It has finally arrived. The start of the regular season is actually here after months upon months of waiting. We can finally end all of the over analyzing and conjecture. Sunday will reveal what the 2010 Dallas Cowboys are really all about. Here is a list of a few things I expect to see during the game.
1. The Cowboys playing conservatively on offense. While we would all love to see the Cowboys light up the scoreboard on Sunday I don't think this is the week for that to happen. The Cowboys are down two starters on the offensive line so they will have to scale back the game plan to insure that Tony Romo is protected. Expect to see a lot of max protection blocking schemes which means a scaled back passing attack. The success of the running game is vitally important to the offense this week.
2. Dez Bryant to make an impact. I don't think Dez is going to get many touches offensively due to the offensive line issues. But I still expect him to make a couple of big plays during the game. I'm expecting to see a dynamic return or two by Dez and maybe a circus catch to wow the viewers. While his touches will be limited I think the plays that Dez make are going to be momentum changers.
3. The defense to dominate. We've heard endless talk about the impact that Mike Shanahan is going to have on the Redskins offense. While that might be true it really appears that the offense lacks the talent to dominate a good defense. Donovan McNabb was able to make plays with his legs earlier in his career but now he has slowed down a little. That means his passing accuracy becomes a bigger factor. McNabb is almost guaranteed to give the defense 3 or 4 opportunities at turnovers during the game. The key will be whether the defense can take advantage of those chances.
4. David Buehler is going to be an important factor in the game. How many times last season did the Cowboys move the ball down the field early in the game only to have Nick Folk miss a field goal and totally deflate the offense? Buehler needs to become automatic from inside 40 yards and this game would be a good place to start. The Cowboys are shorthanded on the offensive line and the Redskins have a good defense so I expect Buehler to have several field goal attempts in the game.
5. Felix Jones breaking off a long touchdown run. I think the Cowboys are going to struggle to move the ball consistently, but Felix Jones only needs a small crease to break off a big run. I think he'll be bottled up most of the day but I expect at least one big run from him due to his gamebreaking speed.
It is hard to know exactly what to expect from the Cowboys this season. Especially since they haven't shown anything offensively in the preseason. But I just don't see the Cowboys losing this game even with the problems on the offensive line. The Cowboys are simply a better team across the board than the Redskins. I predict a 19-10 victory for the Cowboys.