Tony Romo or not, this is going to be a good game. Romo is a top notch quarterback in the NFL. If he does not play, the Cowboys will clearly miss his playmaking ability. But, the Cowboys still have plenty of weapons to utilize, even without their gunslinger. Giving the ball to DeMarco Murray will give the Cowboys opportunities to move the ball, as well as keeping the Eagles’ high-powered offense off the field. The Cowboys also have elite playmakers in Dez Bryant & Jason Witten. Dez Bryant has flourished this year, even though he has been double-covered throughout the season. For Dallas to win this game, a good game plan must be made to get the most out of backup Kyle Orton. Here are some bold predictions for this week 17 matchup:
The Cowboys will have one special teams touchdown
With the return of Dwayne Harris, the Cowboys get one of the NFL’s elite returners. Harris is a complete game-changer. In fact, Harris has been the MVP in a few games this year. Think back to the Cowboys’ first meeting against the Redskins. Harris took back a punt for a touchdown. Also, he returned a kickoff to inside the 10 yard line. Not only is Harris a great returner, but he is also the best tackler on special teams. When the Cowboys punt, Harris is a gunner and he usually gets downfield to come up with a tackle. Harris is an unsung hero on this team. He will make his presence felt on Sunday night with a punt return touchdown.
Jeff Heath will have a big game
Earlier this year, Jeff Heath was one of my least favorite players on this roster. But recently, Heath has played
exceptionally well. Against Detroit, although he had a defensive touchdown, Calvin Johnson ran past him and through him multiple times. Last week against the Redskins, it was Heath who first put the pressure on Kirk Cousins. He also had an interception in the redzone, which stopped the Redskins from scoring any more points. This Eagles team is dangerous because they will run the ball a few times in a row, and then they will hit you with the long ball. The best thing about Heath’s game is his tackling ability. Heath needs to read and react well in this game. Cowboys fans may remember this guy’s name after this game.
DeMarco Murray will run the ball 25 times for over 150 yards
All Cowboys fans know Murray is capable of being a workhorse back in this offense. If Romo cannot play, the Cowboys have to follow what the Packers did when Aaron Rodgers went down. The Cowboys have to feed the ball to Murray as much as possible. Not only does this help the defense, but it also moves the ball. In 2013, Murray is gaining 5.4 yards per rush. The Cowboys will benefit greatly if they lean on Murray to control this offense.
Dez Bryant will get at least 15 targets
With a backup quarterback playing, he is going to throw to the best players no matter what. This is the reason why Orton will throw the ball a ton to Dez. Bryant is one of the best receivers in the league. His build and his athletic ability allows him to go up and catch almost every ball. Dez was target 15 times last week against Washington. Expect the same this week with Orton at helm.
Dallas will beat Philadelphia
This game could go either way. With Romo out, many expect the Eagles to run over the Cowboys. Not a lot of people are giving Kyle Orton the credit he deserves. Many Cowboys beat writers believe Orton has more arm strength than Romo. Although he is not as mobile, Orton will take risks just like Romo. Orton can make the necessary throws to get the ball to playmakers on this Cowboys team. Cowboys fans should not worry if Orton is their starting quarterback.
Tony Romo will play in week 17
Although, you have been hearing it all week. I think Romo will surprise many and play this weekend against the Eagles. Remember against the 49ers in 2011, Romo played that game with fractured ribs and a punctured lung. Romo is tough as nails. In fact, he’s one of the toughest guys you will find in this league. He is a complete gamer and I cannot see him sitting out in a game where he could change his “choker” status. Like I said earlier, Romo or not, this game is within reach for this Cowboys team.