The Dallas Cowboys will face-off against the New York Giants this Sunday at AT&T Stadium in an NFL season opener that will put the unique advantages of the two formidable Nfc East teams to the test. Both teams are currently among the top-ranked favorites to win the division, making this season's kick-off an especially exciting and decisive event. But how do the Cowboys' strengths match up against the visiting Giants squad? Like any genuinely competitive match-up, there are a few key positions worth considering from both sides of the playing field.

Cowboys: Elliot's return and a strong coaching staff

The Dallas Cowboys enter Sunday's game with two important advantages: the potentially brief but highly anticipated reappearance of running back Ezekiel Elliot, and an effective coaching staff calling the plays.

Although Elliot may miss weeks 2-8 due to a pending six-game suspension, his presence during week 1's opening game is considered invaluable to many Cowboys fans and football speculators. With Elliot in the lineup, the Cowboys boast one of the best running games in the NFC East, if not the entire NFL. Even while his future playability remains in question, the Cowboys can still maintain an impressive offense by using backups Darren McFadden, Rod Smith, and Alfred Morris.

Entering his 29th season as owner of the Dallas Cowboys, owner Jerry Jones believes the team's current coaching staff is the strongest he's seen during his tenure. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is notable for guiding both rookie Dak Prescott and veteran Tony Romo toward success, and the redistribution of head coach Jason Garrett's responsibilities has seen the Cowboys claim two division titles in three years.

Giants: a defensive edge and an imposing offense

The New York Giants have built up a pool of serious talent since their 2011 Super Bowl victory, resulting in both offensive and defensive advantages that will only add fuel to the intensity of this season's opening game.

Despite coming off a down season, two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning is expected to perform at a level above the rest of the division's quarterbacks.

Manning's experience will be combined with the efforts of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall, with the hope of imposing a formidable offense during the opening game. The presence of first-round draft pick Evan Engram on tight end soundly rounds out the Giants' offense.

For defense, the league's widely lauded tackle Damon Harrison will be playing alongside Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul to create a tough hurdle for the Cowboys. Couple this with the Giants' impressive roster of secondary players, and it's easy to see how the team will be able to put pressure on any opposing quarterback.

Whatever the outcome, it's safe to say that pregame projections for the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants show signs of a competitive match-up that is sure to make for an engaging opener to the 2017 NFL season.