With the win on Thanksgiving and the Giants lose to the Saints, the Cowboys are sitting atop the NFC East at 7-4 with a one game lead. Their next task, towards the end of what many have interpreted as the softest schedule in the league over the past few games, is the Arizona Cardinals.
It’s not hard to see why people would deem a schedule of Seattle, Buffalo, Washington, Miami, and Arizona as a soft schedule with the teams combining for a 21-35 record, and that’s after Seattle and Miami getting a few recent wins under their belt. Make no mistake though, these are NFL teams and “Team Breakdown” could appear at any time. The one factor keeping that away though, has been the presence of DeMarco Murray and a run game. The reliance on the ground game has kept Tony Romo from forcing the ball and trying to make a play when it’s not there and that is one of the key factors in the righting of a ship that looked like it was going down early this season.
Going into Arizona, the Cowboys, and fans, should not take this game lightly. The Cardinals have beaten the Cowboys in their last two match ups, and the last on was with John Skelton at the helm, who may play if Kevin Kolb doesn’t. The key players the Cowboys should focus on for the upcoming game are Beanie Wells, Patrick Peterson, and of course Larry Fitzgerald. Any of those players could spell trouble.
Beanie Wells set a franchise record running for 228 yards last week, though he did so against the Rams. He has been battling knee problems most of the season and had issues with it during last week’s game. The Cowboys run defense should be able to contain him a little better than St. Louis did though.
Dallas hasn’t dazzled in special teams and they will be responsible for keeping Peterson from opening things up for the Cardinals offense. Peterson has had 3 returned touchdowns over the last 5 games. However, on the defensive side, Peterson has been below par in coverage, which is an area the Cowboys should look to exploit.
Lastly, you can’t leave out Larry Fitzgerald who is easily still one of the leagues best receivers. If Kevin Kolb plays it would likely benefit the Cowboys, as Kolb has struggled to run the offense successfully, but even with Skelton the Cowboys should look to keep a safety over the top on Fitz and force the Cardinals to beat them elsewhere.
Miles Austin is looking less likely to return this week. With the outstanding play of Laurent Robinson, his return can wait. The Cowboys are playing well on both sides of the ball and should have the edge in this game to go to 8-4 for their big NFC showdown with the New York Giants.
About the Author
Written by David Willow
My name is David Willow. Your NFL and Fantasy Jedi. I have lived in Dallas, TX most of my life. I have been following both football and basketball since I was a child. I love being able to research and analyze different players and teams. I've been a fantasy sports enthusiast for around 8 years with some titles to back that. I have a Bachelors degree in History with a minor in English. Other hobbies include me being part of an acting workshop for five years, playing guitar, and working out. Hit me up with any comments, questions or opinions.