Can you believe it? The NFL is finally back after a lengthy and tumultuous offseason.

The first duel of the season features “America’s Team”, the Dallas Cowboys taking on the defending Super Bowl champion, the New York Giants. MetLife Stadium will be packed as these footballing gladiators open the 2012-13 season in style.

The Giants are 3.5 point favorites in this matchup and I will gladly take this advantage. Eli Manning has cemented his status as an elite quarterback in this league and is primed to have a fantastic day in the air. Hakeem Nicks seems to have recovered from his foot injury and will play in the game tonight. His role in the game is to be determined, but his presence should cause uneasiness in the Dallas secondary. Here is your obliagtory sentence about the salsa king Victor Cruz; yeah, he’s good too.

The Cowboys do have some firepower in DeMarco Murray standing behind Tony Romo. Murray broke out last season and is on the verge of fantasy stud status; if he stays healthy, he can be a devastating runner. We all love to criticize Romo, but when he is in form, he is an outstanding dual-threat QB, using his mobility and guile to pick up yards on the ground and in the air.

Being a football fan of the old-school mentality, the one aspect I will watch very closely is the Giants’ running game. New York was literally dead last in the league in rushing yards per game last season, and the departure of the lumbering Brandon Jacobs represents a blow to the running game. I am curious as to how first-round draft pick David Wilson does; he will have to pick up the slack immediately. Dallas’ defense can be terrifying, led by the perennial Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware. If the Giants fail to get anything going on the ground, a reliance on the passing attack could play right into Ware’s hands.

Dallas can have all the talent they want but they look to be a bit of a mismatch against the G-Men. Tom Coughlin is one of the best coaches in the NFL and his guys will be ready to extinguish a longtime rival. A statistic worth looking at is the Cowboys’ last seven losses last season; they all came against teams that finished .500 or better. A team that can not beat good teams is simply not a good team.

My pick to cover the spread (and win): Giants

Random Score Prediction: 27-20 Giants

Any predictions for the game? Who do you see winning? Have your say below!