Dallas Cowboys Game Previews
The suddenly hot Miami Dolphins roll into Texas on Thanksgiving to see if they can put a stop to the surging Dallas Cowboys. The bad news for Dallas, Leon Lett will be in the stadium on Thanksgiving Day but thankfully, won’t be on the field. Of course I kid, that play was (yikes I’m getting old!!) 18 years ago and of course we’ve forgotten and moved on but you can’t not think about it when Miami rolls into Dallas on Thanksgiving. Let’s just hope there isn’t some freak snowstorm.
Romo is looking to build on his 4-0 record on Thanksgiving. He’s on a very good roll at the moment having gone three games without throwing a single pick. That has translated into 3 straight wins for Dallas and a tie for the NFC East title. Combine the last 3 games with Romo’s impressive Thanksgiving record of 4-0 with 12 TD’s and 2 picks, tomorrow might be a great day for Romo and the Cowboys.
Don’t take the Dolphins too lightly though. Yes, they started the season 0-7 but they’ve won three straight and haven’t allowed a touchdown in any of those games. On top of that, the Dolphins roster, coaching staff and front office are filled with guys who are very familiar with Tony Romo.
While I focus on Romo here, I think the real reason for the Cowboys recent surge belongs to DeMarco Murray. His sudden emergence as the teams #1 back has helped balance the offense and given defenses more of a challenge at stopping the Cowboys offense.
The Cowboys are Dallas is 27-15-1 on Thanksgiving Day and coming off a 30-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints last year, a game Romo missed because of a broken collarbone. The Dolphins are 5-1 overall on Thanksgiving Day with a 4-1 record against the Cowboys. The last meeting between these two on Thanksgiving was in 2003 when the Dolphins won 40-21.
Enjoy your Turkey Day!!no comments
The 5-3 Buffalo Bills are coming to Dallas to take on our 4-4 Cowboys. The Bills are coming off an important loss to the Jets because it put them in third place in the division despite the Bills, Jets and Patriots all having a 5-3 record.
The Cowboys are coming off a win over the not so wonderful Seahawks and could REALLY use a win this week over the Bills as they are chasing the division leading Giants who travel to San Francisco, a play the Giants always have a tough time.
When it comes to the Bills and Cowboys getting together on the gridiron, we certainly have a few favorite memories.
1) Super Bowl XXVII – I’m 36 years old and I’ve rooted for the Cowboys my entire life but I was way too young to remember them winning in 1977 so this was the first Super Bowl for me. I love Super Bowls that come down to the wire but when it is your team, there is something great about blowing out the other team. I do try to forget the Leon Lett play from this Super Bowl though.
2) Super Bowl XXVIII – This one was a little closer, in fact, I was a little worried going into halftime that the Bills were finally going to figure out how to win a Super Bowl. I still remember Leon Lett coming out in the second half and making Thurman Thomas cough up the ball, which Dallas scooped up and returned to the end zone which tied the game. Dallas would score 24 unanswered points in the second half to win their second straight Super Bowl, one that the Bills probably should have won.
3) October 8, 2007 – The Cowboys went into Ralph Wilson Stadium and got completely out played. Romo couldn’t figure out anything offensively and threw 5 picks that night. The Bills appeared to win the game when Jabari Greer ripped the ball out of Terrell Owens' hands on the Cowboys two-point conversion attempt with 20 seconds left. But Dallas tight endTony Curtis recovered the onside kick to set up the Cowboys' game-winning drive. Nick Folk kicked a 53 yarder to win the game, or so they thought but the Bills had called a time out. Folk had to kick it again, which he did and the Cowboys won 25-24 sending them to a perfect 5-0 record.
So what are we watching for this time around?
Tony Romo – Lets not throw 5 ints this time around!!
Dez Bryant – With Austin out again, Bryant has to pick up the slack and it is time for this man to step into the spot light as a playmaker.
