Rugby World Cup
This Week's Issue
Life of Reilly
SI for Women
CNN/SI - TV
Golf Pro Shop
MLB Gear Store
NFL Gear Store
SI FOR KIDS
Cowboys will shine on Monday night
Posted: Sunday November 01, 1998 05:45 PM
The last few Monday night games haven't been decided until late in the fourth quarter. This week, I can't see it taking that long to decide the winner.
Troy Aikman returns to a Dallas Cowboy team that held up nicely while he was out with a broken clavicle. But the real production in recent Dallas-Philadelphia games has come from Emmitt Smith.
He's rushed for nearly 700 yards and six touchdowns over the last three years against the Eagles. And this year, Philadelphia is 27th in the league against the run -- not the kind of matchup that favors Philly.
Another bad sign for the Eagles: the Cowboys have given up the fewest points in the NFC and Philadelphia has the league's worst offense. The Eagles don't get much push inside from their offensive line, and their only decent running game is outside with speedy Charlie Garner and Duce Staley. But that may not help against a Cowboy team allowing under 93 yards per game on the ground.
QB Rodney Peete needs to move the pocket outside as he did occasionally vs. San Diego, because staying in the pocket wasn't a good idea. It could be even worse against Dallas with Leon Lett, Chad Henning, and blitzing Dallas linebackers.
The big playmaker for the Eagles on defense is Hugh Douglas. He's second in the NFC in sacks with 8.5 and comes off a 4.5-sack day in San Diego. One offensive coordinator who played against him recently said Douglas's pursuit must be slowed down because he can chase down a lot of plays from the back side. San Diego even ran a reverse on the first play of the game just to get him thinking about overpursuit. But once again the matchup here should favor Dallas, where all-pro Larry Allen draws the duty of blocking Douglas.
The Cowboys' loss to Chicago two weeks ago gave Deion Sanders the opportunity to say "we're a team without a personality, we need to establish ourselves and play Dallas Cowboy football. Right now, we don't know what that is."
For Deion, Emmitt, Aikman and Michael Irvin, there's no time like Monday Night Football to bring out the best they have to offer. As one defensive coordinator who regularly plays against Dallas regularly told me, "Playing them is hard all the time. Playing those guys on Monday night is next to impossible."
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.