When the Cowboys picked David Buehler in the fifth round of last April's draft, it seemed like the latest evidence that it was time for Jerry Jones to take off his general manager's cap and give it to someone with a background in evaluating personnel. Double J's PR staff only made it worse by crowing about Buehler's athletic prowess.
He can leap over a Honda Civic! He can perform a swan dive! He holds the USC record for most tater tots eaten in 30 minutes (non-lineman division)! Buehler could do everything, it seemed, except make it possible for the Cowboys to avoid using two roster spots for kickers. The joke was on us, though.
Touchbacks are only slightly sexier than a Flozell Adams swimsuit calender, but they're pretty important when you're facing someone with Percy Harvin's skill set. The Vikings rookie took two kicks to the house this season and routinely set Brett Favre up with killer field position after snaking his way through opposing coverage units. Eliminating that dimension from the Vikings attack would be a major coup for the Cowboys, and Buehler's got a good chance of doing it.
Crunching the numbers in advance of Sunday's game finds so many similarities between the two teams that it is hard to see a real edge. Both teams can rush the passer, both teams have oodles of offensive weapons and both teams have quarterbacks who can win games by themselves or lose them in a hail of interceptions. Special teams could loom large and, thanks to Buehler, the Cowboys can feel confident that they won't give up a back-breaking play on a kick return.
Maybe Double J's not such a bad G.M. after all?