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Preview, Week 1: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

Cowboys Giants Preview

The Dallas Cowboys will face the New York Giants for the 108th time on Sunday night.

The Dallas Cowboys open their season on Sunday night when they host the New York Giants. The Cowboys swept the series last season, and Dallas now has a four-game winning streak over New York.

This will mark the 107th meeting between the teams (including one playoff game) dating back to 1960. Dallas leads the overall series 61-43-2.

The Giants are coming off a 6-10 season in 2014 and are 6.5-point underdogs. Most simulations have predicted a Dallas win.

FiveThirtyEight: Dallas has a win probability of 73%.

WhatIfSports: Dallas has a win probability of 59.9%, with the Cowboys winning by an average score of 25-22 in simulations.

AccuScore: Dallas has a win probability of 54%. Here is the summary:

“Expect a close game with the New York Giants winning 45% of simulations, and the Dallas Cowboys 54% of simulations. In close games, turnover margin is especially important. The New York Giants commit fewer turnovers in 32% of simulations and they go on to win 56% when they take care of the ball. The Dallas Cowboys wins 60% of the simulations in which they commit fewer turnovers. Eli Manning is averaging 276 passing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average passing yards and at least a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio (34% chance) then he helps his team win 63%. Tony Romo is averaging 269 passing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average passing yards and at least a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio (41% chance) then he helps his team win 68%.”

Thursday’s Then-and-Now: Opening the Season vs. N.Y. Giants

How the Giants handled the Cowboys' all-out blitz was a concern in the season opening in 1986.

How the Giants handled the Cowboys’ all-out blitz was a concern in the season opening in 1986.

Sunday night’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will be the sixth time the teams have faced one another during the opening week of the season. Dallas has a 5-0 record in the previous games.

One of those five games appeared on Monday Night Football on September 8, 1986. Here is a look at that game (then) and the Sunday night game this year (now).


The Cowboys rebounded after missing the playoffs in 1984 to capture the NFC East title. Two wins over the Giants, including a 28-21 win in week 15, were critical, as the Cowboys returned the postseason for the last time under Tom Landry.


The Cowboys broke a string of three straight 8-8 seasons to go 12-4 and capture the NFC East for the first time since 2009. Two wins over the Giants helped the team, as the Cowboys reached the postseason for the first time under Jason Garrett.


Dallas entered the 1986 season with veteran Danny White and unproven backup Steve Pelluer. White had started 14 games in 1985 and led Dallas to a 10-4 record in those games.

White started strong in 1986, as the team jumped out the gate with a 6-2 record. In six games, White threw 12 touchdown passes. However, Carl Banks of the Giants sacked White early in a week 9 game, and White’s wrist broke. Without White, Dallas struggled and finished with the team’s first losing record since 1964.


Tony Romo enters the season more healthy than he was in 2014. He had a strong season in 2014 despite his back problems, throwing for 3705 yards and 34 touchdowns.

An injury to Romo, however, would be as devastating to the Cowboys in 2015 as the injury to White was in 1986. Backup Brandon Weeden has not shown he can produce wins, so the Cowboys need to hope Romo stays on the field.


The Cowboys already had a former Heisman Trophy winner and future Hall-of-Famer at running back in Tony Dorsett. In 1986, the team added a second Heisman winner when Herschel Walker joined the team after a short career in the USFL. Walker eventually replaced Dorsett in the Dallas backfield.


DeMarco Murray rushed for more yards in one season in 2014 than Dorsett, Walker, or Emmitt Smith. However, instead of adding to the backfield in 2015, the Cowboys let Murray walk via free agency. The 2015 team will have committee at the running-back position.


Most of the rest of the 1986 team featured aging stars (Randy White, Too Tall Jones, Tony Hill) and rather mediocre role players. White’s injury marked the beginning of the end, as Dallas won only 11 games between 1987 and 1989.


Dallas freed itself of most of its fading stars, who included the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, and Miles Austin. The team replaced those players with a young and talented group, including three of the best young offensive linemen in the NFL.

Unlike the 1986 team, the arrow for the 2015 Cowboys is pointing up. But it will take a full season from Tony Romo and good performances from several new players on defense for this team to reach heights the franchise has not reached in two decades.

Jersey Numbers for New Dallas Cowboys

Someone tell the new guy he can't wear #74.

Someone tell the new guy he can’t wear #74.

The Cowboys showed they are not finished building their roster, as the team added Christine Michael on Sunday. His addition means that the Cowboys currently have 15 players on the 53-man roster who were not on the team last year. Three others are on reserve rosters for a variety of reasons.

Here are the new players and their jersey numbers (as of Monday):

#13: WR Lucky Whitehead.

Last worn by WR Anthony Armstrong, who played in one game in 2012.

#17: QB Kellen Moore

Last worn by Dwayne Harris, who played for the Cowboys from 2011 to 2014 before signing with the Giants.

#20: RB Darren McFadden

Last worn by Tyler Patmon, who will now wear #26.

#23: CB Corey White

Last worn by Jakar Hamilton, who played in Dallas in 2013 and 2014.

