Dallas Cowboys (6-6) vs Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
One of the bigger games of the week in terms of playoff implications features the Dallas Cowboys travelling to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in afternoon play. Dallas is coming off a big win against the lowly Eagles, while the Bengals went on the road and took care of business in San Diego. Both teams will need a win to keep pace in the hunt for the wild card as the regular season dies down.
The Cowboys finally have a healthy DeMarco Murray running the ball, and the offense just looks better with the run/pass balance that he brings to the table. He keeps teams honest, which means Tony Romo doesn’t have to sling the ball 50 times a game – which usually results in a Cowboys loss.
The Bengals have been consistent for most of the season and feature a great defensive line that are leading the league in getting after the quarterback with 39 sacks. Dallas doesn’t have a great O-Line, but Romo is fairly elusive in the pocket, and is at his best when he’s stretching the play. Look for this to be a key matchup in the game.
Star sophomores AJ Green and Andy Dalton have been a great combo again this year and will be tested against the Cowboys secondary which ranks in top 10 with 220 yards a game allowed through the air. I keep saying it, but the Bengals need someone other than Green to step up with Mohamed Sanu out for the rest of the year. Although Dallas’ linebackers are banged up, Jermaine Gresham might have a tough day as well.
Cincinnati will need to mix in their running attack, which has been a big improvement over the last month as Green-Ellis is comfortable in the offense. It’s starting to get cold out, so teams generally have better success when they establish the run in these types of games. Look for Green-Ellis to get the ball a lot early on and into the 4th quarter if the Bengals can maintain the lead. Dallas has proved that you can run against them, as shown last week by Eagles rookie Bryce Brown who torched them for 178 and 2 TDs.
Both teams need a win in the worst way, with Dallas needing one more in my opinion. I think this is a game that they will come back and win late, and close – maybe by a field goal. I like that Murray is back and it has opened up Jason Witten and Dez Bryant who has been great the last month.
I don’t think the Bengals will have enough offense to get the job done in this one, so for them to win, they will need to shut down Murray and force Romo to beat them. Romo is still a top 10 quarterback in the league, and doesn’t get enough credit for the good that he actually does. If they had anyone worse than him, this would be a last place team. Romo’s ability to find his playmakers, when they run the right routes, is his bread and butter. He will need to keep moving the chains to save their season and bring them closer to the first place Giants.
Give me the Cowboys in the this one
Look for Romo, Bryant, Witten, Murray, Green Ellis, and Green to have big games