Cowboys vs. Panthers NFL Week 7 Preview

1 of 6

Cowboys vs. Panthers

Dallas
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

On Sunday, the (2-3) Dallas Cowboys will take on the (1-4) Carolina Panthers, trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2010.

The Cowboys are coming off of a disappointing loss to the Baltimore Ravens, one in which statistically they dominated, but stats don’t win games; execution does. That’s something the Cowboys don’t do exceptionally well.

Dallas outgained the Ravens 481-to-316 yards and held the ball for more than 40 minutes, but like many have witnessed in the past, the Cowboys found a way to lose the game.

It doesn’t help that the head coach doesn’t know how to handle the two-minute offense and that the defensive coordinator has linebackers covering wide receivers, but I’ve digressed.

Here, are some quick facts to get your Cowboys hopes back up. Leading up to Sunday’s game the Panthers are 1-8 in the regular season against the Cowboys and Tony Romo is 3-0 as a starter against them.

The Panthers, like the Cowboys, aren’t exactly on a Super Bowl type of run either. Their offense has struggled mightily and has only produced 10 points in the past two home games.

No one wants to admit it, but Cam Newton has been awful this season, and his stats prove it. He has 1,154 passing yards with a 58.8 completion percentage through five games; that’s good enough to put him ahead of only Russell Wilson and Josh Freeman amongst all starting quarterbacks.

It doesn’t get any easier for Newton this week as he will face a Dallas defense, which ranks No.1 in passing yards allowed at 181.6 per game. They also rank second overall in total yards allowed at 285.2 per game.

The Cowboys are in sole possession of last place in the NFC East. They must deliver a win this weekend. To do so they must control what they can control; they way they play.

Here, are some keys to victory.

2 of 6

Felix Jones

Dallas
Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE

Felix Jones

The loss of DeMarco Murray will undoubtedly hurt the offense, which was already struggling to score points. Now it’s up to Jones to carry the load while Murray recovers from torn ligaments in his foot. It should be noted that in 5 seasons with the Cowboys, Jones has two games with 20 or more carries.

3 of 6

Wide Receivers

Dallas
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Wide Receivers

The receivers need to catch the ball when it's thrown their way.

Dez Bryant has had the ball forced his way leading to his sudden rise in stats, but he fails to make plays when it counts and now also harasses referees. Instead of worrying about the referees, Bryant should learn to run his routes, catch the ball and get yards after the catch; as opposed to the recent dancing that he's been doing on the field. It’s been reported that Bryant suffered a groin injury Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Miles Austin started off hot and looked as if he were back to form, but has since disappeared. I don’t know where Austin was against the Ravens, but he wasn’t on the field.

Kevin Ogletree must have been tooting his own horn, but reality should have brought him back down to earth by his latest performance. Ogletree needs to start catching the ball when it hits him in the hands. Should he fail to do so again, I'm starting the "play Cole Beasley movement" online.

All three of these guys need to run their routes right, get open and catch the ball when it comes their way. Too many mistakes by the receiving corps are costing this team big time.

4 of 6

The Pass Rush

Dallas
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Pass Rush

Where is the pass rush?

Aside from DeMarcus Ware, no one else on the defense creates pressure on the opposing quarterback. The whole thought behind bringing in two cover corners, was that it was supposed to help get coverage sacks, but that has been a failure.

In fact the past two games have exposed the secondary due to the lack of pressure on the quarterback. In this game, the pass rush will be crucial in stopping Cam Newton.

5 of 6

Special Teams

Dallas
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Special Teams

The Cowboys special teams are atrocious. Special teams coach Joe DeCamilis is going to be on the hot seat if the team blows another coverage, if he isn’t already.

6 of 6

The Coaching Staff

Dallas
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Coaching Staff

There is no reason, regardless of experience, why the Cowboys should be this undisciplined. The amount of penalties this team gets is simply absurd. It’s time to stop making excuses and execute. As someone who praises discipline, Jason Garrett, sure lets his team get away with a lot of mistakes. In five games, the Cowboys have had three games where they were penalized at least 13 times.

Garrett could adjust his system to make it friendlier towards his players’ ability, because it’s obvious they can’t do what the system requires. One too many times I've seen the receivers run intricate routes, which take time to develop. Meantime, the offensive line collapses because they couldn't hold their blocks, even if Lego’s were glued to their hands. The quick pressure given up by the line normally leads to unnecessary turnovers and penalties.

Rob Ryan’s “defensive genius” nickname is just that, a nickname and nothing more. Don't let the ranking deceive you, those stats haven't translated to wins. I’m tired of the defense collapsing at the end of the quarter and getting shredded because he wants to deploy linebackers to cover wide receivers. Ryan needs to reevaluate his scheme. It doesn’t always have to be tricky, but I guess that when the players can’t execute; one has to take risks and do some unconventional things.

Jesus Flores is a Dallas Cowboys writer for RantSports.com Follow Jesus Flores on Twitter @SSgtFlo1


Around the Web