It’s finally here. Gone are the monotonous pre-season games that featured the bottom rung of team depth charts. Five months of competitive NFL football is a great back to school present, especially for those not heading back to the halls of academia.

Tonight the New York Giants open their title defense against the hated Cowboys. If you’re a betting person – and who isn’t these days (quick money!) – take the Giants. Tony Romo has lost seven consecutive games on Sunday night football. Yes, today is Wednesday, but aside from a few graphic tweaks it’s the same jazz. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will fawn over Eli Manning and his ability to win games while simultaneously saying the same about Romo.

The Cowboys QB will likely be without the services of safety blanket Jason Witten for at least one week. Via PFT, Jerry Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill that Witten has been cleared to play in Week 2. We’re still not sure if the tight end joined his teammates on the flight to New York, but all signs indicate fantasy owners should resort to plan B. Oh how I loathe game-time decisions.

Meanwhile, Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka says Jason Pierre-Paul can get 30 sacks this year. While it’s certainly hyperbole to suggest JPP will double his totals from last year – his 16.5 sacks was good for fourth in the league – doubt the beast from South Florida at your own peril. Playing on a line that features the likes of Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, Pierre-Paul will have his opportunities. If you’re a Romo owner, get in a quick prayer for the Cowboys offensive line before kickoff tonight. It can’t hurt.

The New York media continues to do what they do best, as they’ve arbitrarily ranked the city’s footballers in a top 25 that is probably the least important thing you’ll see today. In case you’re curious, Eli came out on top, with Darrelle Revis a close second. Thankfully we can disregard the glut of predictions and rankings at around 8:30 tonight. FOOTBALL.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • Brady killer Bernard Pollard has a warning for Bengals WR A.J Green – come across the middle and you’re going to get smacked. How this differs from the intentions of the NFL’s other headhunting safeties remains to be seen, but a little smack talk every now and then is always good. [ESPN]
  • For those of you in insanely deep leagues – what’s wrong with you? – Bilal Powell has beaten out Joe McKnight for the Jets third-down running back job. Powell’s pass protection impressed the coaching staff throughout the pre-season. With the Shambolic state of the Jets RT situation, Mark Sanchez will need all the help he can get. [NY Daily News]
  • Matt Moore has won the backup QB job in Miami. David Garrard was let go this morning, leaving rookie Ryan Tannehill, Moore, and Pat Devlin as the team’s signal callers. []
  • With two of the Bengals’ three interior offensive linemen hurt, the effectiveness of BenJarvus Green-Ellis could be hampered. The definition of a between the tackles runner, the law firm may be not be the best play in Week 1 – especially against the vaunted Ravens D. []
  • Both Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis were named starters on the Chiefs depth chart, with no starting fullback listed. Hillis has experience playing the latter, so assume Charles will get the majority of the carries in Week 1. [Arrowhead Addict]
  • Leslie Frazier has a decision to make regarding Adrian Peterson. The franchise running back vowed he’d be ready for Sept. 9. Frazier risks dampening his morale by holding him back – he also risks getting fired if Peterson suffers a knee injury that puts him out for the year. For me the choice is easy – sit him. If the Vikings can’t beat Jacksonville without AP, they’re doomed anyway. [Star-Tribune]
  • Josh Morgan says RG3 is as fast as Michael Vick, can make the throws Peyton Manning makes, and he reads plays like Tom Brady. No pressure! []
  • Bills WR Stevie Johnson has had success against Jets All World CB Darrelle Revis – relative to other wideouts in the league at least. The Kentucky product says his groin injury is 90 percent healed – good news for fantasy owners of both Johnson and Ryan Fitzpatrick. [PFT]