#30: RB Christine Michael

Last worn by Sterling Moore in 2012. He later changed to #26.

#31: DB Byron Jones

Last worn by Micah Pellerin, who was on the roster from 2012 to 2014.

#52: LB Andrew Gachkar

Last worn by Justin Durant, who now plays in Atlanta.

#54: LB Jasper Brinkely

Last worn by Bruce Carter, who signed with Tampa Bay.

#56: LB Keith Smith

Last worn by Troy Davis, who was on the roster in 2014.

#57: LB Damien Wilson

Last worn by DeVonte Holloman, who had to retire after suffering a neck injury.

#71: OL La’el Collins

Last worn by Donald Hawkins, who played in one game in 2014.


#87: TE Geoff Swaim

Last worn by Jordan Najvar in 2014.

#93: DT Ken Bishop

Last worn by Anthony Spencer, who signed with New Orleans before being placed on injured reserve.

#94: DE Randy Gregory

Last worn by Josh Brent, who retired.

#99: DE Ryan Russell

Last worn by George Selvie, who signed with the New York Giants.


Dallas 21, Houston 14: Cowboys Retain Governor’s Cup…and Preseason Is Finally Over!

This is not the actual Texas Governor's Cup.

(This is not the actual Texas Governor’s Cup.)

[Do not take any apparent melancholy below over the Governor’s Cup seriously. Really.]

The Dallas Cowboys trailed the Houston Texans 7-0 at halftime after barely moving the ball all game. It looked as if this was the same team that had not won a preseason game since 2013. It looked like the team that had held a lead in only one of the previous three preseason games. It appeared to be the same team that had only scored 27 points in the previous three games combined.

But less than five minutes into the second half, Dallas came to life. A cornerback named Corey White stepped in front of a Tom Savage pass and ran it all the way (three yards) for a touchdown. The game was tied, and the Cowboys might live.

Just two plays later, Savage was sacked, and the Texans appeared to lose a fumble. Although referees called the play dead, the Cowboys challenged and won. Dallas had the ball at the Houston 21.

It took just one play for the Cowboys to take the lead. A 21-yard touchdown run by Gus Johnson put the Cowboys ahead 14-7.

Head coach Jason Garrett showed his faith in quarterback Dustin Vaughan, because the coach left the probable third-stringer in for the entire game.

But Dallas didn’t need a great game from Vaughan because the Cowboys had Johnson and Ben Malena. Johnson had a good game with 68 yards on 16 carries, but it was Malena who stole the show with 88 yards on 15 attempts.

Lucky Whitehead returned a punt midway through the fourth quarter into Houston territory, and Vaughan and Malena took over from there. In eight plays, Dallas moved the ball 48 yards, and when Malena scored from five yards out, Dallas had control.

The Texans could not move the ball. Dallas ran out the clock. And the Governor’s Cup stayed with the Cowboys.

* * *

So really, I missed the first half thanks to my attendance at a jiu jitsu seminar. I did record the game and tried to catch up by watching the first half. Thank goodness for a fast-forwarding option.

* * *

No live blogging last night. And given that nobody but me read my live blogs, only I was disappointed.

* * *

As for the players on the field last night, just a few thoughts—

  • Looks as if Malena and Johnson could be a practice-squad players.
  • I did not know who Corey White was until the pick-6. I need to learn more of the names, given that he might make the team.
  • Can’t remember the last time a single Dallas QB played an entire preseason game. When I ran a poll a few weeks ago, the majority thought Vaughan should be #2 instead of Brandon Weeden, but Vaughan did not look great in any of the last three games.I would not be surprised if Dallas went with two QBs.
  • Jameill Showers only played on special teams last night. Nice having you.



Thursday’s Then and Now: The Governor’s Cup

A picture from the first Governor's Cup in 1967.

A picture from the first Governor’s Cup in 1967.

The Dallas Cowboys will face the Houston Texans on Thursday night for the Governor’s Cup. This marks the 12th time the Cowboys have faced the Texans for the Cup, with Dallas holding a 6-5 edge in previous games. The Cowboys beat Houston in overtime last year on October 5.

Of course, the Cowboys used to face the Houston Oilers for the Cup, with Dallas winning 18 of 31 games dating back to 1967.

Notwithstanding the nearly complete lack of interest in tonight’s game, here is a comparison of the first Governor’s Cup game and tonight’s matchup.

Then (1967): The Cowboys traveled to Houston to face the Oilers at Rice Stadium. A total of 53,125 came to watch the teams face one another in an interleague exhibition for the first time.

Now: Both the Cowboys and the Texans play in state-of-the-art facilities. Dallas will host tonight’s game at Cowboys Stadium, which has a capacity of about 80,000.

* * *

Then: The game between the Cowboys and Oilers was unofficially dubbed the Texas Championship. The game was not officially played for the Governor’s Cup until 1969.

Now: As noted above, the Cowboys have won the Governor’s Cup 24 times over the years.

For several years, however, the Governor’s Cup had gone missing. The Cowboys’ former vice president, Joe Bailey, told the press that he had given the Governor’s Cup to a Houston equipment manager, who then lost the Cup. It was found in a cardboard box in a Houston office building in 1987.

