Dallas Cowboys: What to Look for in Cowboys' Upcoming Opponents
The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in the perfect situation this opening weekend: having already notched a conference victory and sitting back to scout future opponents in Sunday's lineup of games.
Here are a few things Dallas fans can look for on Sunday as they continue to revel in the big Wednesday night win.
Dallas' next opponent, Seattle, has gone to great lengths to upgrade their receiver corps in the offseason and find a QB that will get them into the playoffs.
Despite signing Matt Flynn to a significant deal and giving Terrell Owens an extended tryout, Seattle settled on Russel Wilson and Braylon Edwards for their QB and No. 1 receiver. Flynn will be backing up; T.O. was told to pack up.
The Seahawks should have their hands full with the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona finished 2011 very strong and looked especially tough on defense. How will Wilson handle the pass rush? Will he read the defense quickly enough? Can he keep his eyes downfield while avoiding blitzes? Can he be rushed into poor throws? How much will he hurt the Cardinals with his feet?
When Dallas plays the Seahawks next week, they will be getting their first evaluation of how the new Cowboys defense will hold up to a mobile QB. This is important, since Dallas now inhabits a division with two mobile QB's that they must face twice a year. One fourth of their games will come against offenses that are built around scrambling, running and dangerous QB's.
And don't forget Seattle's defense, which ranked 9th in yards allowed and 7th in points allowed in 2011. Those are pretty impressive numbers, given how little help they got from their offense last year. They were ranked 28th last year in total yards and 29th in time of possession, meaning their defense got little rest.
So it will be with great interest that Dallas scouts Seattle to see how stiff a test they will face the following week. Ideally, Wilson will be good enough to challenge Dallas and give them a tune up for those Eagles and Redskins games, but not good enough to actually win the game.
Following the Seattle road trip, Dallas comes home to play the Buccaneers led by new coach, Greg Schiano. Schiano got Josh Freeman some help in the offseason by signing veteran receiver Vincent Jackson and tight end Dallas Clark, as well as right guard Carl Nicks.
It will interesting to see how much these additions help Freeman, who is entering his third year at quarterback. In an era when teams are expecting more from their QB's at an earlier date, the matchup between the Buc's and the Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers should be interesting.
Will Freeman rise to the occasion, knowing that his performance will be compared to Newton's by every NFL pundit in the country?
The Cowboys will be watching to see how much better Tampa's offense has become. Dallas had little trouble with Tampa last year, but that was before Freeman had these veteran targets and a more discipline-minded coach.
The second home game for Dallas comes against the Bears, and once again the big question going into this Sunday is: "How much will their QB benefit from new weapons and a new coach?"
The Bears have re-united Jay Cutler with Brandon Marshall and they have added second round pick Alshon Jeffery. While the head coach remains Lovie Smith, the offensive coordinator position has been handed to Mike Tice.
On defense, the Bears have gotten another year older and another year slower. They are in the position where the veterans speak of experience and mental approach making up for diminishing speed and athleticism. That sounds fine in interviews, but out on the field with kids in their early to mid twenties, speed kills. And lack of speed gets you beat.
The Bears play the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, so they should notch a win, but watch to see if anyone on their defense scares you going up against the likes of DeMarco Murray, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and company on Monday Night Football, October 1st.
The other unit to keep an eye on is the Bears offensive line. Can they provide better protection this year? If not, the addition of Marshall may not have much of an impact, especially when they play teams with a pass rush like Dallas possesses. They should look fine against the Colts, who have little talent on defense, but if you see them struggle, you can bet that Rob Ryan is grinning through his beard.
So there you have it. Several games to watch or at least check in on this weekend to see what Dallas will be facing in the near future. It's probably early hubris setting in, but I don't know that any of these teams is half the problem that the Giants posed. We'll have a better feel for that when the dust settles Sunday afternoon.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?