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JETS-COWBOYS PREVIEW

By Andrew Scharff
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
November 21st, 2007
The Jets will have their hands full trying to contain Cowboys WR Terrell Owens on Thursday who is having a career year.
The Jets will have their hands full trying to contain Cowboys WR Terrell Owens on Thursday who is having a career year.
There were many smiling faces in the Jets locker room after the 19-16 win over the Steelers last Sunday. But come Thursday the Jets will have to get back to business and face another difficult opponent as Gang Green gets right back into action, spending their Thanksgiving in Big D battling the Cowboys in front of a national audience.

For the second straight week the Jets will face another elite team and Super Bowl contender. The Cowboys are having a great season under first year head coach Wade Phillips. At 9-1 Dallas is sitting comfortably on top of the NFC Central.

“They have a great team. They have only lost to New England and that was a tough game,” said Jets TE Chris Baker. “They are 9-1 and their record speaks for itself. They have a lot of good players on offense and defense. They definitely have a good team.”

Numerous people wondered how Cowboys QB Tony Romo would fair this season after ending last season with the botched field goal snap against the Seahawks in the Wild Card Playoffs.

Romo has responded to that criticism with a year that any quarterback would be proud to call their own. Romo has completed 65% of his passes. He has thrown 27 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions. Romo has a quarterback rating of 105.6, which is tops in the NFC.

But Romo isn’t the only Cowboy putting up career numbers. WR Terrell Owens is having a career year. Not only is he putting up giant numbers (58 rec, 1028 yards and 12 TD’s), he is not being a cancer in the locker room. When Owens was in Philadelphia, his behavior was the problem. But this year not so.

Owens is just simply having fun. And when Owens is having fun, it means the Cowboys are winning.

“I can’t explain enough about the excitement and the guys. It works its way down. We appreciate and respect each other,” Owens said. “I’m having fun, the team is winning. Everyone is happy, not just me. Everybody is having fun.”

On Thursday the Jets hope to ruin the Cowboys fun and continue their winning ways. But it will be easier said than done. The Jets might not be without WR Laveranues Coles. Coles, who might miss Thursday’s game with an ankle sprain, had the Jets longest play from scrimmage in the win against the Steelers. Coles caught the 56-yard flea flicker pass from QB Kellen Clemens on the second play from scrimmage. If Coles is unavailable, it will be a tremendous hit to the Jets offense.

Cowboys Offense vs. Jets Defense

The Jets defense will have their hands full again. Last week against the Steelers, the Jets were never really tested downfield. And when the Jets were tested deep the Steelers got some good results. Look for Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to create plays allowing Romo to look downfield for his favorite target Owens. Owens, who is having a Pro-Bowl season, scored four touchdowns in the Cowboys win against the Redskins last Sunday. But the Jets secondary can’t just worry about Owens. Romo likes to spread the ball around. TE Jason Witten gets is always involved in the passing game and is favorite third down target for Romo.

Advantage: Cowboys

Jets Offense vs. Cowboys Defense

With the success that RB Thomas Jones had last week against the Steelers, there is no reason why offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should steer away from Jones. Jones had his third 100-yard performance of the season and he looked like the running back the Jets knew they were getting when they traded for him. If Jones can have success it should open the passing game. QB Kellen Clemens would be the first one to say the passing game struggled against the Steelers, but when he needed a completion Clemens found a way to get one. Getting into rhythm offensively for Jets will be a difficult task. The Cowboys defense, which is full of players brought in by Bill Parcells. The Dallas defense has a nice combination of size and speed. LB DeMarcus Ware is tied for first in the NFC in sacks with nine. CB Anthony Henry has five interceptions which ties him with Redskins S Sean Taylor for first in the NFC. And don’t forget about the hard-hitting safety Roy Williams.

Advantage: Cowboys

Jets Special Teams vs. Cowboys Special Teams

Leon Washington must really want to go to Hawaii at season’s end. Every week he is making an argument to represent the AFC in the Pro-Bowl. The Steelers tried to take Washington out of the game by pooch kicking the ball on all kickoffs but Washington finally got to touch the ball in the punt return game. His punt return in overtime set up Mike Nugent’s winning field goal. Stopping Washington will definitely be a focal point this week in practice for the Cowboys.

Advantage: Jets

Key Matchup

Cowboys Offensive Line vs. Jets Defensive Line

The Jets defensive line had their best game of the season on Sunday. Through the first nine weeks of the season the Jets only had nine sacks, but against the Steelers they compiled seven sacks and a lot of pressure on Ben Roethlisberger. This week the Jets will need to the same. The Jets defensive line not only has to put pressure on Romo, but once they get to Romo wrap him up. The Jets as a defense have missed a lot of tackles this season. Romo is strong in and out of the pocket. If Jets don’t wrap-up Romo, then he will make some big, game-changing plays.

The Bottom Line:This is another game where the Jets are heavy underdogs. Even though they beat the Steelers last Sunday, the Jets have to show the same effort against the Cowboys. That is something the Jets have yet to do this season. Dallas is a differs from the Steelers and they are a team that provides different challenges.

Prediction: Cowboys 31, Jets 24

INSIDER TIDBITS

Nothing to be Thankful For

The Jets haven’t had much success on Thanksgiving Day. Their record on turkey day is 3-2, but their only three wins came when the team was the New York Titans. Their last Thanksgiving Day was a 31-20 loss to the Detroit Lions during the 1985 season.

Thomas Looking to be the Better Jones

On Thursday, Jets RB Thomas Jones face his brother (Cowboys RB Julius Jones) for the second time in his career. The first time these two met was when Thomas was a member of the Chicago Bears. In that game (which was also on Thanksgiving) Julius got the better of Thomas, but come Thursday Thomas will look to best his brother.

“My brother had a great game. He had about 150 yards and a couple of touchdowns when I was in Chicago. He got the best of me that day,” Jones said earlier in the week. “We will see how it goes on Thursday?”

Prior Meetings

The Jets have not faired too well against America’s team. In eight meetings between the two teams the Jets have compiled a 2-6 record. The last time these two teams met was September 28, 2003 at the Meadowlands as Dallas escaped with a 17-6 over the Jets. The last time the Jets beat Dallas was December 19, 1999 when Gang Green traveled to Dallas and came away with a 22-21 win.

No Crayton

The Cowboys might be without WR Patrick Crayton. Crayton missed practice on Tuesday due to an ankle injury and ESPN reports that Crayton is doubtful for Thursday's game. Crayton got off to hot start this season. Crayton caught 33 passes for 482 yards and 5 touchdowns this season.

Injury Report

New York Jets

Limited Participation in Practice

WR Laveranues Coles (ankle), DL Dewayne Robertson (knee), S Eric Smith (concussion)

Full Participation in Practice

TE Chris Baker (back), OL Anthony Clement (knee), WR Chris Davis (shoulder), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), DL C.J. Mosley (shoulder), CB Darrelle Revis (knee), WR Brad Smith (back)

Dallas Cowboys

Did Not Participate in Practice

WR Terry Glenn (knee), WR Patrick Crayton (ankle)

Full Participation in Practice

G Leonard Davis (ankle), CB Anthony Henry (ankle), WR Isaiah Stanback (shoulder)

Game time is at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, local TV Fox 5 and local radio on 1050 ESPN radio and WCRN 104.3 on Long Island. Be sure to check back to JetsInsider.com after the game for a complete recap!

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