Loss to Cardinals Could be the start of Another Cowboys Late Season Swoon by Lloyd Vance

Could the Dallas Cowboys improbable Week 13 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals lead to another late season swoon? We know team owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett sure hope not.

Week 13 of the 2011 NFL Season was not a good one for the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (7-5).  A purely winnable game turned into a devastating loss as the Arizona Cardinals (5-7) gladly took home a close 19-13 overtime home win.  While the Cowboys were left to wonder, “What If”.  The winning margin came quickly in OT as Cardinals reserve RB LaRod Stephens-Howling turned a short pass from QB Kevin Kolb into a dazzling darting 52-yard touchdown reception.  Continue reading

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2011 NFL Week 8: Eagles – Cowboys Preview by Lloyd Vance

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo will lead his team into Lincoln Financial Field for a crucial NFC East battle with the “desperate” Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football

 

Dallas Cowboys (3-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-4), Sunday October 30th, 8:20 PM ET on NBC

Broadcast Team: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michele Tafoya (Field reporter)

The 101st meeting of the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, just like the ghosts and goblins of the Halloween, definitely will signal the official midway point of the 2011 NFL regular season.  Sunday Night Football will be back in Philly for a game that I am calling, “Something to Prove”.  The Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) have a chance to get back into the division race with a win and the Dallas Cowboys (3-3) want to show that they are now the kings of the NFC East.  The Cowboys lead the all-time series 56-44 and have won five of the last six meetings, including embarrasing Philadelphia in the 2009 NFL Playoffs Wildcard Round.  The hated Cowboys will be bringing Eagles’ fans public enemy number one, America’s new golden boy quarterback Tony Romo, so you better get your popcorn ready for a slugfest. Continue reading

Vickless Eagles to face Cowboys in Week 17

Backups like Eagles WR Riley Cooper will be on display when Philadelphia and Dallas face-off for the second time this season

Dallas Cowboys (5-10) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-5), Sunday January 2nd, 4:15 PM ET on FOX

Broadcast Team: Kenny Albert, Darryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa (Field reporter)

The 100th meeting of the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys may have lost some of its luster, due to some calling it “A Meaningless Week 17 Game”.  However I believe Lincoln Financial Field will see a good game on Sunday since die-hard Eagles fans know there are really two games a season that are “Must Win” and both of them are against the hated Cowboys.  Hopefully the game like several other “resting” type games this week in the NFL — 11 of the leagues 12 playoff spots have already been claimed — still will have some competition. Because like most people in NFL media, I always like watching meaningful games in Weeks 16 and 17 rather than having to be stuck with “glorified” exhibition games because teams already in the playoffs choose to rest players.

The Eagles (10-5), who are the 2010 NFC East Champion and the locked-in No. 3 Seed in the NFC, are in search of some momentum heading into the playoffs and the Cowboys (5-10) are looking to solidify the position of their “interim” head coach Jason Garrett.  Currently the Cowboys lead the all-time series 55-44, but I fully expect that the “young” Eagles (WR Riley Cooper, CB Dimitri Patterson, TE Clay Harbor, QB Kevin Kolb and others) will carry the torch for some resting veterans in this December tilt — i.e. starting QB Michael Vick will be out with a badly bruised quad.  And Eagles head coach Andy Reid recently reiterated the importance of playing well against Dallas in Week 17.  In his Friday presser, Reid said “The bottom line is it’s the Cowboys versus the Eagles and those are always exciting games. And like I said, I thought our guys had a couple good days of practice and we’ll be ready to roll.”

The Cowboys are expected to be led by a youthful quarterback too as 2nd year pro Stephen McGee should be at the controls as former second-string starter John Kitna is out with a hip injury.  Whomever is the quarterback, look for the Cowboys to establish the run early with their three-headed monster backfield of Tashard Choice, Marion Barber, and speedy Felix Jones -– Eagles have allowed 1607 rushing yards for an average of over 100 yards per game – plus get the ball to Pro Bowl TE Jason Witten (almost 1,000 receiving yards in 2010).  Week 17 or not, the Eagles will need to get a solid effort from rookie MLB Jamar Chaney after his defensive unit was just gouged by Vikings RB Adrian Peterson for over 100 yards and a touchdown on Tuesday Night.

