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Giants prepare for Cowboys, and for unique atmosphere in Dallas

Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants

Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half at AT&T Stadium on Oct. 19, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Credit: Getty Images / Wesley Hitt

Now that the preseason is over, the Giants can start getting ready for the Cowboys.

And for Dallas.

They are not, in this case, one and the same.

So unique is the experience of playing in a season-opening game at AT&T Stadium that it requires special preparation. Especially for those who have never had the head-spinning sensation of playing in the most 'Murican of NFL homesteads.

Justin Pugh made the first start of his NFL career in the same situation two years ago -- opening night in Dallas, prime time -- and said he already has talked with rookie Ereck Flowers about it.

"He's probably not going to have experienced a place as loud and as electric as Dallas Cowboys Stadium," Pugh said. "That stadium was insane. That 100,000 people with the roof closed, it's definitely a loud atmosphere, so that's going to be a lot right in the beginning. Because in Dallas, they put on a show that first game. They try to put like fireworks and cheerleaders running around. You have to make sure you lock it in, so that's something I'm going to let him know because I went through the exact same thing."

Pugh noted that Flowers is a pretty focused fellow, so it shouldn't be too hard for him to stay that way amid the hullabaloo. Still, it's better to understand the atmosphere beforehand. So Pugh has been prepping him.

"It's definitely going to be something that he'll never forget," Pugh said. "Just go out there and calm his nerves down and go out there on that first play and just hit somebody. Kind of shake off all those jitters and just settle in and get ready to play one hell of a game."

Not everyone will find the carnival intimidating or distracting. Some Giants are likely to find it exhilarating. Giants who enjoy being in the spotlight of what is sure to be the most-watched game of opening weekend. Giants who are natural showmen on the field. Giants such as . . . Odell Beckham Jr.

"It's a familiar place and it's one of my favorite atmospheres to be in," the second-year receiver said. "I can't be more excited for Sept. 13."

Beckham played once in Dallas in his rookie season last year. He caught only four passes for 34 yards -- but two of them were touchdowns.

This will be his first NFL opener. He missed last year's with a hamstring injury. But it is somewhat familiar territory.

"I opened up my freshman year in college, LSU vs. Oregon, in Dallas Stadium," he said. "My last year in college it was LSU vs. TCU in Dallas Stadium. And now my second year in the league we get to open up at Dallas Stadium."

The Giants won their first four games at the Palace on the Plains. They've lost their last two there, though, and their last four total against the Cowboys.

They'll make their annual trip to Dallas this week looking to reverse those trends. And enjoy the sights.

"Any time you get to go into their stadium, it's pretty crazy," Beckham said. "Jerry's World and what they've invested into it. The big screen. And the field feels good. I'm very excited for it."

New York Sports