To put it bluntly, it is fairly easy to see how the Cowboy's could lose another game going into Monday Night Football versus the division rival New York Giants. With all the troubles Dallas has had with the offensive line, play selection and penalties, the future looks bleak for the rest of the 2010 season.
In order to salvage the embarrassment of a previously highly-touted team, the Cowboys will have to hit the ground running on Monday Night Football and win the next five games in the schedule.
The upcoming game Monday is in the new billion dollar Dallas stadium that will host this year's Superbowl; a stadium that the 'Boys have yet to win a single game in. Mired in fan disappointment with the current coaching staff and missed expectations, the Cowboys face the possibility of a 1-5 record from which no team in recent history has made the postseason. Do the Cowboy's have a chance? Let's break it down.
When comparing the two quarterbacks this season, it's almost a wash. With the running game, New York CLEARLY has the advantage with Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw carries the bulk of the Giants' runs giving way to Brandon Jacobs one-third of the time. Bradshaw has over 580 yards in 110 attempts, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. For Dallas, the Cowboys can't really seem to decide between Felix Jones or Marion Barber - either way with the poor production of their offensive line, neither back even has 250 yards rushing. Last week, Dallas showed that Felix might carry the bulk of the yards with Barber being utilized in third down and goal-line situations, but the poor blocking and eventual abandonment of the run proved to fans that the Cowboy's running game still lacks identity. Advantage New York
For receiving, New York has clearly shown that Hakeem Nicks is the go-to guy especially inside the red zone. If Dallas' defense is watching enough game film this week, they'll keep their zone coverage mid-to-shallow to prevent Manning's dink-and-dunk tactics while emphasizing coverage on Nicks and Steve Smith. Tony Romo theoretically has more weapons with Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
As for the Defensive units, Dallas could really be in trouble. Not counting Dallas' ability to refund yardage with penalties, Osi Umenyiora will likely have a field day with Dallas' offensive line, or create enough havoc that the blitz package will allow someone else to have a huge day stat-wise, like Kiwanuka. New York has also proven that they can create A LOT more take-aways. Otherwise, Dallas has a slightly better pass defense and an almost similar run defense. The problem is, that turnovers create wins, and Dallas doesn't seem to be able to do that this year.
As it stands on paper, the Giants are statistically similar to Dallas in every way, but hold the clear advantage in the running game. Tony Romo is having a relatively mediocre year for himself while the entire team is showing the effects of poor leadership and misdirected and unguided talent. If the Cowboys are able to hold up the running game, then the only real threat that they will face is themselves.
Talent-wise, Dallas would win this game, but talent doesn't guarantee victory; leadership and execution do. If the Cowboys still have no identity in their running game on Monday, still commit penalties and still haven't addressed the problems in the offensive line, they stand to lose this game. The X-factor is the necessity of this win for both teams. New York will need to win this game to stay competitive with the Eagles and stay above the blue-collar Redskins. Dallas absolutely needs this game to stay somewhat competitive in the NFC for some sort of Wild-Card berth, AND to fend off the naysayers.
The question mark still remains on special teams. Can Buehler finally show that he can kick a field goal outside of 45 yards with any consistency? Can the special teams finish plays with tackles and limit yardage on kick returns? Oddly enough the ability to win may just rely on the bottom half of the Cowboys roster. If they can perform to expectation, then Dallas should win, otherwise it's a coin toss when you factor in penalties and errors by the Dallas Cowboys. Either way, this Monday Night is not a safe night to put money on.
Either Dallas will win or Dallas will beat itself.
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