DeMarco Murray – Can he make it 4 straight impressive games?
Fred Jackson – He’s from Austin, Texas so he returns home as the NFL's third-leading rusher, and is facing a Cowboys defense that has given up a lot of yards on the ground in the last two weeks.
Stevie Johnson – He has 42 catches for the Bills this season. Witten is the only guy on the Cowboys with more catches this season (44).
Chan Gailey - I'm sure he'd love to beat the team that didn't give him much of a chance by firing him after two winning seasons.
I’d imagine this could get to be a high scoring game but hopefully a game the Cowboys can win.
This isn’t a must win game but it is certainly a game that could have huge playoff ramifications down the road so it is certainly a critical game. It is not going to be an easy game. First off, the game is in Philadelphia and we know how much Philadelphia loves the Cowboys. Second, if the Cowboys do win and drop the Eagles to a 2-5 record, one would have to believe that it would be very unlikely for the Eagles to recover from that. Those reasons alone make this game a very tough game for the Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys lead series 59-45-0 and have won 4 of the last 5 meetings.
Things I will be watching this week:
Running Game – I covered this yesterday and still stick to the thought that the team that successfully runs the ball, despite what the passing game does, will win this game.
Eagles Pass Rush – Will Garrett have faith in his O-line ability to protect Romo and allow him to drop back and take shots downfield or will he resort to the quick 3 step drop?
Eagles Secondary - All 3 of their top corners, Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Nnamdi Asomugha are excellent at playing man to man but they do spend a lot of time in a zone coverage, which I still don’t understand. Rom and the Cowboys WR’s will be facing what is arguably the best group of CB’s in the NFL.
However you look at it, this game should be a good one!! For those that need a little history lesson on the Eagles/Cowboys, I invite you to watch the following. It was made just before the Dallas/Philly playoff game 2 years ago but it gives you a lot of history which many people forget. One has to wonder what Buddy thinks about Rob Ryan working for the Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) visit the New England Patriots (3-1). The Cowboys have beaten the Patriots 7 out of the 10 times the two teams have met. However, New England has won the last 3 meetings.
10/14/2007 New England Patriots 48, Dallas Cowboys 27
11/16/2003 New England Patriots 12, Dallas Cowboys 0
12/05/1999 New England Patriots 13, Dallas Cowboys 6
12/15/1996 Dallas Cowboys 12, New England Patriots 6
11/15/1987 Dallas Cowboys 23, New England Patriots 17 (in OT)
11/22/1984 Dallas Cowboys 20, New England Patriots 17
09/21/1981 Dallas Cowboys 35, New England Patriots 21
12/03/1978 Dallas Cowboys 17, New England Patriots 10
11/16/1975 Dallas Cowboys 34, New England Patriots 31
10/24/1971 Dallas Cowboys 44, New England Patriots 21
I actually thought that a bye week for the Cowboys last week would have meant that I would have spent a lot less time hearing about Tony Romo. Sadly, that wasn’t true and I think I spent more time hearing about him. Hopefully this week and can leave the mistakes at home and bring his A game.
Here are a few of the things I will be watching this week:
Welker vs Cowboys Secondary:
I covered how great Welker has been and I am always amazed at how well Brady understands where Welker is going to be. Scandrick is one of the Cowboys best cover men and hopefully he watched some tape this week to see what Revis did against Welker.
The Weakness in the Patriots O-line:
That would be RT Nate Solder. He’s a rookie and he struggle to stop the rush. Hopefully Rob Ryan will throw things at the Patriots that confuse them a little. The Jets got to Brady four times last week and I personally thing the Cowboys have a little more talent on their line than the Jets, so if the Pats haven’t fixed this problem, Brady could see a lot of pressure.
Cowboys O vs Patriots D:
There are two things that seem to benefit Tony Romo going into this game. One, the Patriots secondary gives up entirely too much space when the opposing receivers run their routes. Two, the Patriots pass rush is less than desirable so Romo should get plenty of time to make the right decisions. The Patriots run defense, well that doesn’t look to be doing us any favors.
