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Three Reasons Why Cowboys Home Opener Is Must-Watch TV

In less than 72 hours the Dallas Cowboys officially begin their 2017 season this Sunday at home at AT&T Stadium against the New York Giants.

A handful of other NFL games will have been played by then but there’s only one game, actually one team, the nation seems focused on – The Cowboys, America’s Team.

Here are 3 reasons why Sunday night’s game is must-watch TV.

All Eyes on Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott, the 2016 NFL rushing leader as a rookie, will be in uniform and on the field. He still faces a six-game suspension over a domestic violence case, but will play Sunday night because of the timing of an appeal that was rejected, and an ongoing court fight to try to overturn the NFL’s decision.

Many will tune in to see if Zeke – who got limited playing time in the pre-season – has lost a step since his numerous off-the-field issues following a stellar rookie season that saw him become a household name. Is he distracted? Was last year just a fluke? Others will tune in to see the powerhouse running back do, well, what he do – run the ball.

Jaylon’s Journey

Linebacker Jaylon Smith’s journey back to the football field will culminate Sunday night when he should make his NFL debut after missing his rookie season with a college knee injury that knocked him down in the 2016 draft. The Cowboys took Smith in the second round, pick No. 34 overall.

Smith suffered the right knee injury in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl in January. Significant rehab followed and now he is ready to play. What’s more, he just might start on Sunday night. Starting middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens suffered a right knee injury in the Aug. 26th pre-season game against the Oakland Raiders and could miss at least the first five games of the season. Smith and veteran Justin Durant will pick up the slack for the Cowboys.

Stephen A. Smith

That’s right. The Cowboys’ fans biggest hater is in town for Sunday’s game. Smith and the whole FirstTake Crew – Molly and Max – are in Dallas for a full weekend of pre and post-game coverage. The Cowboys – perpetually called “an accident waiting to happen” by Smith were important and interesting enough for ESPN to send it’s highly rated  morning sports talk show to town for several days. What will Stephen A. say? Will he wear a Cowboy’s jersey? Just having Smith around to harass is enough to make Cowboys fan relish the thought of Sunday night.

Sunday’s game will also be a must-watch for many other reasons: The flamboyant Odell Beckham may not play in the opener. He hasn’t played since spraining his left ankle in a preseason game against Cleveland on Aug. 21. He also has sat out Giants practice recently.

But next man up for the Giants is six-time Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall, who signed as a free agent. The Giants are trying to win their fourth straight against the Cowboys after sweeping the NFC East champions last year.

In addition Dez Bryant seems to be back to true form and ready to throw up the X multiple times, Jason Witten begins year 15 Sunday night and of course – Dak Prescott – the quarterback starting his first full year as leader of America’s team.

Both the Cowboys and the Giants made the playoffs last season, and both lost postseason openers to Green Bay. The Giants lost 38-13 in a wild-card game, and the Cowboys lost the NFC divisional game at AT&T Stadium 34-31.



Credentialed media member and writer covering the Dallas Stars. | Dorothy J Gentry is an educator and journalist covering the NBA, Mavericks, WNBA, Wings and Dallas area sports & entertainment for Texas Metro News,, Garland Journal, Dallas Sports Fanatic & others. She is a member of the NABJ Sports Task Force.

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