If as expected the starter is third-stringer McGee, look for Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott to dial-up “pressure” against the youngster from Stephen F. Austin.  With the Eagles still working out the kinks on defense –- have allowed 363 points for an average of almost 23 points per game -– they cannot afford to rest too many players as playoff intensity is right around the corner.  And even if they wanted to rest several defensive player, injuries to players like DT Jeff Owens (knee) and Bradley (elbow) won’t allow it.  Eagles head coach Andy Reid said of resting player, “We only have 53 players on the roster, so we can’t rest everybody”.  Expect the McDermott to once again lean on key defensive players Pro Bowl CB Asante Samuel (NFL leading 7 INTs) and DE Trent Cole (10 sacks).

When the Eagles have the ball offensive, they will need to get more out of their running game (called 55 passes and only ran it 16 times in the Vikings’ loss) and establish emerging RB LeSean McCoy on screens too.  The Eagles lack of a running game and some recent offensive line woes must be corrected as the Vikings were allowed to harass Eagles QB Michael Vick all-day on Tuesday – finished with 6 sacks and their quarterback was hit double-digit times.  The Birds were never able to find explosive Pro Bowl WR DeSean Jackson (only 3 catches) too against Minnesota, so look for the mercurial receiver to get his touches early and then get out the game if Philadelphia leads.  Though the season would be over for several other teams in the Cowboys current position, you can count on pass rushers DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer plus Pro Bowl NT Jay Ratliff to bring their A-game against the hated Eagles.  If the Eagles are to have any success against Ware and his mates, Kolb will need to make plays in and out of the pocket plus spread the ball around to everyone and not just recently-hot TE Brent Celek.

Speaking of the Birds’ offense, earlier this December the Eagles fueled by big plays from Pro Bowl players Vick and Jackson rode their way to a 30-27 win in Cowboys Stadium.  Jackson was speedy as he got deep over and over to the tune of 4 catches for over 200 yards and Vick was a force inside and outside of the pocket.  But this time expect to see rookies like, Cooper and returning starter Kolb as “health” and not winning a Week 17 game against an already packing division-rival seems to be paramount, to several people that I talked to, heading into the playoffs.  However if Jackson does play, I am sure the Cowboys will be looking for some revenge for his “Nest-Tea Plunge Endzone” antics while scoring a touchdown the last time the two teams met on December 12th on Monday Night Football.

Of course Philly will want to wash the bad taste of an ugly 24-14 home loss to the Vikings in the NFL’s first Tuesday Night football game since 1946. But the playoffs are key for the Birds and more than likely they will be facing a tough test against the Green Bay Packers or defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.  Rivalry or not, the Eagles should use Sunday’s game as a way of getting second stringers some opportunities, because you never know who could be a playoffs star after being a back-up.  Just ask former Super Bowl Champion quarterback Doug Williams, who went from a backup to a historic win for the Washington Redskins in 1988.

So it will be Eagles-Cowboys once again and I don’t expect Eagles’ fans to put away their disdain for Dallas even though it is a “meaningless” game to some.  Remember how bad Dallas thumped the Eagles 3 times in the 2009 NFL Season including the playoffs… There that should help reignite the flames of disdain for Eagles fans.

Eagles head coach Andy Reid said of cleaning some things up against Dallas on Sunday after a bad loss on Tuesday, “Yeah, listen, and that was the disappointing part of the last game, that we had too many penalties, substitutions were off, and that’s my responsibility to get that right.”  Reid who is now 37-17 in the month of December for his career added, “We’re aware of that now, now we just have to make sure we do it right and get it straight.”

LV’s Pick:  My prediction is the Eagles over Cowboys, 20-17 as Pro Bowl kicker David Akers puts one through to send the Birds’ faithful home with a win for the New Year.  Also watch for Eagles rookie TE Clay Harbor in this one as the youngster catch his first career touchdown in Week 16. But we all know that the games that really matter will be starting next week.

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast 110810 (Part 1)

In Part 1 of this week’s Taking It to the House NFL Podcast — The Honeymoon is over as Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones fired former head coach Wad Phillips after an embarrassing 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast 110810 (Part 1)

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance reviews Week 9 of the 2010 season with host Mark Gray including the Dallas Cowboys being destroyed 45-7 by the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field

2010 NFL Season – Week 6 Preview

RB Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings (1-3) will host the Dallas Cowboys (1-3) in a key Week 6 match-up being called “The Desperation Bowl”

I am dubbing Week 6 of the 2010 NFL Season, “Moving Week”.  This is the time where teams start to distinguish themselves as “Contenders” and “Pretenders”.  Teams will either soon be preparing for key November and December games with playoff implications or eventually start their studying  for the 2011 NFL Draft.  As hard as it is to believe, the NFL season is moving closer to being half over.  But the important thing for everyone is to enjoy the wackiest and quickest league around while it is lasts. 