* * *

Then: The Cowboys beat the Oilers in 1967 thanks to the passing of Don Meredith and Craig Morton.

Now: Dallas will try to avoid its second consecutive winless preseason with Dustin Vaughan and Jameill Showers leading the way.

* * *

Then: Houston QB Don Trull had all sorts of problems with the Dallas pass rush, and the Oilers only managed 54 yards during the first three quarters. Another QB, Jacky Lee, had better luck, leading Houston to two touchdowns. Dallas, however, still managed the win, 30-17.

Pete Beathard ended up staring nine games for Houston in 1967. Lee started three games but could only manage one win. Trull completed just four passes all year.

Now: The Texans have named Brian Hoyer as the starter after he beat out Ryan Mallett for the job. Chances are pretty good that in 48 years, folks won’t remember the names Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett any better than fans remember the names Don Trull and Jacky Lee.

* * *

Then: The 1967 Houston Oilers were a good team, finishing the season at 9-4-1. They lost to Oakland in the AFL Championship Game. Dallas lost to the Green Bay Packers in the 1967 Ice Bowl for the NFL Championship.

Of course, this means that the Cowboys and Oilers were one win a piece from having a second Texas Championship/Governor’s Cup that year, only the teams would have faced off at the Miami Orange Bowl in Super Bowl II.

Now: Dallas has not been the Super Bowl since the 1995, but the Cowboys won the NFC East in 2014 with a 12-4 mark. The Texans finished the 2014 season at 9-7 after winning just two games in 2013. Nobody expects a Cowboys-Texans Super Bowl, but stranger things have happened.

Dallas Cowboys News: Preparing for the Houston Texans


The Dallas Cowboys will try to win their first preseason game since 2013 when they host the Houston Texans on Thursday evening.

It looks as if Brandon Weeden could play against the Texans, but chances are good that Dustin Vaughan and Jameill Showers will see most of action. Weeden is recovering from a concussion suffered against San Francisco.

(And, well, nobody wants to see Weeden play anyway).

Dallas made several cuts on Tuesday to reach the 75-man limit. Among those players cut was former Baylor receiver Antwan Goodley. With his release, the Cowboys put to rest any idea that Dallas was a landing spot for former Bears. The team had previously released running back Lache Seastrunk. Fortunately, Terrance Williams’ job is quite safe.

Thursday night’s game is for the Texas Governor’s Cup. The last time Dallas won the cup was 2010, and that was thanks to a regular-season win over Houston. Dallas has not defeated Houston in a preseason game since 2008.

Cheap Dallas Cowboys Tickets: Dallas vs. Houston


(No, this is not an advertisement. I was playing around on some sites looking for tickets, and this is what I found.)

If you want cheap Dallas Cowboys tickets and are willing to attend a preseason game, Thursday’s game against the Houston Texans would be the game to attend.

On StubHub, most of the party passes are running as low as 72 cents each. Yes, you must watch the game in standing-room-only, but 72 cents!

Of course, with fees, the price goes up a bit. I ordered two tickets at 72 cents each but would have had to pay $14.31.

The lowest price for an actual seat is not much more. On Stubhub, two tickets in section 419 are going for $4.24 each. Total amount with fees: $20.98.

Other sites are a bit more “pricey,” but it’s still cheap. Tickets in section 437 (end zone) are running for $10.06 each on SeatGeek.

On the other end of the spectrum, star suites are running for more than $4,000, while Hall of Fame suites are more than $5,000.

Obviously, tickets for the season-opener are a bit more. Party passes are running for $32 on the low end, while upper reserved seats are starting at about $100.

Preseason Week #3: Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings


The Cowboys host the Minnesota Vikings in preseason action on August 29. The Dallas starters should play much of the first half.

The Vikings enter the game with a 3-0 preseason record. Dallas is 0-2 after losing to San Diego and San Francisco.

Dallas Cowboys News: Orlando Scandrick Lost for the Season

The 2008 NFL Draft did not turn out to be kind to the Dallas Cowboys.

First-round picks Felix Jones and Mike Jenkins never made the impacts expected of them.

Tight end Martellus Bennett has accomplished more in New York and Chicago than he did in Dallas.

Tashard Choice showed a bit of potential but then faded out.

Erik Walden became a starter– with two different teams several years after the Cowboys cut him.

Among the team’s picks, only Orlando Scandrick remains. He does not have awe-inspiring numbers (7 career interceptions), but nearly everyone agrees that Scandrick has been one of the most consistent defenders on the team since 2008.

He suffered a season-ending injury during practice on Tuesday. The Cowboys will now rely on Morris Claiborne to overcome his own injury and prove that he has value to the team.

Below are the Scandrick stories.Also check out this sponsored

Preseason Week #2: Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Dallas Cowboys face the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Sunday, August 23.

Both teams enter the game with 0-1 records. Dallas fell to San Diego in the Cowboys’ first preseason game, while the 49ers lost to the Houston Texans last Saturday.

My live blog is below.