When I worked in the pro department for the Cowboys I would always sit down when the office was quiet and pick out two or three games to study just to get a feel for the upcoming opponents. I had a good understanding of the NFC East but there were several AFC teams that I might have see two or three years back so I always used my summer's to try and get a jump on the season. Now that I am with DallasCowboys.com, I plan to go back and study like I did before. Here are some matchups I am looking forward to.
Week 6, Baltimore cornerback Ladarius Webb against Dez Bryant. Webb is one of the league's most talented corners. Rarely do you see him give up big plays. Bryant is the Cowboys big play receiver and is more than talented enough to match up with Webb but he is going to have to be focused on his job from the first snap. Webb has the ability to frustrate receivers with his style of play. This is the kind of match up that will tel you how much Bryant has grown as a receiver.
Week 7, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton against Sean Lee. In this match up, the Cowboys defense faces one of the most dynamic players in the league in Newton. I have to admit that I was shocked with Newton's ability to accurately throw the football in his rookie season but what makes Newton equally as dangerous is his ability to scramble with the ball when things break down. If he is not on a blitz, it will be Lee's job to mirror Newton and not allow him to make plays with his feet. Lee's athletic ability and burst will serve him well in this task.
Week 8, the Cowboys catch the Giants at home for their second and final regular season meeting. The matchup to watch in this contest will be wide receiver Victor Cruz against Orlando Scandrick out of the slot. Along with the Patriots' Wes Welker, Cruz is one of the most difficult players to deal with in that spot. Cruz's ability to run his routes at any level on the field with explosive quickness makes him a struggle for any corner. It will be the halfway point in the season for Scandrick, who had his moments of outstanding play in 2011 but also had his share of struggles as well. How well he is able to cover Cruz will be the difference of the Cowboys defense getting 3-and-outs or Eli Manning continuing drives for points.
Week 9, after another matchup with the Giants the previous week, the Cowboys' secondary once again gets tested with a trip to Atlanta to face the Falcons and the duo of receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. In 2011, Jones and White combined for 154 catches and 16 touchdowns. Jones is a true vertical player that puts a great deal of pressure on the secondary with his ability to get down the field for Matt Ryan. White will catch the ball anywhere on the field and is especially tough when he can catch the ball on the move. Like the Giants game from the previous week, it's going to be important that the secondary does not allow the explosive plays that these two receivers can create.