is won in the trenches, and that defense wins games. Well, the Giants definitely have the advantage in both of those categories, so I’ll take the Giants. Pick: Giants to win and cover.