There clearly is a sense of high anticipation for Week 6 of the 2010 NFL Season.  Some great storylines for this week are the return of Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger from his 4-game suspension (Steelers host Cleveland), Brett Favre’s alleged “Sexting” incident investigation, coaches fighting to stay off the “Hot Seat” (fill-in Carolina’s John Fox, Browns Eric Mangini and the Niners’ Mike Singletary), the Return of Receiver Deion Branch to New England and most importantly on the field there are 8 match-ups where teams at .500 or better will be playing each other. 

Already the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins have celebrated their past perfection as there are not any undefeated teams left – hard to believe a record five teams were 5-0 entering Week 6 in 2009.   Parity is extremely prevalent as there are currently 20 teams with a winning percentage of .500 or better….so please let the sorting out begin.  However from week to week, you don’t know which supposed “powerhouse” is going to be falling back to the pack as “Any Given Sunday” still rules.  In Week 5, it was the former 2009 AFC North Champion Cincinnati Bengals’ turn to get upset.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went on the road in a “Mission Impossible” situation and shocked many by producing a hard-fought 24-21 win over the highly favored Bengals.

The current standings show that there is little separation in this parity-laden league.   There are the “Elite” teams at (4-1) are the NY Jets, Ravens, Falcons, Bears (4 teams) along with (3-1) teams Chiefs, Bucs, Steelers, Patriots (4 teams) – Is anyone penciling any of these teams in Super Bowl XLV?; The “Contenders” at (3-2) are Colts, Jags, Eagles, Redskins, NY Giants, Titans, Cardinals, Texans, Saints, and Packers; The “Stuck In the Middle” teams at (2-2) are the Seahawks, Dolphins  along with (2-3) teams Rams, Chargers, Raiders, Broncos, and Bengals; The “Pretenders” currently stuck  at (1-3) are the Vikings and Cowboys (will play this week) along with (1-4) teams  the Lions and Browns; and of course bringing up the rear are the “Putrid” teams at (0-5) (i.e. You should just skip to the 2011 NFL Draft) Panthers, Bills, and Niners.

The division leaders after 5 weeks feature also have some unexpected surprises — Washington Redskins (NFC East – 3 teams at 3-2 in this division), Chicago Bears (NFC North), Atlanta Falcons (NFC South), Arizona Cardinals (NFC West), Baltimore Ravens (AFC North), Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West), New York Jets (AFC East), and Tennessee Titans (AFC South – Every team in AFC South is 3-2). Sadly some of my division winner picks from my 2010 predictions are not looking too well – they were the Cowboys, Niners, Packers, Saints, Ravens, Broncos, Colts, and Patriots – but it ain’t over yet. Brash New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said of his team’s current place in the NFL standings, “We’re 4-1 and right on schedule.  We want to have the best record in the NFL at the end of the season and right now we’re on schedule”.

The factor that everyone hopes will lead to more competitive games is “adjustments”.  The NFL is a copycat league where teams can catch-up quickly and adjustments are the only way to stay ahead of the pack and combat falling behind.  With the third round of bye weeks about to take place, it is time for the “good” coaches to make the adjustments necessary to get their teams back on track or keeping them at the top.  Remember early season results are important (don’t want to get too far behind), but good coaches realize that they want their team peaking in the championship months of November and December when it is playoff push time.

But as usual I am cautioning NFL fans to not jump off their respective teams’ bandwagons.  All is not lost for most NFL teams going into Week 6 –- well at least those with 1 or more wins…yes even the in-fighting Dallas Cowboys (1-3) still can turn things around.  Since the current 12-team playoff format was instituted in 1990, 11 teams have rebounded from being at least three games under .500 after the season’s first five weeks or later to qualify for the postseason.  Of those 11, six won their division, including the 2008 San Diego Chargers, who won the AFC West after a 4-8 start.  Also in 2008, the Indianapolis Colts record stood at 3-4 going into a crucial game against the New England Patriots. Quarterback Peyton Manning and the Colts answered the bell winning 18-15 then rattled off nine straight wins to make the playoffs with a 12-4 record.

