The New York Jets open the 2011 season tonight at MetLife Stadium, hosting the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football on NBC. On the 10th anniversary of the national tragedy of 9/11, the eyes of the nation will turn to an emotionally-charged game between two superstar-laden teams. The Cowboys are an iconic franchise, the blue star one of the most recognizable logos in sports. The Jets have burst onto the scene the past two seasons under Rex Ryan, and are looking to build on their recent success.
The Jets will be looking to get off to a fast start this year given the structure of their schedule. A big win on opening night would go a long way towards accomplishing that. The Jets are lucky in that they have been able to stay relatively healthy, while the Cowboys have been hit by the injury bug.
The Jets matchup extremely well with the Cowboys. The strength of the Cowboys is their receiving corps, and the Jets are able to counter that strength with two outstanding cornerbacks. Perhaps the greatest weakness of the Cowboys is their offensive line, and though they lack a true pass rusher on their defensive line, the Jets should be able to exploit that weak point.
If the Jets can keep Jason Witten under wraps, they should be able to completely stymie the Dallas offense. With Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie shutting down Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, the Cowboys will be forced to try to move the ball on the ground, and that's not going to work. Cromartie needs to start the season strong and be consistent all night, as one mental lapse against Bryant can result in six points.
This is the perfect way to start the season – the Jets love the spotlight, and it will be shining squarely on them tonight. That will elevate their play. They want to come out and make a statement to the whole league tonight, as everyone will be watching. It will be interesting to see the offensive and defensive gameplans for the Jets, as there seems to be some matchups to exploit. Look for the Jets to attack the Cowboys offensive line, and expect them to also target the banged up Dallas secondary.
Breakdowns of all the important matchups:
What a way for the Jets to start the season: on national television, under the lights at home, Rex Ryan taking on his younger brother Rob. The Cowboys won't be able to contain the Jets offense, and their offensive line will be exploited by Rex Ryan. It really will be JetLife Stadium tonight. The Cowboys are a talented but incomplete team. The Jets run away with this one and set the tone for the season. Everyone who has been sleeping on the Jets will be woken up tonight.
Jets 31, Cowboys 13
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