So how will the new-look Dallas Cowboys respond this week after a tough loss to the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving Day? That's the question on the table as Jason Garrett leads his team into a game for the first time after experiencing a defeat. It's no easy task either as Dallas travels to Indianapolis to take on a Colts team that is desperate for a victory to keep pace in the playoff race.
The Colts and Peyton Manning have been struggling lately, but that can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, we're relieved to be playing a Colts team that has been losing and turning the ball over, instead of the machine-like team they've been putting out on the field for the last decade. On the other hand, you can't really expect Peyton Manning to continue to turn the ball over at the rate he has the last few games, and the Colts basically have to win their division for a playoff spot, so they absolutely need this victory.
The Cowboys will be waiting right up until game time to make a decision on ILB Keith Brooking. He's been troubled with a foot injury and we won't know if he'll play until he begin warm-ups and sees how it feels.
There's no such wait on Marion Barber - he's out - which means Tashard Choice is going to see a lot of playing time. This is a big opportunity for Choice, who really needs to impress the coaches, especially on special teams.
Dez Bryant was already on the Cowboys injury list with a back problem, he was listed as probable which means he should play. On Saturday the Cowboys sent out an additional injury report that lists an additional ankle injury for Dez. It probably won't change his status for the game, though.
The Colts injury list is long, as detailed here. We're not quite sure who will play and who won't, so that will be a huge factor that we'll only know closer to game time.
One thing the Colts know is their offensive line has to play better.
In a 36-14 loss to San Diego, the Colts couldn't run (1.8 yards per attempt) and experienced leakage in pass protection. Quarterback Peyton Manning was sacked only once but harassed often. An unofficial count had the Chargers knocking him around on nine of his 48 pass attempts, contributing to three of Manning's season-high four interceptions.
If we can get pressure without having to sacrifice cover guys to blitzes, then we could do some damage.
This will be a good test to see just how far the new-look Cowboys have come under Jason Garrett.
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