Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers: An early Week One preview
By Broe Reeve
With the Week One matchup only a week away, here’s an early preview of what to watch for as the Dallas Cowboys face the Carolina Panthers next Sunday.
The preseason is over for the Dallas Cowboys. Now they prepare to take on the Carolina Panthers next Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Dallas just missed the playoffs last season going 9-7 while Carolina made it to the postseason with an 11-5 record. But the Panthers lost in the Wild Card round to the New Orleans Saints, 31-26. Here’s who and what I’ll be watching for in the Week One matchup.
He’s Carolina’s Swiss Army Knife at running back. McCaffrey is known for his passing game chops but looks to get more going on the ground this year. Sean Lee and the Cowboy linebackers will have their hands full in a tough matchup, especially when he gets in open space.
Norv Turner’s offense
Former Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator is now running the show in Carolina. He’s expected to help quarterback Cam Newton take the next step and take his game to a new level. The Cowboys will be the first team to take on Norv’s version of the Panthers offense.
Ezekiel Elliott is going to run the ball early and often and Kuechly will try to shut him down. One of, if not the best, linebackers in the game Kuechly had a whopping 134 tackles last season. All eyes will be on these two bulls going head to head and the winner of this matchup just might decide the game.
Dak Prescott and the passing game
This will be our first chance to see quarterback Dak Prescott play with his new receiving core minus stalwarts Dez Bryant and Jason Whitten. Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, and Tavon Austin are the new faces looking to make plays in the passing game. With a stacked box to stop the run, the Cowboys receivers should get some one on one matchups and a chance to exploit the Panthers secondary.
The Cowboys defense should be much improved this season. The pass rush has a chance to be special, especially if Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch can shut down the run game. If Cam Newton is forced to pass, Demarcus Lawrence and company can pin their ears back and get after the quarterback.
Losing Travis Frederick will no doubt hurt the Cowboys offense, and Joe Looney’s play at the pivot will be vital. If Looney can open up holes for Zeke, and protect Dak Prescott, the Cowboys will be in good shape. Look for Looney dealing with the massive 346 pounder Dontari Poe and fellow Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short up the middle.
The Dallas Cowboys would love to get an early lead so they can run the ball, control the clock, and set up Dak Prescott for some easy short third down conversions. An early lead would also force Cam Newton to throw more allowing Dallas’ pass rush a chance to dominate the game. The Cowboys came into last season with high hopes, and the 2018 version of America’s Team will look to get off to a hot start against Carolina in Week One next Sunday.