Charlotte, NC - The Panthers play the Dallas Cowboys Sunday and here is a look at the offensive and defensive game plans for both teams.
The Panthers would like to get the ball often to running back Lamar Smith. Quarterback Rodney Peete has turned the ball over 2 times in both of the Panthers lost in the last two weeks. The Panthers get their play wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad back who was out the past two weeks with a hamstring injury. The Panthers have missed Muhammad the past two weeks in the passing game. With Muhammad back it will allow Steve Smith to go back to the second wide receiver this which will allow him to get the Cowboys number two cornerback and get single coverage. Tight End Wesley Walls who has a broken finger but will again play with it taped up like he did last week. The key is getting Muhammad back and allowing Peete to get back to the way he played this first two weeks of the season.
Quarterback Quincy Carter is the key to this game, he is plays well the Cowboy offense usually does well. Carter is up and down, but the Cowboys don't have to worry about the running game where they have a future hall of famer in Emmitt Smith. The Cowboys have three good wide receivers in Joey Galloway, Darnay Scott, and rookie Antonio Bryant. Tight End Tony McGee is a good receiving tight end.
The Panthers have the number one ranked defense and they have a good defensive line with Mike Rucker and rookie Julius Peppers at the defense ends. Both Peppers and Rucker can rush the passer and defensive tackles Brentson Buckner and Kris Jenkins and very good at stopping the run. Middle linebacker Dan Morgan is the leader of the defense and he is a playmaker who makes tackles all over the place. Mark Fields was a great off-season pick up and has made big play this season. The Panthers safeties is the strength of the Panthers secondary with Mike Minter and Deon Grant the big playmakers. Cornerback Terry Cousin is the best cover corner of the Panthers group. Look for the Panthers to get pressure on Carter and make it hard for him to get in a rhythm.
The Cowboys have a good defense and it all starts with their front 7, defensive tackle La'Roi Glover and linebacker Kevin Hardy where huge off-season picks up and they have play well this season for the Cowboys. Hardy and linebacker Dexter Coakley job will be to stop running back Lamar Smith on Sunday. Rookie Roy Williams is a very good safety along with Darren Woodson, but there is so question marks on the rest of the Cowboys secondary. The Cowboy's cornerbacks aren't very good and will have to stop one of the better wide receivers in the Panthers Muhsin Muhammad.
The Panthers defense will be the key on Sunday, look for Rucker and Peppers to get a lot of pressure on Quarterback Quincy Carter. Also look for Emmitt Smith to be held under 100 yards rushing. The Panthers will again give the ball to running back Lamar Smith over 20 times on Sunday and he will get close to 100 yards rushing. But again the game will be close, put this week the Panthers come up with a win at the end.
Panthers 20 Cowboys 17