5 Keys to a Cowboys Victory

Here is a good at what the Cowboys need to do pull out the win tonight in Houston. Dallas enters the game this evening as an 8.5 point favorite over the expansion Texans, but with questions on the offensive line and in the secondary, the oddsmakers might be a little generous.

Run, Emmitt Run
Some experts are predicting a big game for Emmitt Smith against the Texans, and make no mistake, a healthy dose of the future Hall of Famer will go a long way in taking some of the pressure off of second year quarterback Quincy Carter. The Texans's defense is vulnerable, and it will be important for the Cowboys to establish a strong running game early to help take the crowd out of the game. Anything less than 100 yards tonight is unacceptable.

Ready to Lead
No secret here. The offense will only go as far as QB Quincy Carter can take them this season. As teams begin to key in on the Cowboys' running game, it will be important for Carter to respond with a consistent and accurate passing game. Carter had a strong offseason, and a solid training camp, now it's time to produce results on the football field. Carter must limit his mistakes and lead his team to touchdowns in the redzone.

Secondary Enforcements
Will Bryant Westbrook finally prove his worth this evening against a rookie quarterback and a group of wide receivers that are mostly unproven in the National Football League. What about Roy Williams? Could he be used on the blitz to help neutralize David Carr? These are just some of the questions that will begin to be answered tonight. With a patchwork offensive line, La'Roi Glover and company should have their way up front, which in turn should immensely help the Cowboys' pass defense. The Cowboys secondary will likely be in the position to make some big plays tonight, whether or not they come through will go a long way in determining whether the game is a blowout or a nailbiter.

Get Your Kicks Early
Rookie placekicker Billy Cundiff had his moments this preseason, but how will he respond when the pressure returns when it all counts for real? Cundiff has shown a strong leg, but he missed his biggest kick of the preseason in a potential 22-yard game winning field goal against the Carolina Panthers. Cundiff needs to have a strong game to give him some confidence headed in the rugged NFC East schedule.

Get Healthy Soon
The Cowboys offensive line has been decimated with injuries this preseason, and tonight will be the first time in almost a year that all of the first teamers will be playing together again. Fortunately, the Cowboys will own a decided size advantage which should allow offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet to rest a little easier. How quickly this unit gels will be crucial in the Cowboys getting off to a good start this year.

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