5 To Watch In 2006

who knows what kind of team the Eagles will have in 2006. Remember, not only did the Cowboys sweep them last year for the first time since 1998, but Philly went 0-for-6 against NFC East opponents.  

Getting Donovan McNabb healthy again should help immensely, and it certainly will spice up the storylines with T.O. coming back to town.  

Like the Cowboys and Redskins, the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry can stand on its own. But this year, with Owens in the mix, it's probably the can't-miss game of the season.    

Week 8, at Carolina (10/29) 

No game had as much as excitement as the Cowboys' dramatic, 24-20 comeback victory over the Panthers last season in Charlotte, N.C. Needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Cowboys rallied for a game-winning touchdown in the final 30 seconds on Christmas Eve.  

But while this year's game would be hard-pressed to top that game for drama, the rematch in 2006 could be even better.  

You want some good receivers? Watch this one, where arguably the top receiving corps will be on the field at the same time. Keyshawn Johnson teams up with Steve Smith in Carolina for a 1-2 punch that could make the Panthers one of the more explosive teams in the NFC.  

That's strong, but the tandem of Owens and Terry Glenn might be even better. Throw tight end Jason Witten into the equation, and the Cowboys might even have an edge in the passing game.  

So expect a lot of points in this one, which will be another primetime Sunday night showdown on NBC.      

Week 11, vs. Indianapolis (Nov. 19) 

Peyton Manning makes his first trip to Texas Stadium. That's good enough right there.  

But more than just the NFL's top quarterback playing his first game in Dallas, the Cowboys will get a chance to test themselves against one of the league's elite teams. Remember, the Colts began last year 13-0, and had everyone talking about a perfect season until losing two in the final three weeks. Worse, they then lost their AFC Divisional playoff game to the Steelers, 21-18, when kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed the last-second, game-tying, field-goal attempt.  

And how fitting if this game should come down to a last-second field goal?  

Indianapolis decided not to retain Vanderjagt, who signed a three-year deal with the Cowboys - paying top dollar for the first time in the Jerry Jones era for a kicker. 

The Colts instead decided to sign Adam Vinatieri, the former Patriots kicker who has made two game-winning field goals in the Super Bowl.    

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Those are just five games. Certainly, there are plenty more intriguing match-ups to come, including a Monday night game against the Giants and the Christmas Day showdown with the Eagles at Texas Stadium. Even the Texans coming to town for the first time ever, and bringing the No. 1 pick in the draft with them should be a fun one as well.  

Again, it's only April, but already, these five already stand out.                

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