The Dallas Cowboys will travel to Buffalo in hopes of winning a football game. Fans may not have those same hopes, but rest assured - Jason Garrett is going to try to get his team ready to fight. It is a privilege to play an NFL football game and he expects his players to treat it as such. While a notch in the win column will impact the teams draft position, there is a lot to be gained by having players learn to do the things they need to do to win football games. Just like people doing a Christopher Walken impression, losing can be an infectious disease, and it would behoove the Cowboys to take steps in the right direction to get out of this Dead Zone. No need to wait to until next season. Play good football right now. I think back to when a rookie linebacker picked off Peyton Manning to help win an otherwise meaningless game in 2010. These are moments players can build from that can help them going forward.
Buffalo enters this game will similar goals. Sitting at 6-8, the playoffs are not in the cards for them this season. They will look to get something established as some of their young players are having promising seasons.
Both starting quarterbacks for this game have something in common. Prior to this season, neither had started a game. They have been career backups who have seen little to no action. So which one of them can come up big on Sunday and make the plays needed to win the game?
When Dallas traded away a fifth-round draft pick to the Buffalo Bills for Matt Cassel, many fans felt like the Cowboys got a good deal. That perception may have changed now. One thing is for sure, the Bills liked what they had in Tyrod Taylor to where hanging on to Cassel wasn't necessary.
Taylor is having a great season. He's quietly been one of the better quarterbacks in the league this season. A lot of his success is similar to what Cam Newton does. He doesn't rack up a lot of yards in the air, but his mobility gives him about 40 yards a game. Like Newton, Taylor can be a little erratic with his accuracy. Sometimes he can hit his receivers in stride. Other times he'll miss-fire when he's got his target wide open.
The biggest problem for the Cowboys when going against Taylor will be making sure he doesn't escape the pocket and extend plays. The pass rush has been just a smidge late arriving to the quarterback at times this season. If the defensive line can't wrap up Taylor and allow him to move outside the pocket, it's not going to bode well for the Cowboys secondary to sustain their coverage. The Bills offense can conjure up some big plays and many of them often involve Taylor getting loose.
With Kellen Moore making his first start of the year, all eyes will be on the Cowboys young quarterback as the Cowboys try to pull out all the stops to get the offense rolling. Moore has some flashes of good play that he hopes to build on heading into the game against the Bills. Coming off a three-pick game last week, Moore is going to have to do a better job protecting the ball. Bills cornerback Ronald Darby is having a strong rookie season as the second-round pick has started all 14 games for Buffalo this season and has two interceptions. What makes Darby dangerous is how well he reacts to the ball and his ability to quickly recover. This could set the stage for Moore to be baited into throwing lanes that aren't really there.
The Bills have some good pass rushers and Rex Ryan is not afraid to bring extra heat. Moore has only thrown 25 passes in his young NFL career and is making his first ever start so it would be surprising if the Buffalo defense didn't come at him.
A lot of the excitement surrounding Kellen Moore comes from the mystery of the unknown combined with the playmaking upside that fans are holding their breath for. Fans had similar feelings in the preseason when it came to Jameill Showers. Forget about Brandon Weeden or Dustin Vaughan, as people had seen enough of them to be completely disinterested. Give us the kid. Well, Weeden and Vaughan have since been cut and Showers has been lingering on the practice squad, but it may once again be time to call his number. With Moore making the start, the Cowboys don't have another option in their back pocket should things go awry. Fans don't want to see Matt Cassel back out there so why not give Showers a chance if Moore struggles?
If Moore looks sharp, then this point becomes moot, but if he doesn't - it could be an option. Jason Garrett is all about rolling with the player that is deemed most qualified, but it would be entertaining if he pulled a Tom Landry and rotated the two QBs like Roger Staubach and Craig Morton. That's not a likely scenario, but if some unforeseen circumstances takes Moore out of the game, look for the Cowboys to resort to quarterback number five on the season with Showers getting a shot.