ARLINGTON , TX
Who could match up to try to keep Gates from having a big day? Would you put a safety or linebacker to cover him?
Nick:Well obviously the Cowboys won't just do one thing. But I think J.J. Wilcox has a chance to match up with him the best. Bruce Carter could do it occasionally and maybe Durant. But Wilcox has the size to hang and the speed to match. The key will be the cornerbacks not needing outside help which will allow Wilcox that freedom to stay [embedded_ad] with Gates.
Rowan: In the past we might have seen one of the corners match up with him occasionally. I don't see this defensive group and coordinator Monte Kiffin doing that, though. I think he'll get a lot of matchups with safeties, most likely Barry Church, who did just fine against Jared Cook. The linebackers will still need to drop better if they don't want Gates hurting them, but eliminating Gates' big play ability will be up to the safeties.
Would you say that this week is a crucial game considering the early lead we have in the division and the prospect of playing a hot Denver team next week? Not to mention that we already missed a huge opportunity by losing to the Chiefs.
Nick: I wouldn't say crucial. I'd say absolutely crucial. This is a huge game. Everyone thinks of this team as an average club, because it has been. You know how to get to 8-8? Be 1-1 and then 2-2 and so on. That's where this team is unless they correct it. So I think it's huge and we all know who's coming up next. So stack wins against teams you have a great chance of beating.
Rowan: Absolutely. I think for the Cowboys' psyche to be heading home 3-1 before playing the Broncos' unbelievable passing attack would be critical, not to mention, as you pointed out, it would give them a firm grasp of the NFC East. I'm interested to see how the offense responds this week playing against the 3-4 defense. It gave them trouble against the Chiefs, but as Kansas City's demonstrated, that defense was formidable. It's certainly not a must-win, but it could be crucial in getting out of the .500 funk.