August 22, 2008 : Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys during a preseason game against the Houston Texans at Texas Stadium in Irving.
The Opponent: The Dallas Cowboys, a.k.a. America’s Team, because America is apparently filled with bandwagon-jumping losers.
Record: 4-8 and mathematically out of playoff contention. Yet still so very DANGEROUS!
The Line: Eagles by 3.5. The dreaded road favorite tag. The Eagles were road faves against Chicago. You saw how that turned out.
Last Game: A thrilling 38-35 overtime road win against the Colts that may have signaled the death knell for Peyton Manning this year. The Cowboys housed two Peypey picks and ran Tashard Choice all over the Colts defense. The Cowboys are 3-1 in the past four games and easily could have been 4-0 had Roy Williams not gone and fumbled away that game against New Orleans on Thanksgiving.
The Coach: Stately Jason Garrett, who is now a virtual lock to be this team’s coach in 2011. It’s clear as day that Dallas has been a much better team under Garrett -- more disciplined, more focused, more passionate. If he had been installed as coach a few weeks earlier, this game easily could have had playoff implications for both teams. Alas, the Double J was slow with his trigger finger.
The Offense: Jon Kitna has played well, but I see no reason why Asante Samuel can’t come back and jump on his throws. The Cowboys will also be without Dez Bryant this week, who busted his ankle against Indy is out for the rest of the season. Expect lots and lots of Tashard Choice as Garrett tries to keep the ball away from Michael Vick.
The Defense: Again, playing much better as of late. The pass rush got to Manning often last week, and they’ll be out for blood against Vick, who must learn to avoid contact before being drawn and quartered out there. The linebackers are lousy at pass coverage, which means LeSean McCoy should be able to get some big receiving numbers.
Key Matchup: DeMarcus Ware vs. Jason Peters. Keep that Dallas pass rush in line, and Vick can again do what he does best.