Gameday Primer: Cowboys @ Cardinals

Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys head into the desert looking for their fifth win of the season. Arizona is coming off of an excellent win against the Buffalo Bills. While Dallas is the favorite, the Cardinals are a completely different beast playing on their home field. Can Arizona neutralize the potent Dallas offense or will Kurt Warner be playing catch up all day?

When the Cowboys Pass:

A healthy dose of Terrell Owens and Jason Witten will be on the menu for the young Cardinals' defense. Adrian Wilson will be forced into coverage more than Clancy Pendergast would like and this will most likely lead to a solid run game for the Cowboys. Tony Romo has been a steady presence all season and it will certainly be a challenge for the Cardinals to contain him throughout the game.

With two high powered offenses going head to head, this will almost certainly be a high scoring affair. Look for T.O. to stretch the field, while Witten reaps the benefits of a spread out defense. His pass catching ability will be essential to the Cowboys success.

When the Cowboys Run:

Marion Barber and Felix Jones are quite the dynamic duo. When Julius Jones departed for Seattle, Barber finally had the backfield all to himself. However, with the emergence of another Jones, he may be back to square one. The Cowboys should commit to the run just enough to set up the pass. Expect a fair amount of rushing attempts, but most of the damage will be done through the air.

Just For Kicks:

Nick Folk has yet to miss a kick this season and if he keeps up his solid play, a Pro Bowl selection will most likely await. Having already made a 51-yard kick this season, his powerful leg has proven to be another asset to a loaded offensive attack. Felix Jones and Adam "Pacman" Jones are the core of the Cowboys' return game. Each has shown promise, with Felix Jones already running back a kick for a touchdown. This game could easily come down to a big special teams play.

When the Cardinals Pass:

Dallas features a similar defense as the Cardinals and that should bode well for QB Kurt Warner. While the Cowboys have solid linebackers and a disruptive front four, their secondary has been inconsistent. If the offensive line provides Warner enough time in the pocket, Arizona should have plenty of scoring chances on the afternoon. Although the return of Anquan Boldin is unlikely, it could be the potential boost that the Cardinals need to upset the Cowboys. Larry Fitzgerald should have another Pro Bowl caliber outing against a suspect secondary.

When the Cardinals Run:

Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower have been an adequate running back tandem this far. Although they lack the explosiveness of Jones and Barber, they make up for that in tenacity. Hightower, who is widely regarded as a Barber clone, should see plenty of touches this week. The Dallas linebackers can be punishing and James will need to be spelled more than usual. If the Cardinals defense is unable slow Romo and Owens, then the effectiveness of James will certainly be limited. The success of the running game almost completely hinges on the score and if the Cardinals will be able to control the ball.

Just for Kicks:

Last week's blowout provided no clutch kicks for Neil Rackers. This week will be a different story. Rackers must continue to be solid if the Cardinals are going to come away with the win. Any missed opportunities will take away much needed momentum. Steve Breaston has been solid in kick return duties, but if Boldin is unable to go as expected, J.J. Arrington should get another chance to contribute.


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