Cowboys WR Dez Bryant vs. Broncos CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
With no Champ Bailey in the lineup, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been the best cornerback for the Broncos this season. He is a wiry, long athlete that plays with an ease of movement.
Rodgers-Cromartie is very smooth and do not see many plays where he is beaten badly or is in terrible position on the route. Likes to play a physical game and get right on top of the receiver. Can play very tight in coverage. There is little separation in his game. Is not afraid to use his hands to keep the receiver from getting up the field on him. Is not afraid to mix it up at all. Is not going to shy away from contact. Hard guy to run away from because of his speed and burst. [embedded_ad]
Rodgers-Cromartie was a 4.35 40 guy coming out of Tennessee State and six years later, and you still see him play with those types of numbers. Do not expect him to back down from the challenge of having to deal with Dez Bryant all day. He's one of those cornerbacks that doesn't need help over the top because of his ability.
He had some games in Philadelphia where offensive coordinators picked on him, but has made a nice transition in Jack Del Rio's scheme. Rodgers-Cromartie has played some large receivers this season, Jacoby Jones and Brice Butler but none with the strength and power of Dez Bryant.
Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick vs. Broncos WR Wes Welker
There will be plenty of matchups that this Cowboys defense is going to have to deal with, but the one that could swing the balance of the game, is how Orlando Scandrick is able to play Wes Welker.
As well as Scandrick has been playing this season, I put him on Welker no matter where he is on the field. With the skill level of Scandrick and the fact that I know that in his preparation, he will study every pass that Welker has not only caught this season, but also when they met in New England in 2011 and use that to his advantage.
Where Scandrick is good in this matchup, is that he has played Welker before and did quite well. With Welker, it not so much about his speed but the quickness. It's the initial burst that makes Welker difficult to handle. Scandrick can run with his all day but where he needs to be at his best is when gets up on him and jams him at the line.
The key to playing Welker, is not letting him get off the line. If you give Welker free access off the line, he is going to make your life difficult. Orlando Scandrick has always been one of those players that felt like he was slighted as a player and covering Wes Welker all day, playing him well, gets him that respect he desires.