The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys are set to do battle in the NFL season opener tonight, but the two teams could be without some of their most important players due to injuries. The stakes are high, tempers are rising and adrenaline is pumping, but that will not be able to mask issues that would result with these players out.
The Giants are already in deep water with the injuries at the cornerback position. Terrell Thomas is on season-ending IR (have to make that distinction now), Prince Amukamara has been ruled out with a high ankle sprain and rookie Jayron Hosley is battling a turf toe, though the Giants say he would have practiced this week if it were a normal week.
Hosley is questionable along with Michael Boley, Will Beatty, Mathias Kiwanuka, Adrian Tracy, Hakeem Nicks and Da’Rel Scott.
I expect most of the list of questionable players to play, but the Giants will be in dire straits if Nicks or Boley miss the game. Boley is the all-important adjustment maker and leader on defense and Nicks opens things up for the entire offense.
Also ruled out for the Giants is second year man Marvin Austin, who figures to be a major part of the defensive line rotation, and backup tackle James Brewer. Ahmad Bradshaw is probable and should play.
The only player listed out for the Cowboys is Jay Ratliff, which is a big loss for the Cowboys run defense. Jason Witten was thought to be lost for this game, and is still listed as doubtful, but he evidently signed a waiver not holding the Cowboys liable if he re-injures his spleen. Who knows if that makes a difference, but you can tell how bad he wants to play if that’s true.
Mike Jenkins is listed as questionable, while Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Phil Costa, DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Ware are all listed as probable.
With the Giants injuries in the secondary, sixth-year journeyman Michael Coe is forced into the spotlight. The Giants need to flex their pass rush muscle in order to make up for the loss of Amukamara and possibly Hosley. They sacked Tony Romo six times in the season finale last season and it seems like it would take a repeat performance to contain the Cowboys offense.
Check back later with complete updates on the injuries and who will be playing.
Jason Witten will play for the Cowboys. Sean Locklear and Keith Rivers are starting at LT and WLB, despite both Will Beatty and Michael Boley being active for the game. Boley should still play, but is not starting.
Mike Jenkins will miss this game despite being listed as questionable.
Hakeem Nicks, Jayron Hosley and Mathias Kiwanuka are all on the active list and expect to play tonight.
Jeff is an NFL Featured Columnist for RantSports.com. He contributes mainly to the New York Giants and NFL Rumors pages. He also will occasionally touch on the NBA and humorous videos involving all sports.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @Jeff_Shull