The NFL regular season is ready to start! Kicking off the action will be two NFC East rivals: the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that New York’s considered the favorites on the NFL odds boards here in Week 1. The Giants will be at home after-all.

But who are the players the watch out for the hosts?

You’ve got to start at quarterback with Eli Manning, who just led these Giants to another Super Bowl last season. He grew by leaps and bounds in 2011/12, taking over the mantle from his brother Peyton.

It helps to have lethal receivers to target and Manning certainly had that. Hakeem Nicks was already an effective piece in the passing game, but it was the emergence of Victor Cruz that really took the offense to another level.

A strong passing game helped matters, though one could argue that New York’s defensive prowess, especially in the closing stages of the regular season and the playoffs, was what turned the tide and led to a Super Bowl trophy.

It was a defense anchored by dominant defensive ends like Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck. In the secondary, Antrel Rolle and Corey Webster were the main contributors.

Pierre-Paul is the guy you really have to keep an eye out for if you’re an opposing offensive coordinator though. He amassed a ridiculous 16.5 sacks last season and also forced two fumbles.

Those are the players the Cowboys are going to have to contain if they have any hopes of beating the reigning champions. New York should be full of confidence after winning it all, though there’s now a huge target on their backs for the new season.

Will the Giants’ key pieces be able to lead the team to an opening Week 1 win?