All week long the national media has been playing up the Denver Broncos as the early season surprise team. I think most of us can see that the Broncos are not as good as their record says that they are. The problem is that the Broncos have won just enough games to start to believe that they really are a good team. The Cowboys are going to have to knock the confidence out of the Broncos early in the game or they will be in for a dogfight. Get the Broncos down big early and I think you will see them fall apart at the seams. Give them a reason to believe they can compete and they will be right there all game long. Here is what I think the Cowboys need to do to win the game:
1. Make Kyle Orton beat you. It is highly unlikely that Kyle Orton can will the Broncos to victory if the Cowboys force the Broncos to pass. He has 33 career passing TD's and 27 INT's. So he is a very mediocre quarterback at best. Shut down the run and wait for Orton to make a mistake. The Broncos throw a lot of quick passes so the defensive backs need to be ready to jump the short routes like Terance Newman did last week.
2. Take what the defense gives you. It is obvious at this point that most teams are willing to take their chances against the Cowboys running game. Teams are playing their safeties very deep and allowing the Cowboys to run all game long. At some point a team is going to decide to stop the run. I don't think that the Broncos have the size to handle the Cowboys size along the line so the run will probably be there again this week. But if the Broncos decide to stack the line then Romo will have to find the open man. The Broncos secondary has some talented players so the receivers need to bring their A game this week. I fear the playmaking abilities of Champ Bailey even if he is getting a little older. And Brian Dawkins has been great for what seems like forever now.
3. No cheap points for the Broncos. This falls in line with my belief that a fast start will collapse the Broncos like a house of cards. The Cowboys need to start fast in all phases of the game and overwhelm the Broncos. If the Cowboys force the Broncos to drive the length of the field then I don't think they can score with the Cowboys.
4. Keep the defense fresh. This falls on the coaches and the offense. As usual with a visiting team in Denver the Cowboys will probably struggle with the altitude. The coaches need to rotate the defensive players as much as they can to keep everyone fresh. And the offense needs to control the ball to let the defensive players recover. It takes more energy to play defense than offense so ball control is important.
The Cowboys are the more talented team. As usual, limiting turnovers and penalties will allow the Cowboys to win. We saw last week how an inferior team can hang around if the Cowboys shoot themselves in the foot with badly timed penalties and poor execution in the red zone. Everyone just needs to play decent football and the Cowboys will come out on top. I predict a 28-10 win for the Cowboys.