The only thing I fear about this game is trying to beat the Patriots at home. If this game were in Cowboys Stadium, I would be a lot more confident but the Pats aren’t easy to beat at home.
Of course the real matchup we care about doesn't come down to football skills at all. It's all about dance skills but like the game, this one is tough to call!!
This week we had a little Q&A session with our friends over at Foxboro Blog as we get ready for the Cowboys visit to Foxboro this weekend. Many thanks to those guys over there for answering our questions.
Q. Devin McCourty had a sensational rookie season but seems to be struggling this season. What is the story there?
- The story line here is that Devin McCourty is going through a sophomore slump. I was puzzled during the 2010 draft when the Patriots passed on a good playmaking WR in Dez Bryant for a cornerback out of Rutgers. Now, Belichick has made me look dumb. McCourty is good at covering players, but teams are throwing a lot on him this season. He thrives on making interceptions, but he just can not get a grasp for the interception this season. The Patriots need him to make plays. His tackles went down from eight to two last week. He is in a sophomore slump, but that does not mean he can't get it together. It will just take longer than we thought.
Q. Which new addition has made the biggest impact for the Pats so far this season?
- Honestly, its between two under the radar signings on the defensive line with Andre Carter and Mark Anderson. Carter came from the Washington Redskins and unlike Albert Haynesworth, he has made an accomplishment. He has 12 tackles and even .5 sacks. He plays a huge part in stopping the run, which the Pats had a top ten run defense a year ago after the Peyton Hillis debacle.My favorite move so far has been Mark Anderson. Out of New England's eight sacks, he has nearly four sacks! He played the 4-3 in Chicago and has become a good contributing tool to fix a third down defense that was the worst in the NFL last season. I would like to see him get more playing time, but this defense still is a work in progress.
Q. New England is viewed by many as a team with a good shot of playing in Indianapolis come February, but their Defense ranks 32 in Total Yards Allowed. What's the problem there and do you fear a point where Tom Brady won't be able to overcome what the Defense is allowing?
- The problem is a lack of a pass rush. The Patriots do have decent cover cornerbacks, but when you give the quarterback so much time to throw the football, they will eventually find a way to exploit the defense. Tom Brady can overcome it for now with his balanced offensive attack, but they need this defense to build off the positive stride that they made last week. True, the Jets have not a great offense lately, but the Pats still actually contained them for three quarters and kept the offense in the game for a time. The Patriots continue to put up thirty points per game, so all the defense has to do till December is not give up the big play. They can bend, but they rarely break and they are still one of the top teams in forcing turnovers.
Q. The Pats are 3-1. What exactly did Buffalo do right that the other three opponents failed to do?
- The Bills were able to do two things right in that 34-31 come from behind win. They were able to take away the run game, which takes the balance away from the offense. In the last two weeks, BenJarvus Green-Ellis is starting to turn back into the 1,000 yard rusher he was last year after just eighteen yards against the Bills. The emerging running back has also shined in Steven Ridley. Ridley had a good game against Oakland and only had six carries for 42 yards. If you make Tom Brady throw it 45-50 times, you will force turnovers. The Bills have a good defensive line and they were able to get pressure on Brady. If Dallas is going to win the game, they need to take away the Pats' running game and get pressure from DeMarcus Ware.
Q. In my opinion, the Cowboys v Patriots doesn't have a lot of flair to it since they don't play each other very often but what is the one matchup you are looking forward to seeing this weekend?
- On the field, I am looking to see if the Cowboys' defense, especially DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff can get after Tom Brady. Sebastian Vollmer is still out for the Patriots and although Nate Solder has played well at right tackle, he is still only a rookie. While the Cowboys have an average secondary, the pass rush is a strength. Off the field. I look at their new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. He has more success against Brady than his brother Rex has. Rob was the last defensive mind to hold Brady to under 30 points. He dials up schemes that just flat out confuse Tom Terrific and that is tough to do. If Brady can't solve this complex system Sunday, Dallas will pull the upset.
