Dallas Cowboys (12-2) -10.5, 42.5 O/U at Carolina Panthers (6-8) +10.5, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, 8.15pm EST Saturday
by The Crazy Snake of Predictem.com
Roy Williams…WHOA HORSEY! When you get a rule created just for you it’s time to pay attention, my man. Maybe you think your name is Roy Rogers? For the Panthers, Matt Moore’s second consecutive start under centre will see him look at a Dallas secondary minus one would-be horse collar tackler. Instead he will stare down Keith Davis at Strong Safety after Roy Williams was suspended for one week for his suspect tackle on Donovan McNabb. It was Roy who was involved in the tackle that broke TO’s leg while he was an Eagle some years ago, a tackle very similar to the one that got him suspended Sunday in the Cowboy’s 10-6 shock home loss to the Eagles.
There was no such controversy at the Panther’s home start hosting the Seahawks, where they managed to shut out the Seattle offense for the first 3 quarters of their battle. The only problem was they also went scoreless during that period in what was ultimately a 13-10 victory, with all 23 points scored inside the last 7 minutes of the game. 23 year old undrafted rookie, Matt Moore was excellent in his first start, completing 19-27 for 208 yards.
Meanwhile, at Texas Stadium Tony Romo was recording his lowest passer rating ever (22.2) in a humbling loss to the Eagles that saw him complete only 13-36 for 214 yards and throw 3 interceptions. He is nursing a bruised thumb out of that game but is expected to start Saturday in what has now become a must win for the NFC’s top seed. With Green Bay on an irresistible winning run the Cowboys cannot afford to slip up here or they could find themselves on a road trip to Lambeau for a projected NFC Championship game.
Ironically, Matt Moore was a Cowboy before the season started and was cut by Dallas, adding motivation to his start Saturday. Carolina has been a baren wasteland for touchdown passes this season and Moore will want to add his first TD pass (and several more) to the sparse Carolina season record. Tony Romo has been struggling the past couple of weeks and his partnership with TO has taken an unexpected downturn of late. Dallas will need to rectify that situation in short order.
With Romo trying to find his feet a little after a couple of slow weeks, and Dallas looking to rediscover some form, expect them to run the ball with their solid rushing combination of Marion Barber and Julius Jones, at least in the early stages. Carolina will be mindful of the big play potential of Romo and will want to test out his confidence early and force Dallas to go to the air prematurely. Carolina’s best known pass rusher, Julius Peppers sprained his knee against the Seahawks last week and is listed as questionable. Thus, Carolina will have to look to some of their lesser known defenders to carry the load, in all probability.
Though Carolina has found some defensive bite of late, it’s hard to see them winning this one unless they can also find some offensive rhythm. Dallas was held to a mere 6 points last week, but with so many ways for the Cowboys to score it’s hard to see the Panther’s 13 points of last week being enough here. With home-field advantage at stake and a need to rebound off of two disappointing starts in a row, Dallas should be on here. They have a highly ranked defense, something that will trouble the offensively anemic Panthers, and it’s pretty difficult to see Carolina scoring much here for mine.
The Snake’s Bite: I’m expecting the Cowboys to bounce back in convincing fashion here. Anything other than a resounding victory could spell trouble for Dallas and they will most definitely want to flex some playoff-bound muscle. 10.5 points is a mess of points to give up on the road for a team that is appearing to have lost their way, but Dallas is classes above Carolina at present and I expect them to prove it.