Bills, Cowboys Preview


The Bills’ upcoming game against the Dallas Cowboys is a pivotal matchup for the division leader, with the Jets and Patriots facing off against each other in the night cap. The Bills, Jets and Patriots are all 5-3, with the Jets owning the tiebreaker over the Bills for first place.

The Cowboys have had an up and down season with Tony Romo under center. Some games the Cowboys look like they could win the Super Bowl and there’s other games where they look like they should be drafting in the top 5 of the 2012 NFL Draft. They found a gem in running back Demarco Murray who has provided a balance to their passing game. His rushing production along with the offensive line has given defenses trouble where they can’t solely focus on Romo. The Bills will need to initially stop the run in order to shut down the Cowboys offense. Wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten have the ability to stretch the field to complicate the Bills coverage schemes. Witten is athletic and will give our linebackers trouble in coverage, so look for him to be a main target for Romo.

The Bills offense needs to do the same thing they have done in all their victories, move the ball effectively. The Bills have so many weapons that they forget to use. If they can’t get Fred Jackson going early, they should use him as a decoy and let Fitzmagic throw the ball downfield. Although he makes some debatable throws, he still has the confidence in himself and in his team to make the big time throws. This will be somewhat of a home game for Jackson who actually grew up right where Cowboy Stadium now stands. His house that he grew up in was demolished to make room for Jerry Jones’ $1.3 billion facility.

The Cowboys struggle covering opposing teams’ tight ends so look for Scott Chandler coming up clutch on 3rd and long situations and also for big plays in the redzone. If the ball gets spread between the receivers and tight ends, that sets up either a draw play or a screen play for Jackson. Rob Ryan is the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator and he is known for sending several blitz packages so if the Bills can negate that with a few solid gains, the Cowboys will eventually drop more into coverage, opening up more opportunities for the offense.

I imagine “America’s team” will be anxious to get a win and get back in to the fight for the NFC East. But the Bills players are all aware of the hatred between the two teams on the field today. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl in 1993, the last of 4 straight seasons that the Bills found themselves in the big game. The Bills shouldn’t need any more motivation than that.