TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 7: Dallas Cowboys At Carolina Panthers

Cowboys
Panthers
Dallas Cowboys v Baltimore Ravens
Seattle Seahawks v Carolina Panthers
Quarterback
Winner The Cowboys lost again in their Week Six matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, but Tony Romo bounced back with a solid game. He shook off his five-interception performance against Chicago and played with confidence and threw the ball with accuracy. If he can get half-decent protection from his line and his receivers cooperate, Romo should be ready for a big game.
The Panthers are struggling on offense and Cam Newton has not found his way so far this season. While he is a gifted athlete with a plus-arm, he is struggling with his accuracy and timing. The Panthers are getting frustrated waiting for him to demonstrate his talent the way he did as a rookie last year.
Offense
Winner The Cowboys rediscovered their running game in the 31-29 loss to the Ravens. Running back DeMarco Murray carried the ball 14 times for 93 yards. Dez Bryant is a big-play wide receiver with a boatload of athletic talent. However, he doesn’t always carry out his assignments properly. Tight end Jason Witten remains Romo’s most dependable receiver.
Winner The Panthers have the talent to put a dependable ground game on the field. In addition to the running of Newton, DeAngelo Williams is an explosive back and Jonathan Stewart is a dependable change-of-pace runner. Steve Smith may be getting older, but he still runs his pass patterns with speed and toughness. He needs more help from Brandon LaFell and tight end Greg Olsen.
Defense
The Cowboys try to beat you with speed on defense. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan knows where opponents want to go and he does a very good job of playing the chess game and having his players in the proper position. Heat-seeking missile DeMarcus Ware is still the most dangerous defender on the Cowboys and is still one of the best defensive players in the game.
Winner The Panthers have a speedy defensive team and they have talent in their hard-hitting linebacking crew. The most important player may be rookie Luke Kuechly who can be a tackling machine and is almost never in the wrong spot. Veteran Jon Beason remains one of the hardest hitters in the game.
Special Teams
The Cowboys got victimized on special teams in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens when Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. The Cowboys are not getting much from their own return specialists and placekicker Dan Bailey is just average.
Winner The Panthers have not turned to placekicker Justin Medlock very often this year. He has made just 2-of-2 attempts this season. Punter Brad Nortman does not have a huge leg, but he is skilled at placing the ball inside the 20-yard line.

The Winner Is

Seattle Seahawks v Carolina Panthers
Winner Panthers
3 out of 4

Both teams are at critical points in their season. The Cowboys are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Ravens following their bye week. The Panthers have not been consistent this season and Ron Rivera must come up with an answer quickly or the season will quickly disappear. The Panthers must force turnovers from Romo if they want to win this game.

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  3. SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes during warmups before a game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on December 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 04:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is pressured by Christian Covington #95 of the Houston Texans during the first half of a game at Lambeau Field on December 4, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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