Let the trash talkin’ begin!
Game time is 8:15 pm ET. The Panthers are trying to keep their longshot playoff hopes alive, while the Cowboys are trying to hold on to home field advantage, and are hoping to recover from last week’s embarassing loss to the Eagles:
Despite its struggles over the last two games, Dallas has already clinched a first-round bye and is tied with Green Bay for the best record in the NFC. The Cowboys own the tiebreaker after beating the Packers 37-27 on Nov. 29, so a win and a Green Bay loss in Chicago this weekend will ensure Dallas home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
“We’re very fortunate to lose a game and get a first-round bye and still have an opportunity to have home-field advantage. We’ve just got to win out,” [Receiver Terrell] Owens said.
The Dallas defense will be without one of their star players:
The Cowboys, though, need to get their offense going, while the defense will be without safety Roy Williams, who was suspended one game after his third illegal “horse collar” tackle of the season and fourth in two seasons last week. Williams appealed the decision, but the league upheld the ban Wednesday.
Williams leads the team with 65 solo tackles and is second in total tackles with 83.
Carolina’s defense may be without one of their own star players, Julius Peppers, who is listed as “doubtful” for tonight’s game (sprained ankle). My prediction is that he definitely won’t play, as he hasn’t practiced all week. Not that he has been putting up fantasy numbers this year anyway, but still, he’s a strong motivator for the Carolina defense, so his absence will most assuredly be felt tonight.
I participated in a football pool this week, and out of the eleven total who signed up for it, only one picked the Panthers in an upset. It wasn’t me. I’ve heard the jokes about the Cowboys being “cowgirls” but the only time they seem to act like cowgirls is when they have a famous one cheering their QB on in the stands. Keep in mind that I say that as someone who used to be a big Dallas fan when I was very young, back in the days when Landry was the coach and Roger Staubach was QB. Those were the days … sigh.
Hey, want to try and distract Tony Romo at tonight’s game, Panthers fans? The National Ledger reports that a website has been created to help do just that. The local media have been all over it. Download your Jessica Simpson mask here!
In an interesting twist, Matt Moore, who originally wanted to be a Cowboys QB but was denied, will be starting tonight. Will revenge be in the cards?
The game is being broadcast on the NFL network, which a lot of people don’t get, but you should be able to watch it here. I suspect a local network here will be showing the game, too (most likely WBTV). I won’t be around for a good part of the game, but will try and check in before it’s over. Of course, it may be over before it really gets started good
Also, please utilize this as an open thread for this weekend, although non-football fans be warned: this thread will likely be taken over tonight for a few hours by Cowboys and Packers fans, with the Packers fans hoping for a Dallas loss, which would take the Packers one step closer to home field advantage. That GB/Chicago game, BTW, will be played in Chicago, at 1 pm ET tomorrow.
Update: The Panthers lost to the Cowboys 20-13, with some help from the officials in the 4th quarter. I coulda called the dang game better than they did! Don’t any of the striped shirts know what pass interference looks like??