Some match-ups already being discussed around water coolers are:

Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) at Houston Texans (3-2) – The old Texans — KC Chiefs were once the AFL’s Dallas Texans — take on the new Texans.  Both these teams are looking to make the jump into “legitimate” contenders.  The Chiefs definitely want to show the NFL that they are not done yet after suffering their first loss last week to the Colts by a score of 19-9.  Kansas City will need better quarterback play from Matt Cassel while the Texans better find a running game, if Arian Foster can’t go. LV’s Pick – Texans

Indianapolis Colts (3-2) at Washington Redskins (3-2) – This one is a battle of two veteran quarterbacks as Peyton Manning faces-off with Donovan McNabb.  The Redskins have been winning “ugly” and continue to play very good defense plus former Pro Bowl DT Albert Haynesworth will be back after attending the funeral of his brother.  While the Colts may have turned the corner after a physical win over the Chiefs last week.  Indy still needs to run the ball better and play better on defense to get the win.  LV’s Pick – Colts

Miami Dolphins (2-2) at Green Bay Packers (3-2) – The physical Dolphins will want to establish the run behind RB’s Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams – possibly some Wildcat — against the Packers’ injury depleted defense.  The Packers’ offense will definitely be without their two top tight ends and possibly quarterback Aaron Rodgers (concussion), so it will be interesting to see how they generate points on offense against the Dolphins attacking defense.  LV’s Pick – Packers

Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) – The young Falcons want to show the NFL that they are indeed a top team as quarterback Matt Ryan returns to Philly.  Look for Atlanta to pound the ball with RB Michael Turner (NFL’s 2nd ranked rushing attack) against the Eagles’ 25th ranked run defense – No DT Broderick Bunkley (elbow).  For the Eagles expect to see starter Kevin Kolb again as Michael Vick (rib cartilage) is too beat-up to face his old team.  Maybe Kolb will be able to get back in synch with WR’s Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. But the Eagles’ O-line is banged-up including LT Jason Peters (knee) being out.  LV’s Pick – Falcons

Baltimore Ravens (4-1) at New England Patriots (3-1) – The top undercard bout to the Cowboys-Vikings main event as two teams that met in the 2009 Wildcard round renew acquaintances.  In last year’s playoff game, the Ravens pounded the Patriots in a 33-14 victory, in particularly QB Tom Brady (2 INTs and 1 fumble in the loss), but this looks like a different New England team.  Expect a physical black-and-blue battle.  The team that can most effectively run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense is going to win this game.  Watch for the match-up of the Ravens LB’s (3rd ranked NFL defense) and the Patriots offensive line.  Surprisingly the Patriots are 5-0 in the regular season against Baltimore. LV’s Pick – Ravens

Lloyd’s Leftovers

NFL Trade Deadline is approaching – Wednesday October 19th is the NFL Trade Deadline and for the first time in a while, there is some “buzz” around the date.  Already the NFL saw the trades sending former New England Patriots WR Randy Moss – along with a 7th rounder — to the receiver-desperate Minnesota Vikings for a 3rd rounder in 2011.  Watch for the names like Chargers holdout WR Vincent Jackson, New England Patriots holdout OG Logan Mankins, Philadelphia Eagles QB Kevin Kolb, Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Mike Sims-Walker, and Green Bay Packers LB AJ Hawk.  Speaking of holdouts V. Jackson and Mankins, the NFLPA has instructed them to report to their respective teams in order to not lose an accrued season of service — the deadline for Mankins is November 16. Of course I never hold my breath around the trade deadline, as trades like the 2005 deal where former Niners QB Tim Rattay went to the Tampa Bay Bucs for a future 6th rd pick are usually the norm.

