By Zach Walker
New York Jets vs. Dallas Cowboys
Saturday – December 19 – 7:25 pm CT
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Records Before the Game
New York Jets (8-5, 3-3 away)
Dallas Cowboys (4-9, 1-5 home)
Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
WR Brandon Marshall – Brandon Marshall has a very special relationship with Ryan Fitzpatrick, it seemed to have been one of those things that two veterans just kind of understand with each other. Marshall trusts Fitzgerald to get him the ball and Fitzgerald trusts Marshall to be in the correct position and for the most part they have connected when they have been on the field together. Marshall is still a nightmare match up for a defensive back. He’s big, he’s got great catch radius, and his years of learning how to catch ugly ducklings of passes from various quarterbacks so he’s well versed in getting it done.
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
QB Matt Cassel – Over the last few games, Matt Cassel has definitely evaporated his welcome to the Cowboys fans. It’s now the sort of a sick joke that anytime he is expected to get the ball down field, it’s not Brandon Weeden bad, but the expectations are now, from drive to drive, is such a roller coaster. It’s gotten to the point where people are asking for Kellen Moore to start as opposed to Matt Cassel. I say, let the lofty lefty play but I’m not in charge and a lot of people would probably say that’s a bad idea but could it be worse? Maybe not. Maybe, but maybe not.
Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Jets’ Running Backs – I’ll be completely transparent, I was so doubting Chris Ivory’s ability to be a primary back that I dropped him after having auto drafted him in my fantasy league, not saying I’m regretting that but probably would have been helpful having him the whole year because he is playing extremely well. Ivory is only 86 yards away from reaching 1,000 yards and if last week’s game is any indication, that’s going to happen. He’s going to get a thousand yards this season and he’s definitely going to do it on Saturday night against the Cowboys. The Cowboys looked so bad against the Packers allowing 200 plus yards rushing, there’s no way that Chris Ivory doesn’t come into this game licking his chops to play against the Dallas Cowboys defense.
Which group will give the Jets fits?
The Cowboys’ Defensive Line – The Cowboys didn’t get exactly the kind of pressure that they needed to get on Aaron Rodgers to win the game in Green Bay last week, but I can hardly blame them, playing against the Green Bay college-style offense, with Aaron Rodgers playing in his “in the gun two-step drop and ball is out” offense. Fitzpatrick operates out of a lot of three and four wide receiver sets that allows him to have the ball spread out as much as he wants. So as long as the coverage will hold up for the first two seconds of the play the Cowboys could get themselves into throwing lanes with their big men and bat some passes away at the line. The Jets aren’t necessarily the best pass protection team, so the Cowboys should be able to get some sort of pressure.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Cowboys defense has to play very disciplined, because the Jets operate with a lot of four receiver sets, where you’re going to have to be playing nickel or dime packages, the Jets can still run the ball from the wide set and be very successful at it. So being disciplined is the key on defense and on offense, if they get anything, that’ll help; but this is going to be a game which is just probably pretty bad. It’s not Saturday Night Fever positive it’s Saturday night illness: itchy throat, runny nose, fever.
Prediction: New York 24 – Dallas 17