Q. What is your prediction for this weekend? The Cowboys are 16-5 in games following the bye week, can they improve that to 17-5?
- On Monday, I thought this would be a close game, but your defensive end Marcus Spears went out of line with his comment calling the Patriots the "gods of football" and sarcastically calling them the greatest team ever. Let's think for a second: Do you really want to give Tom Brady more bulletin board material to beat you? Yes, the Patriots are not the best team in football, but I think they will not slip up here. The defense continues to build strides from last week and forces two crucial turnovers from Tony Romo. Brady throws for three touchdowns as the Patriots go into the bye week 5-1.
PATRIOTS 35 - COWBOYS 24no comments
So we are a few hours away from the Redskins/Cowboys kickoff and the big question of the day is all about Tony Romo. It appears that he has given himself the green light to play tonight but he is still listed as “questionable” so right now we’ll just have to wait for the official word.
Should Romo take the field tonight, I can’t help but think that Jason Garrett would have to alter his protection plan just a bit. We can’t afford to let the Redskins get some good hits on Romo and hopefully Romo will keep that in his mind should he have to scramble around.
This game is all about surviving the injuries list for the Cowboys. We’ve already covered Tony Romo and my gut feeling is that Romo will be in there tonight. Jason Witten, like Romo, was fitted for a vest to help protect his rib injury (Witten has bruised ribs unlike Romo’s injury). Dez Bryant underwent treatment sessions this week for his bruised thigh injury and sounds like he should be able to go tonight as well. In fact, the most official publication I’ve read about tonight states: Only Miles Austin, Derrick Dockery, and Orlando Scandrick are definitely out.
So besides the Injury Report, what are we focusing in on tonight?
Dallas Defensive Front:
I want a HUGE game from DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff. I do believe that the Dallas line is better than the Washington O-line and hope to see Dallas shutdown the Redskins running game (not that it’s great to begin with) and get to Rex Grossman early and often.
He kills us. EVERY TIME we play this bozo, he kills us. Newman is back tonight and what better way to make a statement than to shutdown Santana Moss. The Cowboys have a banged up secondary and Moss always finds a way to get open but hopefully Ware and Co. won’t be giving Grossman time to wait for Moss to get open.
We’ve heard his comments and the guy’s an ass BUT it gives us something to watch. Tony has said he also heard the comments and invited corner blitzes.
Dallas needs a win tonight, no question. The Giants won yesterday to improve to 2-1 and a Cowboys win tonight puts 3 teams in the NFC East with a 2-1 record. The red hot Detroit Lions come into town on Sunday so a 2 game winning streak would be nice to bring into that game.
If Dallas doesn't allow Grossman to throw for 4 TD's like he did last December, the Cowboys can walk away with a win. I get the feeling this could be a tight, low scoring affair so I hope the Dallas D is up to the task.
As always, visit us on twitter during the game tonight. The hated Redskins are a rival so it will be a no holds barred kind of evening!!
Last Sunday’s loss meant a week of frustration for the fans, a week of being hounded by the media for Tony Romo and a lot of questions for the Cowboys coaching staff. As hard as it is to live through those kinds of weeks, you also need to be preparing for the upcoming game and it’s time for the Cowboys to move on.
Everyone expects the Cowboys to win this game because the 49ers appear to be somewhat of a weak competitor. Tell that to Seattle who saw the 49ers smother them on defense and delivered the knock out punches via Ted Ginn on special teams. If the Cowboys want to win this game, they best not take the 49ers lightly.