Next Man Up – Whether in training camp or Super Bowl week, injuries are always going to be an unfortunate part of the NFL….and owners are pushing for an 18-game regular season (yeah right!), but that is a conversation for another time.   Some key injuries that will have to be dealt with leading up to Week 6 are Rams WR Mark Clayton – Knee (season), Chargers OLB Larry English – Foot, Packers TE Jermichael Finley – MCL (season??), Packers QB Aaron Rodgers – Concussion, Lions WR Calvin Johnson – Shoulder, Colts RB Joseph Addai – Shoulder, Texans RB Arian Foster – Knee, Browns RB Peyton Hillis – Quad, Cowboys WR Dez Bryant – Ankle, Browns QB Seneca Wallace – Ankle, Browns QB Jake Delhomme – Ankle, Packers OLB Clay Matthews – Hamstring, NY Jets CB Darrelle Revis – Hamstring, Eagles DT Broderick Bunkley – Elbow (season??), and Eagles OT Jason Peters – Knee (season??).  However some good news on the injury front is that Baltimore Ravens S Ed Reed is very close to returning from a hip injury that has sidelined him since the start of the 2010 season.

Just Send Him to the Hall – It may have not been a masterpiece, but Arizona Cardinals quarterback Max Hall (25) did just enough to get his first win — over the New Orleans Saints by a score of 30-20 – in his first NFL start. The nephew of former Dallas Cowboys QB Danny White finished the game with passing numbers: 17 of 27 for 168 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT.  The former BYU star became the first undrafted rookie free agent quarterback to start and win against the defending Super Bowl champs in more than 42 years, since the Steelers’ Kent Nix did it against Green Bay on Dec. 17, 1967.  Cardinals’ teammate WR Larry Fitzgerald exaggeratingly praised his new quarterback by saying, ‘He’s 29 years old, man”.  Fitzgerald added, ‘He’s the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL. He’s been on his mission for about 10 years, then he went back to BYU, he went to ASU, he was a sixth-year senior out here at Mountain View, he’s been at it for a long time.’
 

Further Proof that the NFL is a Pass-First League — Quarterbacks Philip Rivers (1,759) of the San Diego Chargers, Kyle Orton (1,733) of the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning (1,609) of the Indianapolis Colts have each passed for over 1,600 yards in their team’s first five games in the 2010 NFL Season.  The pass-happy quarterbacks have made history as for the first time in the NFL, there are three quarterbacks with at least 1,600 passing yards through their team’s first five games of a season.
 

Week 6 Feature Game

DALLAS COWBOYS (1-3) at MINNESOTA VIKINGS (1-3) (Sunday, FOX, 4:00 PM ET) – Mall of America Field    

Broadcast Team: Thom Brennanaman, Troy Aikman, Chris Myers and Pam Oliver (Field Reporter)

High anxiety will be in the air at the Metrodome in a game that everyone is appropriately dubbing “The Desperation Bowl”.  This game is a rematch of the 2009 NFL Divisional Playoffs (won handily by the Vikings 34-3).  But this early season game has taken on an even bigger aurora as both the Cowboys and Vikings enter this game with a record of 1-3.  Though a “lose” in this match-up is technically not a death sentence, there will be little hope for the loser — Since 1990 only five out of 240 playoff teams have started with a record of 1-4, which is only 2 % . Especially when both teams entered the 2010 NFL Season with extremely high hopes. 

An expected raucous crowd should be hyped for this “Loser Leaves Town” match-up and a big reason will be each team’s respective quarterback.  In last year’s playoff lose, the Cowboys QB Tony Romo (sacked 6 times and hit often in the playoff loss) was a disaster and had trouble dealing with pressure brought from the Vikings’ D-line, especially DE Jared Allen.  It will be incumbent on the Cowboys’ shaky offensive line (allowed 6 sacks in Week 5 loss to the Titans) to protect Romo (119-174, 1346 yards (2nd in NFC), 7 TDs and 5 INTs) this time around.  The key person on the offensive line will be OG Montrae Holland who is replacing benched inconsistent high-price tag player Leonard Davis (seven-year, $49 million contract). Romo will definitely be trying to get the ball to his stellar receiving corps of TE Jason Witten, rookie WR Dez Bryant (ankle), WR Roy Williams, and Pro Bowl WR Miles Austin (31 receptions for NFC-leading 474 yards, 15.3 ypr, and 2 TDs). 

But in my opinion, the Cowboys would be best served by slowing down the Vikings speedy attacking defense by re-establishing their dormant rushing attack — Felix Jones leads the team with only 197 rushing yards and 0 TDs.  Surprisingly even with head coach Wade Phillips on Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones’ Hot Seat, young offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has chosen to put the ball in the air over and over instead of going to his three-headed monster of Jones, Marion Barber, and Tashard Choice.  Romo has averaged 43.5 attempts per game including a high of 47 in a Week 1 loss to the Redskins.  The Cowboys must bring back forgotten player, Barber (has just six carries in 2010), to have any chance to win this game. However finding holes against the Vikings D-line led by the Williams Wall (DT’s Pat and Kevin Williams) will not be easy.

