After the past two pre-season games against the San Diego Chargers and the Houston Texans, many experts are rethinking the Dallas Cowboys as their Super Bowl pick. Against the Chargers, the Cowboys held the ball in the first half for little over 6 minutes. Against the Texans, the Cowboys offensive starters were shutout and totaled 9 rushing yards on 9 carries. The offensive line has not protected Romo all that well in both games (4 sacks in 5 quarters and numerous hurries).
So what is there to look forward to? First of all, the Cowboys do not play the Chargers this year unless both teams make it to the Super Bowl. When the Cowboys played the Chargers in 2009, the Chargers offense cut through the Dallas defense like a hot knife through margarine. It wasn’t pretty. Save for two turnovers by the Chargers while in the redzone, a similar story was playing out two weeks ago.
The Texans played poorly against the New Orleans Saints the week prior to their match-up with the Cowboys. The Texans “starters” were outscored 28 to 10 in the first half of the contest. Their rushing defense was exposed and the team was embarrassed. One week later the Texans starters were noticeably more intense than the Dallas starters. While the third game of the pre-season is a dress rehearsal for the regular season, the two teams were playing two decidedly different games. The Texans played to win the game, and the Cowboys played to win the game in week three of the regular season. The Cowboys offense was incredibly vanilla, but they still managed two drives deep into Houston’s territory. The Cowboys weren’t going to tip their hand and show the Texans their game plan for week three.
Fortunately their week three match-up is less than a month away, September 26. The Cowboys will still have the taste of this loss in their mouth. The Cowboys will match, if not exceed the intensity of the Texans. The mental mistakes will be eliminated (or at least reduced) and the Cowboys offensive line will once again be whole.
The teams will be the same, the location will be the same, but expect a different outcome in the all Texas re-match.