I liked what Jim Harbaugh did at Stanford and it appears to me that he’s trying to do the same things in San Fransico that worked for him in Stanford, which is finding a way for Alex Smith to be successful without being too risky. Harbaugh isn’t going to ask Smith to try and beat teams with the long ball but rather with a play-it-safe mentality. This worked against Seattle, with Smith going 15 for 20 for 124 yards. He did a nice job in the Seattle game of keeping his eyes down the field but running with the ball to convert third downs or putting his offense in positive positions through utilizing his backs underneath. The Niners don’t have a lot of weapons but one weapon they do have is Frank Gore. He’s not a fast guy but he’s physical and he will keep trying to ram the football down your throat and has the vision to see the creases and holes.
If the Cowboys can contain Gore, I think they should be able to cause problems for Alex Smith. Last week against the Jets, Ryan took DeMarcus Ware and moved him to the left side to rush against right tackle Wayne Hunter. Ryan could potentially do the same thing this week in order to matchup Ware against Anthony Davis. I would expect the front seven to create the same kind of pressure this week that they had on Marc Sanchez but will have to be careful of Smith finding those easy throws. Along with Gore, the 49ers have a talented player in Vernon Davis, who reminds me a lot of Jason Witten.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys will need to contain the 49ers front seven. Those seven guys did a good job last week against Seattle, who weren’t able to sustain blocks and found themselves having real difficulty moving the football. The 49ers corners are nowhere near the talent pool that the Cowboys faced last week so I would expect Miles Austin and Dez Bryant to have decent games.
Special Teams is where the 49ers really burned the Seahawks last week and the Cowboys will need to do a good job making sure Ginn doesn’t repeat his performance. Hopefully we’ve learned a valuable lesson on what happens when you do a poor job on protecting the punter.
I do think the Cowboys can come away with a win in San Fran and find themselves with a 1-1 record. If not, there is sure to be panic in the nation as they head into their Monday night battle with their longtime rival, the Washington Redskins in week 3.
As always, follow us on twitter for in game reactions to what we are seeing. @CowboysNation88no comments
I never like opening the NFL season on the road and I really don’t like having to travel to New York this weekend to open up against the Jets. They are a talented team on both sides of the ball and they’ve been able to appear in two straight AFC Championship games.
Here are a number of things I will be watching for during the game:
Demarcus Ware – Jets LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson will have the job of trying to stop Ware from getting to Sanchez. Ferguson is a very good LT but I am sure he will have his hands full with Ware who in turn will have a tough time getting past Ferguson. It should be a great battle. I would imagine that Rob Ryan will try to change things up occasionally and line up Ware against the RT when he can, giving Ware a better shot at Sanchez.
The Jets Corners – Darrelle Revis usually gets the job of covering the opposition’s best receiver but we don’t really know who the Jets consider the Cowboys best. Is it Bryant or is it Austin? It will take the Cowboys a little time to figure out what the Jets are doing with Revis. The Cowboys will have to get a little creative because they can’t line up in regular formation and expect to beat the Jets Press Man Coverage that way.
Jason Witten – With the Jets corners being so good, I think Jason Witten is going to get a lot of looks from Romo. Quick routes by Witten and screen passes to Jones should create some momentum for the passing game, however, Rex Ryan is too smart to not expect the Cowboys to do that.
Felix Jones – The Jets are great at stopping the run. If fact, they allowed only one 100-yard rusher last season (Forte of the Bears). A lot of focus will be on Nagy, Kosier and Costa to see if they can open lanes for Jones but the bright side going into this game is that the Cowboys did a decent job running the ball in preseason.
Cowboys vs the Run – The Jets love to use the run in order to setup boots and waggles and the Cowboys did an awful job of handling the run in preseason. The Cowboys MUST stop the run, force the Jets into passing the ball, this way Ryan can focus on bringing pressure to Sanchez. I’ll admit, the Jets big 3 receivers (Holmes, Mason and Burress) do scare me against our corners BUT I am not high on Marc Sanchez so putting pressure on him is a great thing. I don’t think Sanchez is that accurate when throwing the ball and he has a lot of balls knocked down and tipped at the line.