However everyone knows that Romo is a just a “bit” player in this marquee match-up as the NFL’s media circus has descended on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.  To say the least the 2010 NFL Season has been a nightmare for No. 4.  The 41-year old passer/grandfather came out of another brief retirement looking recapture his 2009 form, but all hell has broken loose.  Favre (74-131, 861 yards, 5 TDs, 7 INTs (same number as the entire ’09 season) and a 67.0 quarterback rating) has been battling an elbow injury that clearly has made him “less” than effective in his first 4 games and he is even contemplating sitting out a game or two, which would end his NFL record 289 consecutive games ironman streak.  He has been hit often (sacked every 14 pass plays) and his receiving corps has be decimated by injuries — leading receiver Sidney Rice has been out all season due to hip surgery and former Rookie of the Year Percy Harvin is battling migraine issues. 

Madden’s favorite kid-like quarterback has looked beleaguered, old, and disinterested as his team has stumbled out the gate.  And to make matters worse, the married Favre has been embroiled in an alleged “Sexting” controversy courtesy of his 2008 stay with the NY Jets.  The website Deadspin.com has been driving the story that Favre made inappropriate advances toward former Jets’ reports Jenn Sterger including some salacious voicemails and photos.  The NFL’s favorite future Hall of Famer has tried to stay above the fray, but now the league is getting involved and you know it has to be affecting the 19-year veteran’s play – only was 14 of 34 and had a bad game-closing interception (returned for a TD) in a 29-20 loss to the NY Jets in Week 5.  The good thing is that the Favre does have new buddy, receiver Randy Moss, more acclimated after a whirlwind couple of days last week (traded at mid-week and played against the NY Jets on MNF).  We see if the two can hook-up again after they connected on a 37-yard touchdown against the NY Jets.  Also I want to see if the Vikings equally inconsistent offensive line can stay away from penalties and stop the Cowboys explosive pass rushing tandem DeMarcus Ware (2nd in the NFL with 6 sacks) and Anthony Spencer.  The position on the Vikings’ O-line will be their center position which has not been the same since starter John Sullivan has a calf injury.

As is the case with Romo, the Vikings would be best served giving Favre some run support, especially with his on-going elbow problems.  Outside of Moss and Harvin, the rest of the Vikings receiving corps are “just guys”.  So Minnesota needs to establish running back Adrian Peterson (88 rushes for an NFC leading 480 yards, 5.5 ypc, and 3 TDs plus no fumbles).  The aggressive runner would be the perfect medicine to soften-up the Cowboys speedy 3-4 defense, so Favre doesn’t have to throw the ball over 30 times.   The Cowboys allowed 158 yards rushing last week to the Tennessee Titans in a 34-27 loss. The Cowboys will surely pack the box in order to take away Peterson and make sure that Favre is healthy enough to beat them.  A key player on the Dallas defense should be run stuffer and emotional defensive leader, ILB Keith Brooking. The 13-year veteran is fighting mad after he registered one solo tackle in the Cowboys’ playoff loss and he also thinks that the Vikings ran the score up in the that game.   The Vikings will also look to attack a Dallas secondary that, outside of veteran CB Terrence Newman, has looked vulnerable at times.

LV’s Pick:  This is a tough game to pick, because these two teams’ backs are against the wall and they also are evenly matched — All-Time Regular Season record is tied at 10-10. This game is almost a pick’em as Minnesota is favored by only a point and a half.  I expect the Cowboys to try to get some pressure on Favre, but they will need to watch Peterson first.  If Peterson gets going, expect play-action from Favre down the field to Moss and Harvin.  Conversely the Cowboys will have to deal with extremely loud crowd noise and fix a shaky O-line to come away with the victory.  As always watch for turnovers — both passers have more than 5 INTs so far this season — and big plays on special teams from both sides.   In making my pick, I believe that the Vikings have too many advantages going in their favornot to win this game (home field, noise, Peterson, a very good D-line going against the Cowboys bad O-line and much more).  Also the Vikings have won 5 of the last 6 regular season games against the Cowboys.  Expect some high scoring as Moss and Austin put on a show  – Vikings 31, Cowboys 24

