Oct 7, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) tries to avoid the tackle by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons (91) during the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

An Early Look at the Cowboys vs. Carolina

Overall, the Dallas Cowboys played good enough to win against the Ravens, but an NFL-record kick return, horrific clock management and a missed 51 yard field goal as the clock expired put another loss on the board. This week is a new, realistic opportunity to climb back to .500. Carolina Panther QB Cam Newton’s passing totals have fallen over the last five weeks; consequently, so has the Panthers’ winning percentage. Newton’s squad has dropped the last three games by a combined score of 80-47. However, over the last two weeks, a total of 6 points has been the difference between the Panthers and the victors. Hopefully, the Dallas Cowboys not only make it four straight losses for Carolina, but they also blow the game open like the Giants did in week 3.

News and Notes:

Oct 14, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) carries the ball in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M

- Demarco Murry sprained his foot.

He came out of the game in the second half after only one rushing attempt. Hopefully he’ll be fine. ESPN Dallas reported that he’ll have and MRI on Monday to determine the extent of his injury. Felix Jones relieved Murray nicely (18 carries for 92 yards and a 5.1 average), but I have almost zero trust that trend will continue, and if the Cowboys weren’t facing the Panthers, I would have absolutely zero.

- Its possible that Luke Keuchly, the Carolina Panther’s first roud pick in 2012 NFL Draft, will play middle linebacker. The Panthers’ staff writer Max Henson wrote that incumbent MLB Jon Beason would prefer to stay at Middle Linebacker, but since Keuchly thrived there in last weeks’ game, the Panthers have a very tough decision to make. Personally, I think they’ll keep Beason where he has started his entire career.

-  Long-time NFL Scout and current employee at DallCowboys.com Bryan Broaddus actually said the Cowboys had “fight”. When I think of the Cowboys, I often think of words such as “quitters” or “anti-clutch” or “castration by Jason Garret’s time management ineptitude.” Rarely, however, do I think of words or terms such as “physical” (other than 2007-2009 when they had 330 pound lineman across the board) or “the protection overall was very good”, both of which are terms Broaddus used. Of course, he later used the term “huge mistake,” when describing a play that decided the game, so at least that confirms that both he and I write about the same team.

- Dan Baily missed his first kick of the season. He had made his first 8 of the season and his first four game winning or tying kicks, so both streaks came to a close. Obviously, he still handily keeps his clutch label, and I still have full confidence in his ability to hit the next game winner, especially from within 50 yards.

Predictions:

- Cam Newton throws for 220 yards. The last time the Cowboys faced a true dual-threat quarterback, Russel Wilson went 15/20 with 151 yards passing, but since Cam Newton is simply a better quarterback (though bluntly, he hasn’t shown it yet) I’ll curb his stats to reflect the disparity. Considering how much he has struggled lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them significantly below that, but for those inclined to believe that he’s due for a breakout performance, a 330 yard, 4 touchdown performance wouldn’t surprise me either.

Oct 14, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Phillip Tanner (34) carries the ball as Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis (52) defends in the fourth quarter at M&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Johnny Lang US Presswire, 2012.

- Demarco Murray returns and rushed for 85 yards while splitting time with Felix Jones.  Admittedly, this is some wishful thinking, but at 2-3, the Dallas Cowboys could use some. Splitting time with Felix Jones is rarely desired by Cowboy fans, but considering that Jones did fine against a (banged up) Ravens squad, I think he’ll be adequate against an average Carolina Panther run defense. The Cowb0ys may have to rely on RBs Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar like they did last week.

- The Cowboys win 28-24. Despite Cam Newton’s troubles, the Panthers’ offense hasn’t been as bad as some would think, even if they have been very inconsistent. I think they’ll rebound slightly, but with the Cowboys coming off of a good game, they’ll be hard pressed to rebound with a win.

If the Dallas Cowboys are able to beat the Carolina Panthers, it’ll be a boost of morale for a team that had their confidence recently shaken. Hopefully that boost in confidence will carry over into the Dallas Cowboys rematch with the Giants, this time at home.

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Tags: Carolina Panthers Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray

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