Greg Cote’s Wednesday NFL pick

The NFL launches its 93rd season with its first Wednesday game since 1948 — Harry Truman was president — to avoid conflict with Barack Obama’s Thursday convention speech. (Apparently Roger Goodell isn’t more powerful than the president of the United States, after all.) I’m a little surprised the NFL and host Super Bowl champion New York didn’t stand their ground and make Obama switch. After all, based on the economy and recent polls, the Giants had a better year than the president. You’d have a pretty fair debate arguing which is tougher: A president being re-elected to a second term or a team winning a second consecutive Super Bowl. Obama would be the fifth president re-elected in the Super Bowl era (since 1967), whereas only eight teams have repeated as SB champs, and none since New England in the 2003-04 seasons.

A pregame concert Wednesday at Rockefeller Center will feature Mariah Carey, No Doubt and Clint Eastwood ranting at an empty chair. (OK I made up that last part.) Play ball!

Cowboys at Giants

Line: NYG by 4.

Cote’s pick: NYG 27-20.

Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC.

King Sport has few true rivalries of the intensity and acrimony associated with college ball, but this NFC East grudge is one of them. That gives the underdog in this series a shot every time, and I don’t discount the Boys’ upset chances here, although I think it far more likely that those incessant TV shots into the visiting owner’s box will find Jerry Jones looking like he wants to fire somebody. Defending champ New York is clearly the better team and also on a stage that magnifies both its home-field edge and Eli Manning’s advantage in the poise department. Beyond the intangibles, the Biggies’ very strong pass rush will cause a living nightmare for rattle-able Tony Romo and that shaky Cows offensive line.

Note: Watch for our other Week 1 picks with this week’s return of the Friday NFL predictions page.