2010 NFL Week 6 Games

Sunday, October 17 

ATL @ PHI, Lincoln Financial Field, 1:00 PM ET —- FOX          

CLE @ PIT, Heinz Field, 1:00 PM ET —- CBS           

SEA @ CHI, Soldier Field, 1:00 PM ET —- FOX          

DET @ NYG, New Meadowlands Stadium, 1:00 PM ET —- FOX          

BAL @ NE, Gillette Stadium, 1:00 PM ET —- CBS          

SD @ STL, Edward Jones Dome, 1:00 PM ET —- CBS          

MIA @ GB, Lambeau Field, 1:00 PM ET —- CBS          

NO @ TB, Raymond James Stadium, 1:00 PM ET —- FOX          

KC @ HOU, Reliant Stadium, 1:00 PM ET —- CBS          

NYJ @ DEN, Invesco Field at Mile High, 4:05 PM ET —- CBS          

OAK @ SF, Candlestick Park, 4:05 PM ET —- CBS          

DAL @ MIN, Mall of America Field, 4:15 PM ET —- FOX          

IND @ WAS, FedEx Field, 8:20 PM ET —- NBC          

Monday, October 18 

TEN @ JAC, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, 8:30 PM ET —- ESPN          

Byes: Cardinals, Bills, Panthers, Bengals

 

 

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Two Players selected in the 2010 NFL Supplemental Draft

Former BYU running back Harvey Unga (Chicago Bears, 7th Rd) was one of two players selected in the 2010 NFL Supplemental Draft

The 2010 NFL Supplemental Draft is in the books and now two players have new homes.  Former BYU tough runner Harvey Unga (taken in the 7th Rd by the Chicago Bears) and former Illinois DT Josh Price-Brent (also taken in the 7th Rd by the Dallas Cowboys) will now go to training camp with their respective teams in hopes of beating the odds and making the 53-man regular season roster.

The Cowboys and Bears will now lose their 7th Rd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, which will take place next April.  The two other players eligible for Thursday’s dratt, Truman State H-Back Vanness Emokpae and Northwestern State RB Quentin Castille will now hope for a training camp invite as an undrafted free agent or they will have to go the Arena Football / CFL / UFL route into professional football.

Here is a profile of the two players selected:

Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Price-Brent – Another big body for Wade Phillips 3-4 scheme.  Price-Brent will have to learn quickly, but practicing with Pro Bowl NT Jay Ratliff should help.  The former Illini fire hydrant is a big (6’2, 321) tough two-gapper.  Price-Brent had some academic difficulty at Illinois, but he is a cat-quick defensive lineman that compiled stats of 71 tackles, 17½ tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries in 3 years for the Illini. 

Chicago Bears RB Harvey Unga – The Bears were smart to take a flier on this bullish runner from BYU.  Unga (6’1, 244) should help as a FB, HB, 3rd down back and on special teams.  With Chester Taylor and Matthew Forte higher on Chicago’s depth chart, there is a good chance that we may see this former three-time 1,000-yard rusher – compiled stats: 3,446 yards on 692 carries with 35 touchdowns with an additional 102 catches for 1,085 yards and 9 TDs – on his team’s practice squad.

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

The Cowboys re-tender WR Miles Austin by Lloyd Vance

Cowboys WR Miles Austin may soon be entering Brandon Marshall’s pay level

Recently the Dallas Cowboys re-issued their restricted free agent tender offer to unsigned wide receiver Miles Austin — worth $3.168 million.  Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has smartly said that his organization wants to work out a long-term deal for Austin, who earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2009 while establishing career highs in receptions (81), yards (1,320) and touchdowns (11).

In my opinion, even though the Cowboys already have pass catchers WR Sam Hurd, WR Patrick Crayton, WR Roy Williams, and TE Jason Witten under contract plus drafting Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant too (1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft) it would be behoove them to get the 25-year old emerging star locked-up.  The former special teamer turned No. 1 receiver was one of the main reasons that Dallas scored 361 points in 2009, set a team single-season mark with 6,390 total net yards and won their first playoff game since 1996.

Austin led the NFL with 8 receiving touchdowns of 20+ yards and he also joined former Cowboys’ greats Michael Irvin and Terrell Owens in the team’s 1,250+ receiving yards in season club. The former Monmouth star, like all other restricted free agents, will have until June 15 to sign his tender. If Austin doesn’t sign, by that date the Cowboys could cut his salary to $1.65 million.

