Cowboys out to stop Davis again

For the second time this season, the Cowboys will try to shut down Stephen Davis.

Updated: January 1, 2004, 12:50 PM ET

The Matchup:
Stephen Davis vs. Cowboys run defense

The Game:
Cowboys at Panthers, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

The Question:
Who will win this matchup? Click here to vote!

Stephen Davis Roy Williams
Stephen Davis Roy Williams

By Merril Hoge

Now that Carolina has experienced playing Dallas, it knows what the Cowboys defense is all about. The Panthers will use the Cowboys' aggression against them by allowing them to get up field. There will be more draws and some whams in this game -- where you let a guy come up field and wham him to get him out of the way and create a running lane. And the Panthers blockers will be much more patient than in their first meeting.

Carolina won't change its identity and what it does in terms of running the ball. But to support the run, there will be opportunities for Jake Delhomme to successfully throw the ball downfield. Cowboys cornerback Mario Edwards can be taken advantage of. And there's little doubt the Cowboys safeties also can be taken advantage of. They're just not as good in passing situations as they are around the box. Carolina exposed that a bit in the last matchup, and I believe we'll see even more of it this time around.

By Mike Golic

The Cowboys are an undersized, underrated defense that has quietly become the No. 1 ranked unit in the NFL. It's a shame, but I bet most people couldn't name three people on this defense and it's the best in the NFL! The defense isn't very big, but it has a lot of talent and speed to stop opposing teams. Against a big back like Stephen Davis, the Cowboys will try to hit him at or behind the line of scrimmage to stop him from getting a full head of steam.

Going into this game, the Cowboys know Davis isn't going to break any 40- or 50-yard runs because they are too fast to allow that. So, the key is to stop him from grinding out intermediate seven- or eight-yard runs that will hurt them. Don't be surprised if the Cowboys stuff the line of scrimmage and force the game into the hands of quarterback Jake Delhomme.