When Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones poured billions of dollars into his roster and a brand new stadium, he envisioned his team making history by becoming the first to host a Super Bowl on their home turf. Instead, he has a team that could be on the brink of not making the playoffs already in just the third week of the 2010 NFL season.
While it is easy to point at an inept offense that is ranked 26th in scoring, the defense hasn’t been much better and is the 19th best by allowing 40 points already. They are minus 13 in scoring differential, also ranked 26th. Not a formula a team with postseason aspirations needs to start out the season.
One major part of the criticism is directed at offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who pundits feel is castrating the team by throwing too much. Quarterback Tony Romo, whose 51 pass attempts last week in a loss to Chicago was the second most attempts of his career, went before the media recently lamenting the lack of rushing attempts so far.
Romo, who threw 47 balls in their first week loss to Washington, career high of 55 attempts last year against the New York Giants was also met with a loss. The three-time Pro Bowler is at his best, as are the Cowboys, when there is better offensive balance.
The media keeps piling up on Garrett. Darren Woodson, a former five-time Pro Bowl safety with Dallas, was heard on television telling Garrett to know his teams identity and to run the ball more before he finds himself run out of town.
Perhaps Jones waited too long to make this move, despite their 2009 success, because Garrett has a history of what is best described as “brain farts” in the most crucial moments. With more experienced and accoladed offensive minds out there after 2009, like Mike Martz of the Bears team that just beat Dallas, Jones probably should have pulled the trigiger to further teach the 30-year old Romo more on how to play quarterback.
Now the face a Houston team brimming with confidence and undefeated. Despite missing Preo Bowl and 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing at linebacker, they have given up only 102 total rushing yards so far. Their defensive weakness has been in the pass, allowing a whopping 822 yards so far.
It is very tempting to eschew the running game one more week and attempt to get into a shoot out with Houston before hosting the Tennessee Titans the following week. However, this strategy could backfire on them.
Not only is the red hot Matt Schaub the top rated quarterback in the NFL right now, he is near or at the top in most passing categories. The Dallas defense has just two sacks and fumble recoveries thus far, with no interceptions, so they have a huge task in front of them against the top scoring team in the league.
Though it is not inconceivable Dallas could make the playoffs after losing their first three games, it is highly unlikely with 2009 playoff teams like Philadelphia, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Green Bay, and the defending champion New Orleans Saints still ahead on their schedule.
One may not have enough eyes this Sunday in Houston if Dallas goes late into the fourth quarter behind. From Jones to the team to the coaches, the range of expressions ranging from worried, dismayed, and angry could certainly destroy all dreams that the Cowboys will be on their own field during Super Bowl XLV.
Tennessee Titans @ New York Giants
The Giants can’t seem to get their running game going. To make things worse, their defense can’t seem to stop opponents from running. Not a good formula with Chris Johnson coming into town hungry after a subpar game last week.
Titans 23 Giants 21
Cincinnati Bengals @ Carolina Panthers
The Bengals show they have enough weapons on offense to be unpredictable. Rookie tight end Jermaine Greshem might explode this week.
Bengals 31 Carolina 13
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No one saw the Bucs at 2-0. In fact, many thought they would only win two games all season. It was a nice run by a young team who may arrive ahead of schedule.
Steelers 24 Buccaneers 10
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots
Patriots fans are so relaxed about this game, they are talking about Tom Brady’s hair.
Patriots 34 Bills
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore has played well defensively, but the offense has been a huge disappointment. Quarterback Joe Flacco is coming off perhaps the worst game of his young career.
Ravens 17 Browns 13
San Francisco 49ers @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Niners played much better the second week than the first. They are due for a win, but it may not be easy against the pesky Chiefs who are surprisingly undefeated right now.
49ers 27 Chiefs 17
Dallas Cowboys @ Houston Texans
Game of the Week
Dallas is about to hit panic mode. Houston used to be a gimme in the past, but this Texans team is tougher. Houston needs to run the ball, but the passing game is good enough to carry them to victory.
Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett needs to get back to running the ball if he wants his team to win.
Texans 30 Cowboys 28
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
The good news here is that one of these teams will finally win a game this season. The Vikings season is pretty much on the line right here.
Vikings 31 Lions 23
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
Atlanta played a lot better last week, and they know this is a very important divisional confrontation. The Saints are looking like the best team to have a chance of repeating since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004.
Saints 38 Falcons 31
Washington Redskins @ Saint Louis Rams
Washington is one overtime field goal away from being unbeaten with virtually no running game, an erratic offensive line, and basically two pass catchers. If they cannot improve the offense this week against the lowly Rams, it will be a long season in the tough NFC East.
Redskins 28 Rams 24
Philadelphia Eagles @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Eagles head coach Andy Reid is a bit lucky the teams schedule is the way it is. He was forced to plug in Michael Vick at quarterback after an injury to starter Kevin Kolb on opening day. He then gave Vick his first start since 2006 against the lowly Lions. Now Philly faces an average Jaguars defense to build on that success.
Jacksonville will look to run the ball down the throats of the Eagles tiny defense, so it will be close if Maurice Jones-Drew runs wild.
Eagles 24 Jaguars 21
Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos
The Colts go as Peyton Manning goes. Their defense was tough against the Giants last week after being run over by the Texans the week before. Denver is unpredictable on offense, but their defense will have a tough time stopping Indianapolis if Manning is on his game.
Colts34 Denver 24
Oakland Raiders @ Arizona Cardinals
Two teams looking for an indentity beyond mediocrity. Oakland eeked by the Rams last week for their first win, while the Cardinals, who beat the Rams in their first game, are near the bottom on both scoring offense and defense. The Raiders aren’t much better in those categories.
Raiders 17 Cardinals 15
San Diego Chargers @ Seattle Seahawks
While San Diego exploded last week after a bad start to the season, Seattle came crashing back to Earth with a solid beating by Denver after blowing out San Francisco the week before.
Chargers 31 Seahawks 16
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
While the Jets last week looked like the team Rex Ryan had been spouting off about incessantly, they then get hit with the drama of top receiver Braylon Edwards arrest for DUI. Miami might be facing them at the right time.
Though the Dolphins offense scares nobody, their defense has allowed a league best 20 points so far. The Jets basically mirror them with a mediocre offense and good defense. The term “defensive struggle” appears likely in this battle.
Jets 13 Dolphins 10
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Chicago’s new offensive coordinator Mike Martz has quarterback Jay Cutler playing the way the Bears envisioned wen they traded away so much to attain his services. The fact Cutler does well without much of a running game speaks highly of his abilities.
Green Bay has shown why so many picked them to win the NFC North. This is the longest running rivalry in NFL history between two teams that have won 21 championships and inducted 47 people into the Hall of Fame between them. Greatness is expected.
Packers 27 Bears 24