Cowboys Need To Do 3 Things To Beat The Panthers


The Dallas Cowboys play the undefeated Carolina Panthers on Thanksgiving Day, but they’ll need to do these three things to win the game.

The Dallas Cowboys finally won a game after a seven-game losing streak. Starting quarterback Tony Romo shook off the rust and led the Cowboys to a 24-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Romo played as if he had never missed a game.

In fact, Romo played so well that the Cowboys more resembled an 8-1 team instead of a 2-7 team that sits in last place in the NFC East. The offense ran smoothly, wide receivers ran routes to perfection and caught passes, and tight end Jason Witten looked like a future Hall of Fame player.

Perhaps the best Romo highlight happened when he avoided a sack in the end zone and threw a left handed pass to running back Darren McFadden on Dallas’ opening series amid a brief downpour. The savior of the Cowboys was back. Romo converted two third downs in the last four minutes of the game to seal a victory for the Cowboys, something Dallas hadn’t done in almost two months.

Although Romo threw two interceptions, it didn’t shake the momentum and confidence of the Cowboys. Finally, they played with some much needed ‘umph.’ The Cowboys played like their life depended on it.

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In order to beat the Panthers on Thanksgiving day, they’ll have to do that and more.

Here are three things the Cowboys must do to beat the Panthers to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Creating turnovers/No turnovers

The Cowboys defense showed up against the Dolphins when linebacker Rolando McClain returned an interception for a touchdown. It was the Cowboys only turnover of the game but was much needed, especially since the defense has only eight turnovers for the season. In fact, the Cowboys have three interceptions in the last two games. To keep that trend going, the Cowboys will have to create turnovers to beat the undefeated Carolina Panthers.

As great as Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is playing, he’s prone to throw interceptions. Newton has thrown nine interceptions to go with 20 touchdown passes. The Cowboys defense has to intercept Cam or create some fumbles. The more opportunities for the Cowboys offense the better.

This is the game where defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli gets out of his standard defense and calls a few blitzes. A blitz here or there can throw ‘Superman Cam’ off and lead to a turnover. If the Cowboys can create at least two turnovers in this game, it will be the difference maker in a victory.

McClain’s pic-six was the difference maker in the Cowboys victory over the Dolphins. Miami came to play and they weren’t an easy out for Dallas.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Cowboy can’t afford to turn the ball over. If the Cowboys turn over the ball against the Panthers, they’ll lose this game. It’s that simple. The Panthers will convert those turnovers into points like a gambler cashing in chips in Las Vegas.

The Panthers have one of the best defenses in the league and their front seven gets after the quarterback. The Panthers front seven will bring the heat against Romo to create turnovers. Holding onto the ball is the only option in this ‘must win’ game.

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Containing Cam Newton

In my opinion, ‘Superman Cam’ Newton is playing better than any quarterback in the league and he’s also the most unstoppable. If you believe Cam is overrated or he’s lucky, you better think again. Cam has single-handedly wielded the Panthers to victory game after game while proving NFL experts wrong.

Cam is beating teams with his arm, but it’s his running ability that is destroying teams and giving the Panthers an almost unfair advantage.

The Cowboys defense has to create a box around Cam to cut off his running lanes. The key is to stop him from running and then using his athletic ability to get first downs and move the chains. The defense has to make Cam beat them from the pocket, period.

If Cam is forced to stay in the pocket and throw, this works in the Cowboys favor because now he can’t escape and there’s the possibility of a sack. Better yet, he might throw an interception. Newton does not have a receiver like Dez Bryant to throw to.

The defense has to be disciplined and stay in their lanes and not let Cam escape. The Cowboys have to defend Newton like they defended Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

If the Cowboys contain Newton, they give themselves a great opportunity to win this game.


Head coach Jason Garrett, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, and Marinelli need to coach this game as if their job is on the line. This is the game where Garrett allows Linehan to use every play in the book, including a trick play to open up the game. This is the game where Garrett uses an onside kick when the Panthers least expect it.

Marinelli has to confuse Newton with different pass coverages, delayed blitzes or practically anything to throw him off. Marinelli cannot be bland in this game because Newton will destroy the defense. Basically, Marinelli has to take away one of the Panthers offensive strengths, Newton or Olsen, to make the Panthers one dimensional.

For example, versatile defensive back Byron Jones should cover Olsen. Jones did an excellent job against New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is the best best tight end in the NFL.

Garrett has to be aggressive and coach situational  football.

Next: Cowboys: History Suggests Victory Over Carolina Panthers

If the Cowboys do these three things, they can beat the Panthers and keep their short winning streak going.

Because at this point in the Cowboys season, it’s all or nothing.