Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be insisting on a win from his Boys when they host the Carolina Panthers on prime time, Monday night.
The new $1.15 billion Cowboy Stadium will be rocking and surely filled to capacity in excess of 100,000 people tonight.
Though the 12th man wasn’t able to push the Boys over the top last week against their bitter rival, the New York Giants, the Boys may not need them to do anything other than cheer them on, drink beer, and buy Cowboys merchandise, while they pad their stats against the weak Panthers.
This season, the Cowboys have yet to register a sack which must be a sore spot, after recording the most in the league last year with 59. The Panthers RT Jeff Otah and LT Jordan Gross are both injured, and LB DeMarcus Ware who had 20 sacks last year, must be licking his chops.
Last year, LB Bradie James and NT Jay Ratliff combined for 15.5 sacks and will be looking to get on the board as well.
As we all know, Jake Delhomme isn’t the most mobile guy. He will surely find himself on his back a lot if he has to hang in the pocket waiting for wounded receivers, Muhsin Muhammad and Steve Smith, to get open.
While the 'Boys have been unable to get to opposing QB's, they have only allowed Tony Romo to be sacked once. Panthers DE, Julius Peppers, who had 14.5 sacks last year to lead his team, will try to reverse that trend and will need to if Carolina hopes to stop the prolific 'Boys offense.
Cornerbacks Chris Gamble (6’1") and Richard Marshall (5’11") will be matched up on the outside with wide receivers Patrick Crayton (6’0") and Roy Williams (6’2"). I would expect Gamble to cover Williams because of the height and speed mismatch were it to be reversed.
This leaves Romo’s favorite target, TE Jason Witten, who led the team in receptions last year, in position to have a big day with the absence of Carolina LB Na’il Diggs (Rib, Out).
In order for the Panthers to be able to win this game, star RB DeAngelo Williams will have to set the tone to compensate for the injured receiving corps. He will have a hard time running with injured tackles on each end, despite the fact that the 'Boys rank 23rd against the rush, which is actually their best defensive stat.
They also rank dead last in passing yards allowed at 303 per game and in overall yards allowed at 438.5 per game.
The only true injury that may affect Dallas, is to their running back Marion Barber who was limited in practice and is nursing a sore thigh; but Dallas is still deep at this position with second year men in Tashard Choice and Felix Jones; so they shouldn’t falter in the running game.
If Carolina can fight through their injuries and put up some points, they may hang around against a fairly weak defense in this game. But the crowd and the Cowboys will to win in the prime time spotlight overseen by Jerry Jones, should overpower Carolina in the end after wearing on the nagging injuries.
Too many guns for the cats to elude in the end!
Dallas wins 31-20.