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All The Cowboys Want For Christmas Is A Win In Arizona

Dallas Cowboys (5-9) vs. Arizona Cardinals (4-10)
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AR
When: Saturday, December 25th, 7:30 pm EST
Media: NFL Network

While this season has been anything but a gift for the Cowboys, they will be looking for Santa to deliver come Christmas evening when they take on the Cardinals. Both teams have had their struggles this season. The Cowboys appear to have righted the ship, on offense at least. The Cardinals, well, they are really missing a quarterback. Since Kurt Warner stepped down after last season, the Cardinals have been horrible. Dallas wasn’t much better until a midseason coaching change brought Jason Garrett into the forefront. Both, Dallas and Arizona, would like to have a victory as a Christmas gift on Saturday.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have been dreadful this year. They have a lot of weapons at the skill positions on both offense and defense, yet, find themselves near the bottom of the league in both categories. The Cardinals have one of the worst offenses in the NFL, ranked 31st in the league. It is a mystery with the likes of WR’s Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston, combined with the running attack of Beannie Wells and Tim Hightower. The real breakdown for, this once powerful offense, has been at the quarterback position. The combination of Derek Anderson and Max Hall have been terrible. Game manager, QB John Skelton, has been the starter after blow out victory a couple of weeks ago against the Broncos. Under Skelton, the offense has been predictable and safe. They have not been able to run or pass consistently and they will face, arguably, the best pass rusher in the NFL when DeMarcus Ware comes to play. They will need to establish some sort of running game if they wish to be competitive in this game. The Cowboys have 12 interceptions in the last 6 games and will be ball hawking on Skelton this week.

On defense the Cardinals haven’t been much better. They are ranked 27th in the league in total defense. The biggest struggle for the Cardinals has been stopping the run. They are giving up 145 yards/game on the ground which has allowed teams to effectively use play-action passing against them. With Marion Barber back this week for the Cowboys, the Cardinals will have to prepare for all three Cowboy backs and a rather large offensive line. The defense will have to clog the running lanes and use their strength, the pass rush, to get the Cowboys off track.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas enters the game with questions of their own, largely on defence. The Cowboys gave up 322 yards passing to Rex Grossman last week in their 33-30 win over Washington. They have been inconsistent on the pass rush this season and cornerbacks Terrance Newman and Mike Jenkins have looked like anything but Pro Bowlers. It appears like Arizona is just what the doctor ordered for a struggling defense. They Cowboys will have to contain Larry Fitzgerald, something historically, they have not done well. Look for DeMarcus Ware to jump between both sides on defense and also young LB’s Victor Butler and Brandon Williams to get a good look at rushing the passer. Both players have been seeing an increase in playing time and Garrett says it is because they have earned it. OLB Anthony Spencer has struggled this season and the Cowboys might be looking to replace the fourth year player.

On offense, the return of Marion Barber at running back should help the ground game as they continue to improve since Garrett took over. The Cowboys will likely feature the “three headed monster” for the first time this season, giving all three a share of the load. Receiver, Roy Williams will likely return after missing last week’s game with a strained groin. The Cowboys air attack didn’t miss a beat as Jon Kitna continues to impress at quarterback for the Cowboys. They should have an easier time this week against a suspect Cardinals defense.

There will be no repeats of 2008, when Arizona took Romo and the Cowboys out. This game has the makings to be a blow out, but the Cowboys have hardly delivered when they “supposed to” this season. I’m going to call this one 38-17 for the Cowboys.

Merry Christmas to all our readers. May you enjoy your families and friends this holiday season!

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