Bob Sansevere: Five keys to Cowboys-Vikings game

2. THE PUNISHER: Moss never has lost a game to Dallas. Fueled by
the Cowboys’ snub of him in the 1998 draft when they had the eighth
overall pick and led him to believe they’d select him, Moss has
trampled Dallas every chance he’s gotten. He is 7-0 against the
Cowboys with 11 touchdowns and a 21-yard average. That’s his best
average against any NFL team. Moss told Dallas media members on
Wednesday that he has forgiven the Cowboys for not drafting him,
saying, “I don’t hold a grudge.” That’s an interesting comment,
considering on that same day he told the Minnesota media the reason
he has been so successful against the Cowboys is because of what
happened in the ’98 draft.

3. DESPERATE AND DANGEROUS: The Cowboys, like the
Vikings, are 1-3 and can’t afford to
fall to 1-4. That becomes a mighty deep hole and would put a crimp
in plans to win the Super Bowl. The Cowboys’ incentive to reach the
Super Bowl is increased because that game will be played at their
stadium. Despite the three losses, the Cowboys’ offense has put up
impressive numbers and ranks second overall in the league. Last
week, in a 34-27 loss to Tennessee, the Cowboys amassed 511 yards.
It was the most by a Dallas team in more than a decade. Tony Romo
passed for 406 yards, Miles Austin had nine catches for 166 yards
and Felix Jones ran for 109 yards. The best way to disrupt the
Cowboys’ offense is for the
Vikings’ defense to torment Romo
when he drops back to pass.

4. THE RUSH: The
Vikings led the NFL with 48 sacks
last season, but they have just six sacks in four games this time
around. Jared Allen, who has had 14.5 sacks in each of the past two
seasons, has one. That has to change, and the Cowboys could be just
the team to do it against. In the NFC divisional playoffs last
season, the
Vikings had six sacks and hit Romo
about 10 times. Ray Edwards, whose 1.5 sacks lead the team, had
three sacks in that game, while Allen had a sack, a forced fumble
and a tackle behind the line of scrimmage. The
Vikings held the Cowboys to a
season-low 248 yards and won 34-3. The way the
Vikings’ offense has been playing,
they might need similar defensive dominance in today’s game.

5. THEIR RUSH: The Cowboys rank eighth in the NFL in total
defense, and a lot of that has to do with the play of the
linebackers in their 3-4 alignment. The most dangerous of the bunch
is pass-rushing fiend DeMarcus Ware. He has six sacks, tied for
second-most in the league, and six tackles for losses. The
Vikings have struggled giving Favre
enough time to locate receivers and, to account for Ware, they will
have to come up with something different today. An extra tight end
would be one option. If the
Vikings control Ware enough to keep
him from constantly harassing Favre, their chances of winning


Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s NFL ranking with a 68.4
completion percentage. Brett Favre is tied for 27th with Donovan
McNabb; both have a 56.5 percentage.


Vikings running back Adrian
Peterson leads the NFL in rushing yards per game with a 120.0
average. At that pace, he would finish with 1,920 yards.


Cowboys wideout Miles Austin’s average receiving yards per game,
good for first in the NFL.