The Dallas Cowboys will need to perform better against divisional foes if they plan on reaching the 2012 NFL playoffs. They posted a 5-7 combined record in that situation the last two years.

New York Giants QB Eli Manning won both meetings with the Dallas Cowboys in 2011

The Cowboys are currently three-point road underdogs against the New York Giants in their Week 1 regular-season matchup on Sept. 5, while the total has moved up a half point to 47.

Sports bettors will need to be cautious in backing America’s Team in the season opener. The franchise has registered a 2-10 against-the-spread (ATS) record versus NFC East opponents since 2010. They have also failed to cover the spread in six of seven games as an underdog of three or fewer points in that role.

Dallas is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games on the road in this series, including a 31-14 setback as three-point underdogs at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 1. It’s still important to note that the Cowboys are on a 25-14 ATS run in September when playing away from the Lone Star State.

New York is the defending Super Bowl champion, and will enter the 2012 NFL season on a 6-0 ATS run, which includes four spread victories during last year’s postseason run. The Giants managed to cover just one of three home games against divisional teams last year.

Eli Manning has become one of the league’s elite players, but the Giants signal-caller is a disappointing 31-32-1 ATS at home during his career. It’s a statistic that shouldn’t carry too much weight in this matchup, considering Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is 19-20-1 ATS on the road.

I’m going to recommend taking the points at this juncture, as the Cowboys performed well in last year’s season opener against the New York Jets in this stadium, ultimately dropping a 27-24 decision as 6.5-point underdogs.

Dallas will also be playing with double revenge after dropping both series meetings a year ago.

Early Pick: Dallas Cowboys +3

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