Cowboys Offense vs. Ravens Defense:
I look at two of the premiere players - Tony Romo vs. Ed Reed. Romo has to know where Reed is at all times. If he forces the ball into coverage in Reed's direction, he will pick it off and he's a threat to return it as well. I think it's important for Romo to understand where Ed Reed is lining up at all times.
Ravens Offense vs. Cowboys Defense:
Baltimore likes to run the football - there's no doubt about that. For the Cowboys, Bradie James and Zach Thomas will be busy. They need to have a big day because Baltimore wants to control the ball and keep the offense off the field. The Ravens don't do anything fancy. They don't try to trick you. Every now and then they'll go with a play-action pass. They know their quarterback isn't a real mobile guy. So they make sure and run the ball with their backs, and that means a heavy dose of Willis McGahee and their fullback LeRon McClain. I know McGahee has been banged up, but when he's healthy, they're going to get him the football.
The Cowboys Win If . . .
They get after Joe Flacco. Obviously, you have to stop the run. And that means when Baltimore is forced to pass, you have to get after this rookie quarterback. He's not the most mobile quarterback in the world, but he can make some plays. You have to get after him and force him to make decisions. He is a rookie. You want him to get into situations that he's not familiar with. So if the Cowboys can get him rattled, they'll have a good chance to win.
The Ravens Win If . . .
The Ravens win if they rush for over 150 yards. I think that's what they want to do. It's very similar to the Giants. Everything starts with their running attack. Baltimore is a defensive team. Everyone knows that. Most people come into a game and say we've got to stop them from scoring. But it's a whole different mentality for the Ravens. They're built differently. It starts with the defense, not the offense. They know they're going to stop teams. So if they run the ball, it means they control the clock and Romo and those guys aren't on the field.
Ravens Eye-catchers . . .
Really, it's hard to pass up on Joe Flacco. For a rookie, he's playing well. He's not playing like a nervous, scared, afraid rookie. He's getting better every week and it seems like they're getting more confidence in Flacco every week. If anyone knows the Ravens history, there has been a rollercoaster at the quarterback position. It seems like the rollercoaster has stopped and Flacco is their guy, and their guy of the future.
On defense, the Ravens have three impact players in Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. But a guy that also makes a difference for them up front is this Haloti Ngata. He's a big force in the middle. He's a guy that you have to block. He might not get all the credit, but he's freeing up the other guys to make plays. He allows Ray Lewis to run to the ball. You have to block him.
Cowboys Eye-catchers . . .
The guy that has made a big difference and the guy I think is the offensive MVP the last two weeks is Tashard Choice. A lot of people wondered early in the season why he wasn't getting carries and there was a thought that maybe he wasn't ready. But he's been a good receiver, obviously the leading rusher, and he's done a good job with the blitz checks. As long as Marion Barber isn't healthy, I think Tashard Choice is the most important guy in this offense.
On defense, I think Anthony Henry is playing well. He's starting to get back to the form he had a few years ago, and he's doing a tremendous job, playing cornerback and then safety in the dime defense. Another guy who is playing well right now is Keith Davis. I can't talk enough about how well he's playing. When Roy Williams was in there, teams were attacking the safeties. We haven't really seen that. Keith is playing very well. He's covering tight ends and he's not giving up big plays.
Larry's Favorite Texas Stadium Memory:
I can just remember the crowd before every game. Just the pre-game introductions, I'll never forget that. I used to be in awe when they announced our offense. Just hearing "Troy Aikman" and "Emmitt Smith" and how the crowd reacted to that, it was amazing. Just hearing the crowd go crazy. They were cheering for the defensive guys, too, but nothing like they did for our offensive guys, our superstars. And now this is the last game. The last team to be announced - I'll probably be listening for the announcements more than usual.