The Miami Dolphins are hosting the Dallas Cowboys at Sun Life Stadium Sunday. With the return of Tony Romo this is arguably the most talked about game this week and the 2-7 Cowboys are seeking their first win in two months.
If the Cowboys don’t beat the Dolphins Sunday, I am convinced their season is over. No team has ever made the playoffs starting the season 2-8, and no matter how bad the NFC East appears, I find it impossible for the Cowboys to recover from an 8 game losing streak without some form of divine intervention.
Al Beam: One can’t help but remember the debacle on Thanksgiving day back in 1993 when the Cowboys hosted the Dolphins at Texas Stadium. An overnight snow storm left the field covered in snow and what looked like a sure-fire win for the Cowboys who led 14-13 late in the 4th quarter, resulted in what may be the most capricious chain of events I have ever seen in an NFL game.
The surgeon, Dan Marino, methodically drove his team down the field in the final seconds of the game and set them up with a game winning 31 yard field goal attempt. The Dolphins kicker, Pete Stoyanovich, had already missed two attempts on the day and I can remember thinking: we still have a chance! Then it happened! The kick was blocked and the game was most certainly over. I mean what could possibly go wrong? Right?
As the ball was twirling on the ground down around the 10 yard line, the players were telling each other to stay away from it because there was nothing the Dolphins could do. The game was surely over., Suddenly, out of nowhere, Leon Lett, who assumed it was a live ball, lunged for it. The Jostling began, the Dolphins recovered the football for a 12 yard gain and Stoyanovich kicked a 19 yard field goal for a 16-14 Dolphins win.
So, what does this have to do with Sundays game you ask? The Cowboys fell to 7-4 that day and many thought their playoff hopes had significantly diminished. They went on to win five straight games, finished 12-4 and clinched home field advantage for the playoffs. That led to them winning their second consecutive Super Bowl.
The point being: this time the Cowboys have to win, but history has taught us it’s possible to win out when the odds are against you. It is impossible for them to clinch home field advantage, but the playoffs are still in their grasp. If the Cowboys can avoid crucial mistakes like that one, they are well on their way. I predict the new “Captain Comeback” Tony Romo, leading a last-minute game winning touchdown drive and the Cowboys eke out the win, 31-30.
Cas: The Dolphins have had some tough breaks with injuries this year. The most devastating one came week 8 against the Patriots when All-Pro defensive end Cameron Wake tore his Achilles tendon. I don’t wish injury on anyone, but this one comes as a blessing with Tony Romo in his first game back from a broken collar-bone. The lower the risk of him taking some hits, the better. This soon after the injury, the risk of re-breaking it is much higher.Â WakeÂ is currently leading the team with 7 sacks.
There are going to be some exciting match-ups in this game: namely Dez Bryant vs Brent Grimes who is among the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Bryant not only just came off of a long-term foot injury, he is battling some knee issues. Even at 100%, which he is not, Grimes presents as big of a challenge for him as anyone.
As much as it pains me to do so, I am parking Dez on my bench this week in the only league I managed to acquire him in. I managed to snatch up Danny Amendola in free agency and moved him in to the WR spot along side Michael Crabtree. Despite Bryant being projected for 18 points in ESPN PPR leagues, I just don’t see him having that type of success being banged up.
Reshad Jones has emerged as one of the best strong safeties in the league and currently leads the Dolphins with 83 tackles. He is a ball hawk that is not only solid in run support, but very effective in coverage. He has amassed 2 sacks, defended 6 passes, and intercepted 3 passes: two of which were pick sixes. He is a very smart player and makes good reads. The way he sat in his zone against the Titans, read the play and jumped Delaney Walker’s slant route for a pick six, was text-book. I expect him to be on Jason Witten in this game and it will be an exciting match-up.
Ndamukong Suh is any quarterbacks nightmare, especially if he is in his first game back and still recovering from a broken collar-bone. Suh is a massive 6-4 and 320 lbs with super-human strength, and when you combine that with sub 5 40 speed, nasty and excellent technique, he is a hand full for the best of interior offensive linemen.
Suh has a history of being a dirty player and I am sure he has Tony Romo in the cross hairs this week.
This creates the other exciting match-up: Suh vs the second year right guard, Zack Martin who did an admirable job against him in the 2014 playoff game vs Detroit. They may decide to move Suh around and try to get a mismatch against the rookie La’el Collins.
Either way, containing Suh is a top priority in this game. Any QBs nemesis is that pressure up the middle. I don’t want to see Romo getting flattened by a 320 lb athletic freak of nature either.
The Dolphins are going to focus their energies on stopping the run and taking Dez Bryant and Jason Witten out of the game. As a former TE and Witten teammate, Dan Campbell knows exactly how to defend him. This should open up some opportunities for Cole Beasley and Terrance Wiliams. I expect them both to have much better production with Romo under center. Unlike Cassel and Weeden, he is capable of making all five post snap reads and finding the open man.
The Cowboys will win this game if they can avoid the mental mistakes, foolish drive killing penalties, and keep Tony Romo upright while containing Lamar Miller. Cowboys 30 Dolphins 26.
Matthew Drake: Romo’s return could not have come at a better time!! It seems since back in week 2, when an injured Tony Romo left us for a time, the Cowboys scrambled to make up for their losses, but were unable to.
Sunday a new era begins and the sun will once again rise on the Dallas Cowboys!! Back in the QB slot is our own Tony Romo, and we can all hope for the best. I believe he will turn their season around.
The game ahead, is one I’m sure the Cowboys can turn into a win. I spent some time looking over the teams side by side. Both look evenly balanced. But, that’s where things are going to change.
Having Tony Romo back in at Quarterback, will surely be the game-changer that we’ve all been waiting for! Sunday the sun rises again for the Dallas Cowboys, and they will again have in their grasp,a most needed win over the Dolphins!
Let’s hope for the best with Romo’s return!! I’m going to be an optimist: that is to say the Dallas Cowboys will have this game well in hand.