Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Cowboys next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Arizona Cardinals.
The Opponent: The Arizona Cardinals, who in retrospect probably should have folded at the exact same time Kurt Warner retired.
The Line: Cowboys by 4.5. The dreaded road favorite tag pops up, and just as Tony Romo is hitting December. I shiver at the notion.
Last Game: A 23-20 win over the Rams that featured Beanie Wells hanging two bills on the St. Louis rush defense and Patrick Peterson returning yet another punt for a touchdown. The fearsome John Skelton threw two picks and had a passer rating of 30. THE STUFF LEGENDS ARE MADE OF.
The Coach: Ken Whisenhunt. What do you do with Ken Whisenhunt? He's the only coach who has ever taken this organization to the Super Bowl. But since then, they've been ghastly. I've never been more unsure of a coach's competence in my life.
The Offense: If you count Peterson's punt returns as part of the offense, it's not bad! But if you don't, then it's horrid. Kevin Kolb, who has missed three straight games, is expected back this week against the Cowboys. But Kolb has struggled all season long, getting sacked at an inhuman rate and turning the ball over pretty much any time someone asks him to. However, it's worth noting than Larry Fitzgerald is still around to make Kolb look good by snatching any number of errant passes out of the air, so the Cardinals are not to be taken lightly, least of all by a Cowboys outfit known for playing down to the competition. Also, Wells is coming off a career game and could help make things easier for Kolb in play action. I'll say this for the Cardinals: They aren't mailing it in down the stretch. Let them beat you, and they'll happily oblige.
The Defense: Bad. It's the 27th ranked pass defense in all of football, which means that Tony Romo should have ample opportunities to find Laurent Robinson and Dez Bryant in deep coverage. Of course, that's just what the month of December WANTS to Tony Romo to do. It tempts him with depleted secondaries and soft zone coverages and when he finally gives in and starts throwing the ball EVERYTHING GOES HORRIBLY WRONG.
Key Matchup: Peterson versus the Dallas punt coverage team. Guess who hasn't allowed a punt or kickoff return TD this season? Why, it's your Cowboys special teams, who face their toughest challenge of the season with the explosive rookie. Neutralize him, and the game is half won.