3 Things for Cowboys to win
1. Commit to running the football. Dallas was wildly successful running the football in the first half against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 and allowed an 8th defender in the box to completely change the game plan in the second half (only five 2nd half rush attempts despite having the lead). Even if you aren’t ripping off chunks of yardage one each carry or you suffer some lost yardage on a few touts, you cannont, I repeat you CANNOT put the ball in Brandon Weeden’s hands.
2. Open field tackling must be crisp. Devonta Freeman’s career day in Week 3 can be attributed to decisive and purposeful running, great blocking and Dallas’ inability to make tackles in the open field. The biggest perpetrator was safety J.J. Wilcox routinely lowering his head (losing sight of ball-carrier) and opting to deliver highlight real blows instead of making the sure tackles. The “form tackle” is certainly a lost art. Bring your arms to the party, drive through the target and make sure you ‘see’ what you’re hitting.
3. Don’t empty the backfield with Brandon Weeden taking snaps. The offense must change without Tony Romo in the lineup. Weeden isn’t going to dissect the defense. Make certain that play-action is a BIG part of what should be a conservative passing attack.
3 Things for Saints to win
1. Protect Drew Brees. Despite the offseason transactions and placing an “emphasis” on upgrading the offensive line the results simply haven’t been there. The offensive line needs to demonstrate some accountability and raise their level of play. They can start by keeping Brees clean as they are facing a Cowboys pass rush sans Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory.
2. Balance. Sean Payton is as thick-headed a play-caller there is. He MUST show some patience for a change and place an emphasis on finding balance. It doesn’t have to be a 50/50 split run and pass but Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills are gone and Drew Brees can’t spin it quite like he once did. Understand your personnel and play to their strengths. Set aside your ego, you’re 0-3.
3. Force Brandon Weeden to beat you. Which means you have to stop the run and force obvious passing situations. Weeden is terrible. In fact, recently acquired Matt Cassel is rumored to be in line to start Week 5 if Weeden face plants in this contest. With the expected return of starting defensive backs Jarius Byrd and Keenan Lewis sell-out to stop the run and take your chances with the aforementioned Brandon Weeden.
What to watch for…
The team that commits to running the football. Much of that has to do with controlling the line of scrimmage but it will also require a commitment from the respective play-callers. The outcome of this game will be largely determined by which team runs the football consistently and successfully.
The Front Office Says…
Headley likes the New Orleans Saints to win.
Juice likes the Dallas Cowboys to win.