First of all, I think this is a great spot for us. We've given ourselves the luxury of playing this game without a ton of pressure. I thought we'd be in decent shape at 2-3 after the Philly with six games in a row we can reasonably win. Now, at 2-0, I'd say 3-2 at that point is most likely, with a shot to be 4-1. So, we are ahead of the game.
I want to win one of the next two, enter the BYE at 3-1, and then see where we stand when we face the Eagles. A loss on Monday will be far from devestating. And our team should enter the game confident and excited about the opportunity. All in all, it's a good spot. I'm going to be there and I think I'll be more psyched than nervous come gametime.
My early thoughts on the game (which could change as the week progresses)
--Their injury situation is huge...much bigger than ours. Miles Austin means more to them than Landry means to us, in large part because we haven't had Laron in so long that we're used to playing without him. Austin is their top playmaker and he is a threat in all areas of the field. He will be a huge loss if he can't go. Not as concerned about Jones...but if he's out, that is one less speedster to deal with: Choice and Murray are solid, but not gamebreakers. I'm sure Romo will play, but he's going to be sore I'm sure. If Bryant, Jones, and Austin are ALL out, that is a huge swing in our favor.
--When healthy, I think Dallas poses particular match-up issues for our defense. Major improvements on D and we've upgraded team speed, but we can still use some more. I think we will do well against the more physical teams like NYG, NYJ, etc. on the schedule and struggle with teams that have burners (Dal, Philly). Romo has always played pretty well against us and has always been able to make plays outside the pocket. We should be better about that now, but I still do respect how he's played against us overall.
--As always, Ware scares me, as he should. Arguably the best pass rusher in the game....Ryan blitzes anyway, and in our first two games, both defenses have tried to get to Rex and this will be no exception.
--Let's face it, Rex has been really good so far, but we'd all be lying if we said we didn't think he was due for a bit of clunker sometime soon....I don't expect him to crap himself or anything, but Dallas is the best front seven he's seen so far and it is on the road....I could see him being less efficient this week.
--I'd like to see us come in with a fairly conservative gameplan. The Cowboys will be coming after Rex, so I'd like to see us counter with some draws, screens, etc.. even if they don't net big gains, I'd like to see us make them respect the underneath stuff. Not sure we can just line up and blow the Boys off the ball like we did Arizona--we might need a bit more creativity. I see this game as a really good test for Kyle. What he's done in the first two weeks has worked really well, but a good playcaller/gameplanner anticipates what MIGHT NOT work and adjusts before it happens. I'm not saying he needs to scrap his playbook, but I think a little twist will be necessary Monday Night.
--Ultimately, history gives me pause. The past probably has nothing to do with what will take place in the here and now, but as a fan, it's hard to ignore. We have lost 16 of our last 19 in Dallas...read that again...we are 3-16 down there since 1992. And it took a miracle to get one of those.
Right now, I see Dallas 24-17...but that could change as more injury info comes in and I think about it some more...