A look at the 'Boys from behind enemy lines

Here is today's Jessica Simpson Photo of the Day.
I asked Dave Halprin, the fine editor for Blogging the Boys, if he would share some insights into the Cowboys with us, and he has obliged.

Below is Dave's scouting report on the Giants. In return, I've given him a look at the Giants from my perspective.

Greetings Giants fans,

Hello from the enemy, the Dallas Cowboys. It's been a good year for the Cowboys, a 13-3 record and the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs has us once again feeling good about our beloved 'Boys. But, we know it doesn't matter a lick if you don't win in the playoffs. We've spent a year thinking about playoff victory, ever since that K-ball slipped through the hands of Tony Romo and our win at Seattle slipped through all of our hands. We've been dreaming playoff dreams.

Now the moment is almost at hand, and wouldn't you know it would be against an NFC East foe. There's no Book of Secrets in this game, these two teams know each other very well. Still, ETVal invited me over to give you a scouting report on the Cowboys from behind enemy lines. I was happy to oblige.

And just so you know, yes, the Cowboys had two different seasons, one when they rolled over the opposition (save those pesky perfect Patriots) and then December, when we played average ball, but still went 2-2. We accomplished every goal on the checklist for a regular season; playoffs - check, division champs - check, bye week in the playoffs - check and home-field advantage - check. Now comes the serious stuff.

On to the Cowboys:

Offense

The Cowboys offense revolves around Tony Romo distributing the ball to three main scoring threats, Terrell Owens, Jason Witten and Marion Barber. Romo has shown a lot of improvement this year in both the way he manages games/reads defenses and in his ball security. He never gives up on a play, or a game, and has brought us back from deficits on numerous occasions. The fans, his teammates and his coach really believe in his abilities and he is the undisputed leader on the offense. He's managed to have a productive and healthy relationship with T.O. and he is one of the hardest working guys on the team. We think he's an elite QB in the league.

T.O. has the bum ankle but by all reports he is rehabbing it with the manic energy he does everything else with and everyone who follows the team feels he'll play on Sunday. Witten is the man over-the-middle and Romo's security blanket when things get sketchy. He's the one who really benefits from T.O. drawing double-teams. MB3 sets the emotional tone on offense. He doesn't talk at all but when he makes some of those runs where he stiff-arms the defender or just runs him over, the team gets pumped. We'll also get a look at Terry Glenn, who played a little in the finale, but after a season working through injury, he'll finally get a chance to try and help this team. And don't forget about the offensive line, they may not be the best run-blockers in the league but in pass protection they have been very solid.

Defense

The strength of the defense is in the front-seven and especially in the linebacking corps. The Cowboys have been stingy in the run game and only during the last game against the Redskins did we give up a 100-yard rusher. Jay Ratliff is a quick and disruptive nose tackle and just makes plays every week. On the outside at linebacker are the real disruptors on defense, DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis. Ware is a special athlete that can use speed and strength to get to the QB, is very good in the run game and can even drop back into coverage. One year I think he'll be the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL. Ellis had a remarkable comeback from injury and has been averaging about a sack a game. Those two are the most important elements on our defense. Bradie James at ILB is a tackling machine and has had a very productive year.

The secondary is the question mark on defense, partly from injuries and partly from bad play. Both starting CB's Terence Newman and Anthony Henry have spent time out of games with injuries this year and this week is probably the healthiest they've been all season. Roy Williams has never been known as a cover safety and nickel-corner Jacques Reeves has struggled at times this year. If the Cowboys are going to give up a lot of points on Sunday, the secondary is probably going to be the culprit.

Special Teams

Rookie kicker Nick Folk has been deadly accurate this year and has handled all the kicking duties cleanly. He finally settled down a position that had been a problem for us. Mat McBriar is a very good punter who made the Pro Bowl last year. Miles Austin is a dangerous kick return guy.

Coaching

Wade Phillips has done a fantastic job of guiding this team to a 13-3 record. Now comes his real test, the playoffs. He's had no luck in the playoffs previously and he needs to win this year to remove that stigma. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has created a potent offense that utilizes our main weapons to the fullest.

Overview

The Cowboys should be healthy again after a month full of injuries that robbed us of some of our best players. They should be hungry and rested, and if they play their game like they're capable of doing, they should win at home. But, it's the NFL and it's a game inside the division and we know anything can happen. I feel confident, and I'll feel more confident if Owens plays, but it's no sure thing by any stretch that we'll win.

Thanks, Dave! We appreciate your willingness to step across enemy lines and help us out. Be sure to check out Blogging the Boys to keep up with news on the Cowboys. Even if you won't find Jessica Simpson photos over there!

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