Cowboys QB Tony Romo vs. Saints DC Rob Ryan:**
For two years, Rob Ryan was there every time Tony Romo stepped on the field, whether it was for practice or a game. On Sunday, Ryan will once again be there with Romo, but this time it will be calling defenses against him.
This matchup has a chance to be a real classic, because these are the types of challenges that Romo seems to look forward to and thrive in. Romo lives for these games where he can match wits with a creative defensive scheme.
For Ryan, regardless of what he says, he wants to beat this team more than any other on the Saints' schedule. He has to feel wronged by what happened to him last season after he was shown the door when his defense was hit with a massive amount of injuries, and they were unable to win one final game against the Redskins with the division title and playoff berth on the line.
What is interesting about this matchup is you feel that Ryan could come out and attack from the word "go," or he could try and just rush four like the Lions did and play coverage behind them.
Ryan has had some games in the past where he has elected to play more coverage and see if the quarterback is willing to be more patient to take what the defense is giving him. Romo has to prepare like Ryan is going to bring pressure to try and make him as uncomfortable as possible. [embedded_ad]
Cowboys LB Bruce Carter vs. Saints RB Darren Sproles:
There are so many matchups you have to take care of when you play this Saints offense that it makes it difficult to take care of all of them. As outstanding as Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston are, having to deal with Darren Sproles might be the biggest headache for Monte Kiffin and his staff.
What makes Sproles so difficult is his explosiveness. It's hard to simulate that during a week of practice. He is one of those players that has the rare ability to score from anywhere on the field as long as the ball is in his hands. Whether Sean Payton hands him the ball, throws it to him on a screen or has him take off up the sideline on the wheel route, he is a threat to make a play.
For Bruce Carter, it has been an up and down season, as these defensive coaches have at various times put Ernie Sims on the field instead of him. I thought last week that Carter played one of his best games of the season in the victory over the Vikings.
He will once again be back in the starting lineup when the Cowboys face the Saints on Sunday, and it will be his job to handle Sproles when he is on the field. Despite what we saw in San Diego, Carter can cover, but it won't be easy.
But of all the linebackers the Cowboys have, athletically, he gives you the best chance to succeed.