KICKOFF: Thursday, 4:15 ET
SURFACE: Sportfield Realgrass
TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
SERIES: Ninth meeting. Cowboys lead series, 6-2. The last meeting occurred in 2003, when the Chad Pennington-less Jets lost, 17-6, at the Meadowlands. That game left the Jets in an 0-4 hole which they were unable to climb out of in an eventual 6-10 season. At the time, Pennington was out with a fractured wrist suffered in that preseason. In the last meeting between the teams at Texas Stadium, John Hall's 37-yard field goal with 1:35 left gave the Jets a 22-21 victory on Dec. 19, 1999. Ray Lucas threw two touchdown passes for the Jets.
PREDICTION: Cowboys 34-20
KEYS TO THE GAME: Jets RB Thomas Jones is coming off his third 100-yard game of the season, and must have another big game on the ground with first-year starting QB Kellen Clemens still erratic downfield. Clemens also could be without injured WR Laveranues Coles, who has half of the team's 12 touchdown catches this season. Jones has to be able keep the chains moving and help keep the Cowboys' offense on the sideline as long as possible. ... While QB Tony Romo continues to pile up impressive numbers, the Cowboys have a chance to get their running game back on track after gaining just 72 yards against Washington. The Jets are allowing 148.2 yards per game on the ground, although the defense played with renewed energy against Pittsburgh with DE Shaun Ellis having an impact in several snaps lining up at outside linebacker. LB David Bowens could be used in a spying role containing Romo outside the pocket similar to what he did against Ben Roethlisberger.
KEY INJURIES: Jets: Coles (high ankle sprain) is uncertain, but expected to miss at least one game. Cowboys: CB Anthony Henry (ankle sprain) continues to play limited snaps as the nickel back.
FAST FACTS: Thomas Jones and Cowboys RB Julius Jones will play against each other for just the second time in their NFL careers. ... The Cowboys are trying to reach 10-1 for the first time in franchise history.
JETS PERSONNEL NEWS:
The loss of linebacker Jonathan Vilma to a season-ending knee injury has forced the Jets to start rookie David Harris, a second-round pick. He has 45 tackles in his first three starts.
Abram Elam now has started four straight games at free safety. The Jets like his aggressiveness, but he has a tendency to go for the kill shot rather than the ball while in coverage. He also has a habit of whiffing on tackles in the open field. Against Pittsburgh, he missed QB Ben Roethlisberger after coming clean on a blitz.
Second-year QB Kellen Clemens will start his fourth game, and third straight. He has provided more of a vertical dimension to the passing attack than former starter Chad Pennington, and the Jets took several shots downfield against the Steelers, more than they would have with Pennington at the controls.
--WR Laveranues Coles (ankle) was quite limited in practice Tuesday. With a full week to heal, he probably could play, but he seems doubtful for Thursday's game, especially with so little time to prepare.
--LB David Bowens, a situational pass-rusher, has seen his playing time increase in recent games.
--FS Eris Smith (concussion) was limited in practice Tuesday.
--TE Chris Baker (back) practiced full Tuesday and will play. Baker had four receptions against Pittsburgh, tying a season high, despite having to stay in to block quite often.
--DE Eric Hicks was a healthy scratch against Pittsburgh. It marked the first time this season he has been inactive for a game.
COWBOYS PERSONNEL NEWS: WR Patrick Crayton missed practice on Wednesday after suffering a sprained ankle against the Redskins. He is questionable for the short turnaround for the Thursday game against the Jets. If he can't go Sam Hurd will start opposite Terrell Owens.
--WR Terry Glenn has yet to return to practice since having two arthroscopic surgeries on his right knee since Aug.1. He is still strengthening his hamstring is expected to begin running in a couple of weeks.
--WR Sam Hurd would start alongside receiver Terrell Owens if Patrick Crayton can't go because of a sprained ankle. Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said the team is confident in Hurd and believes he can do the job if called upon.
--DT Tank Johnson should see his reps slowly increase as he gets re-adjusted to playing football again. Thursday's game against the Jets is the third game that Johnson will play after being suspended for the first eight games of season for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
--QB Tony Romo is shining in third quarter this season. He has 12 touchdown passes and no interceptions during the third quarter in 10 games this season. His third-quarter quarterback rating is 140.6.
--WR Terrell Owens was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week following his four touchdown performance against the Redskins. It's his first such honor since joining the Cowboys in 2006.
INSIDE THE JETS CAMP:
The Jets are faced with the difficult task of stopping WR Terrell Owens, who is second in the league in both touchdown catches and receiving yards. New England's Randy Moss leads in both categories.
"He definitely puts a lot of pressure on defenses," CB Hank Poteat said of T.O. "It's always big when you have an opportunity to play against a great receiver like Terrell Owens. (But) you should approach each week as if you want to raise your game to the next level because whenever you get the opportunity, you want to be able to make a play for your team."
Owens seemingly took a verbal shot on a conference call with Jets' media. When asked about rookie CB Darrelle Revis, Owens said, "I don't know who that is. Once I step on the field, it doesn't matter who's out there."
Owens added, "that's not a slight on him or whoever he is."
The Jets' media availability already was over for the day, so Revis wasn't available for comment.
INSIDE THE COWBOYS CAMP:
A year ago on Thanksgiving Day, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had his national coming out party.
He was a nice story up until that point. He had led the Cowboys to four victories since coming out of nowhere to replace Drew Bledsoe.
But he blew up in a 38-10 Thanksgiving Day victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Romo completed 22 of 29 passes for 306 yards and a team record-tying five touchdowns.
The performance before a national television audience helped the Cowboys make the playoffs and helped Romo secure a Pro Bowl nomination.
No longer unknown, he enters this year's Thanksgiving Day game against the Jets as a national icon. He is the top rated passer in the NFC and has thrown for 27 touchdown passes and 2,848 yards. And since signing a six-year, $67 million contract during the bye week, Romo has thrown 11 touchdown passes.
Romo is on pace to break all of the Cowboys' single season passing records and is being compared to the best quarterbacks in the game today, even though he has only 20 career starts.
"I don't look at individual records very often. It's an empty feeling," Romo said. "It's neat you're doing it for other people to talk about. If we win and win a Super Bowl and do some things individually it's exciting. If you do it without, it's an empty feeling."
Coach Wade Phillips didn't know much about Romo before joining the Cowboys this season.
But he has been impressed with everything about Romo so far. Phillips worked with John Elway in Denver and said Romo has the tools to be one of the great ones.
Romo is two touchdown passes away from tying Danny White's team record of 29 set in 1983. He is also on pace to throw 46 touchdown passes this season. That would be the third most in NFL history.
"He's one of the top passers in the league. I think all the stats show that," Phillips said. "Now the game's a little bit different certainly, but when he's got 27 touchdown passes already that's right in there with the great ones that have been here. Now we throw the ball more than they did then, but I think he's one of the top quarterbacks in the league."
"He has that potential to be that. I wouldn't trade him for those guys," Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. "He still has a lot to prove. The way he makes those plays consistently, he's well on his way to being great."
Romo has a streak of 13 consecutive games with a touchdown pass -- the second-longest streak in club history behind Troy Aikman's 16 (1993-94).
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