It should be an entertaining game and hopefully you will follow my tweets during the game. @CowboysNation88no comments
It's week 17 in the NFL and that is starting to mean one thing and one thing only in Dallas, a matchup with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. This will be the third year in a row these two teams meet but this game doesn't have as much meaning as the previous two. In 2008, the Eagles blew out the Cowboys and sent them home, missing the post-season. In 2009, the Cowboys beat Philly so grab hold of a home playoff game for the Wild Card, where they would meet and beat Philly. This season, Philly has secured the #3 spot in the playoffs and Dallas has been out of the playoff picture since October.
Mike Vick - Is apparenlty getting a rest this weekend in order to get ready for the playoffs. That means the Cowboys will get to see the Eagles 2010 project starter, Kevin Kolb. Not surprising really. I mean if you are Philly, yea this game is meaningless. You can't move up or down in the playoff picture so why chance you're possible league MVP getting hurt.
And just a side note about Mike Vick and he's had A LOT of press lately, especially from Tucker Carlson. As a dog owner, its despicable what Vick did but I am a firm believer that with certain crimes, when a person serves his time, we are to treat him fairly. Publicly saying that Vick should have been "executed" is just idiotic and wrong. Now back to the game...
Stephen McGee - Sounds like he gets the start for Dallas. The way the O-line exposed Romo early in the season and often had him running for his life combined with Kitna's inability to really be mobile, I never thought it would take to week 17 to have our #3 in at QB.
Eagles Defense - This will be THE THING to watch in this game. The Eagles struggled against a rookie QB last week and get to face another one this week. The Vikings really did a job on the Eagles D and if Philadelphia wants to have the words "Dallas" mentioned in their game plans after week 17, the defense better get stronger if they have any hopes of playing in Dallas in February.
Jason Garrett - This is the big story of the game for the Cowboys. This will be Garrett's last chance to show Jerry Jones that he's the man to be the head coach in 2011. Win or lose I am not sold that he is the guy to run the show but should he lose this game and end up with a .500 record, I will stand on a pedistal and declare that he is most certainly NOT the man for the job. I know, injuries to Romo, Dez and a host of others can't have my expectations above .500 but they are and Garrett has done a very good job at being a hard ass on this team, something Wade wasn't.
The question is, if the Giants miss the playoffs again this season and they decide to let Coughlin go, is that someone fans would want to see in a Cowboys sweater next season? The guy is a hard ass, as hard as they come but he certainly has a problem finishing things.
Please give me your thoughts on all this.no comments
Week 1 was a long time ago. The Cowboys were entering the season under Wade Philips with huge hopes of being the first to hosting team to win a Super Bowl. The 'Skins had a new coach, new QB and a new look offense. At the end of the game, the Cowboys drove the field as Romo found Williams in the endzone for the winning TD. Only one problem, a holding call on Alex Barron who was subbing for an injured Marc Colombo which cancelled out the TD and the . The 2010 season was on its way into a downward spiral. This way the season has played out, losing that week 1 game to Washington has made us ask what if Barron wasn't a complete idiot over and over.
Going into week 15, the Cowboys are the better of the two teams, having gone 3-2 in the last 5 games while the Redskins have gone 1-4 in that span. However, the Cowboys are still at the bottom of the division looking up at Washington.
If Dallas is looking for revenge on McNabb for beating them in Week 1, that might have to wait. According to a slew of reports, starting with Jay Glazer of Fox on Sunday, and now ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com, Rex Grossman could be the starting quarterback when Washington crawls into town on Sunday.
This game doesn't mean much outside of the Dallas and Washington rivalry. Both teams are headed back to the drawing board when the season wraps up in a few weeks. The Cowboys have looked much better under Garrett so I am hopeful that the Cowboys find a way to win this game.
So who wins? I'll take Dallas 24-17no comments