Other prominent restricted free agents recently receiving a second tender offer included: Cardinals OG Deuce Lutui, Vikings DE Ray Edwards, and Packers safety Atari Bigby.

2010 NFL Restricted Free Agent Notes

Here is a team-by-team look at their remaining unsigned restricted free agents along with the RFA’s tender information. 

The Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, SF 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and St. Louis Rams don’t have any unsigned RFA’s entering 2010 training camp.

Arizona Cardinals 

Deuce Lutui, G, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $1.1705M

Baltimore Ravens 

Jared Gaither, T, three (3) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First Round, $2.396M; Reduced Tender Amount: $506,000; Difference: $1.89M

Le’Ron McClain, RB, three (3) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First Round, $2.396M; Reduced Tender Amount: $506,000; Difference: $1.89M

Dawan Landry, S, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $1.111M; Difference: $648,000

Carolina Panthers 

Thomas Davis, LB, five (5) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.268M; Reduced Tender Amount: $2.42M; Difference: $848,000

Richard Marshall, CB, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $1.17M

Cleveland Browns 

Abram Elam, S, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $1.265M; Difference: $494,000

Jerome Harrison, RB, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $1.1705M

D’Qwell Jackson, LB, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $704,000; Difference: $1.055M

Matt Roth, LB, five (5) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.809M; Reduced Tender Amount: $770,000; Difference: $1.039M

Lawrence Vickers, FB, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $1.1705M

Dallas Cowboys 

Miles Austin, WR, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.168M; Reduced Tender Amount: $1.6995M; Difference: $1.4685M

Denver Broncos

Elvis Dumervil, LB, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.168M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $2.5795M

Green Bay Packers

Atari Bigby, S, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $1.6995M; Difference: $59,500

Johnny Jolly, DE, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First Round, $2.521M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $1.9325M

Tramon Williams, CB, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.043M; Reduced Tender Amount: $577,500; Difference: $2.4655M

Houston Texans

Owen Daniels, TE, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.168M; Reduced Tender Amount: $3.0712M; Difference: $96,800

Indianapolis Colts

Antoine Bethea, S, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First Round, $2.521M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $1.9325M

Kansas City Chiefs

Jarrad Page, S, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $1.6995M; Difference: $59,500

Miami Dolphins

Ronnie Brown, RB, five (5) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First Round, $3.969M; Reduced Tender Amount: Not Applicable – Tender amount already 110% of 2009 base salary

Anthony Fasano, TE, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Original Round, $1.176M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $587,500

Minnesota Vikings

Ray Edwards, DE, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First Round, $2.521M; Reduced Tender Amount: $1.111M; Difference: $1.41M

New England Patriots

Logan Mankins, G, five (5) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.268M; Reduced Tender Amount: $1.54M; Difference: $1.728M

New Orleans Saints

Jammal Brown, OT, five (5) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.619M; Reduced Tender Amount: Not Applicable – Tender amount already 110% of 2009 base salary

Roman Harper, S, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First Round, $2.521M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $1.9325M

Lance Moore, WR, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $1.6995M; Difference: $59,500

Pierre Thomas, RB, three (3) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.684M; Reduced Tender Amount: $506,000; Difference: $1.178M

San Diego Chargers

Malcolm Floyd, WR, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.168M; Reduced Tender Amount: $1.6995M; Difference: $1.4685M

Vincent Jackson, WR, five (5) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.268M; Reduced Tender Amount: $682,000; Difference: $2.586M

Marcus McNeill, OT, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.168M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $2.5975M

Shawne Merriman, LB, five (5) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.269M; Reduced Tender Amount: Not Applicable – Tender amount already 110% of 2009 base salary

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Donald Penn, OT, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First and Third Round, $3.168M; Reduced Tender Amount: $3.0712M; Difference: $96,800

Tennessee Titans

LB Stephen Tulloch, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: First Round, $2.521M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $1.9325M

Washington Redskins

Rocky McIntosh, LB, four (4) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Second Round, $1.759M; Reduced Tender Amount: $588,500; Difference: $1.1705M

Carlos Rogers, CB, five (5) accrued seasons

Tender Level, 2010 Base Salary: Original Round, $1.542M

Reduced Tender Amount: Not Applicable – Tender amount already 110% of 2009 base salary

 

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)