A Joke? A Pretender? That’s what about half of the experts have said about the Denver Bronco’s. Well the Cowboys are about to find out for sure. In Denver’s first actual test throughout the season, they meet a Dallas Cowboys team that faces the same media analysis as they do. This game has the makings of an epic battle, and I believe we’ll see one.
The Cowboys travel to Denver to meet an offense ranked 14th in the league. Offering a potent running game headed up by Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno, and a passing attack that offers one of the best receivers in the league. Their defense is even better, the Cowboys will be reunited with Brian Dawkins, Elvis Dumervil, and Champ Bailey who will all be looking to turn this game into an onslaught.
The Cowboys bring their NFL best rushing attack against an NFL defense that is ranked 1st in points allowed and 7th in rushing yards per game (78.3). However, the Cowboys can gameplan for this attack, and this is how they should do it:
1) Rattle Orton- Kyle Orton isn’t actually Mr. Perfect. He isn’t accurate and he isn’t strong. If the Cowboy’s rush can knock him down and sack him a couple times early, he’ll be throwing more quickly to avoid DeMarcus and Company, which equals poor throws.
2) Contain The Middle Of The Field Defensively- Brandon Marshall is a strong receiver who loves the middle of the field. We need to stop him from getting there and making big plays and first downs.
3) Cover The Slot- Brandon Stokley has had a pretty good season thus far, and is becoming a common target for Orton. It’ll be up to Scandrick and the Linebackers to make sure he doesn’t break out.
4) Protect Romo- Elvis Dumervil will be coming after Romo all day, which means Flo needs to have his A game. Romo will need the time to transform into the field general he was last week against Carolina.
5) Run! Run! Run!- The Cowboys need to embrace their new philosophy. The running game should prove effective, and the more we do it the better it will be. Consistent runs set up for Play Action which Romo is incredible at. If we can establish the run game, expect the air attack to open up perfectly.
Curtis Johnson, Hamstring- Out
Felix Jones, Knee- Out
Flozell Adams, Shoulder- Probable
Marion Barber, Thigh- Probable
DeMarcus Ware, Neck- Probable
Jason Williams, Ankle- Probable
Spener Larsen, Shoulder- Out
Ben Hamilton, Hamstring- Doubtful
Alphoso Smith, Ankle- Doubtful
Ryan Harris, Shoulder- Questionable
Brandon Stokley, Thigh- Questionable
Peyton Hillis, Head- Probable
Kenny McKinley, Illness- Probable
This game will be tough. It should stay close but I expect the Cowboys to prevail in the second half.
Dallas 31 Denver 17