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Old 04-08-2006, 12:11 AM   #1
Justin Otstott
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Default Cowboys Top Five Games to Watch in 2006

Analysis: Check Out Top Five Games to Watch in 2006
By: Nick Eatman

Six out of nine road games to open the season. Three straight on the road in mid-season for the first time in 14 years.

Six games on national television, including two on NBC Sunday night and one Christmas afternoon.

Yes, several things jump right out at first glance of the Cowboys' 2006 regular-season schedule. But after sifting through the schedule, one thing is for certain:

The 2006 schedule will be full of excitement.

Of course, we've got Terrell Owens playing the Eagles twice. But from the sound of things, any game involving T.O. should be worth the price of admission.

It's not just. T.O., though. Peyton Manning comes to town for the first time. So do the Houston Texans. The Cowboys even face Sean Payton in a late-season affair with the Saints.

Now it might be only April, but here's a look at what is shaping up to be the top five Cowboys games to watch in 2006:

Week 1, at Jacksonville (9/10)

OK, openers are always fun to watch, but there is something about this year's that will be different. Oh yeah, the first game for Terrell Owens, that's it. Sure, T.O. in a Cowboys uniform will be worth the time to watch this one, especially going up against a formidable Jacksonville team which had the sixth-best defense in the NFL last season.

But while the focus will certainly by on the wide receiver, don't forget about the linebackers. This should also be the debut of free agent Akin Ayodele, who played his first four seasons in Jacksonville. In fact, Ayodele is the only player in Jags history to post four straight 100-plus tackle seasons. The Cowboys signed him to play inside linebacker alongside Bradie James.

And not only will this be the Cowboys' first regular-season visit to Jacksonville, doing so in early September when the Florida coastal temperatures still might be hovering in the 90's should become an added attraction.

And if that's not enough, Jacksonville's coaching staff has some Cowboys ties. Head coach Jack Del Rio played linebacker in Dallas from 1989-91 and former Cowboys head coach Dave Campo is currently a secondary coach with the Jags.

Week 2, vs. Washington (9/17)

Well, the second game is also big. But before you think we're going to list all 16 games, just remember that this is the Redskins. The Cowboys could play Washington anywhere on the schedule, or even in mid-May, and it would be a big deal.

But there are several factors this year that make this showdown even more gripping.

The Redskins and Cowboys were arguably the two most aggressive teams in free agency this year, restocking with several prominent veterans.
The Redskins completely stole one from the Cowboys Week 2 on Monday night last season, with Santana Moss scoring two late touchdowns to lift Washington to a 14-13 win. The Redskins then spanked the Cowboys, 35-7, the second time around, handing them their worst defeat of 2005.
And it was those two victories over the Cowboys that propelled the Redskins to a 10-6 record and the last NFC Wild-Card spot, leaving the Cowboys on the outside looking in, finishing the season 9-7.
This game will be on NBC, both teams debuting on the new Sunday night primetime broadcast. The league is pumping up this primetime game of the week.
Oh, and it's Cowboys and Redskins, too, by the way.

Week 5, at Philadelphia (9/24)

We just knew the NFL wouldn't stash this game on the shelf until Christmas. No one wants to wait that long for their presents - to see Owens return to Philly where the fans certainly will embrace him with open arms.

OK, maybe not, which is certain to be half the entertainment that night.

And who knows what kind of team the Eagles will have in 2006. Remember, not only did the Cowboys sweep them last year for the first time since 1998, but Philly went 0-for-6 against NFC East opponents.

Getting Donovan McNabb healthy again should help immensely, and it certainly will spice up the storylines with T.O. coming back to town.

Like the Cowboys and Redskins, the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry can stand on its own. But this year, with Owens in the mix, it's probably the can't-miss game of the season.

Week 8, at Carolina (10/29)

No game had as much as excitement as the Cowboys' dramatic, 24-20 comeback victory over the Panthers last season in Charlotte, N.C. Needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Cowboys rallied for a game-winning touchdown in the final 30 seconds on Christmas Eve.

But while this year's game would be hard-pressed to top that game for drama, the rematch in 2006 could be even better.

You want some good receivers? Watch this one, where arguably the top receiving corps will be on the field at the same time. Keyshawn Johnson teams up with Steve Smith in Carolina for a 1-2 punch that could make the Panthers one of the more explosive teams in the NFC.

That's strong, but the tandem of Owens and Terry Glenn might be even better. Throw tight end Jason Witten into the equation, and the Cowboys might even have an edge in the passing game.

So expect a lot of points in this one, which will be another primetime Sunday night showdown on NBC.

Week 11, vs. Indianapolis (Nov. 19)

Peyton Manning makes his first trip to Texas Stadium. That's good enough right there.

But more than just the NFL's top quarterback playing his first game in Dallas, the Cowboys will get a chance to test themselves against one of the league's elite teams. Remember, the Colts began last year 13-0, and had everyone talking about a perfect season until losing two in the final three weeks. Worse, they then lost their AFC Divisional playoff game to the Steelers, 21-18, when kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed the last-second, game-tying, field-goal attempt.

And how fitting if this game should come down to a last-second field goal?

Indianapolis decided not to retain Vanderjagt, who signed a three-year deal with the Cowboys - paying top dollar for the first time in the Jerry Jones era for a kicker.

The Colts instead decided to sign Adam Vinatieri, the former Patriots kicker who has made two game-winning field goals in the Super Bowl.

*********************************

Those are just five games. Certainly, there are plenty more intriguing match-ups to come, including a Monday night game against the Giants and the Christmas Day showdown with the Eagles at Texas Stadium. Even the Texans coming to town for the first time ever, and bringing the No. 1 pick in the draft with them should be a fun one as well.

Again, it's only April, but already, these five already stand out.

Source: Cowboys.com
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Old 04-08-2006, 09:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cowboys Top Five Games to Watch in 2006

Im trying to find a Steelers top five games to watch story now....
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Old 04-08-2006, 09:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cowboys Top Five Games to Watch in 2006

For me..........

Jacksonville away. Always give us a fight.

Cincinnati home. New and improved Bengals. I'm also anxious to see if there are more than five Bengal fans that attend Heinz this year.

Denver home. AFC Championship game rematch.

Carolina away. At Carolina against a playoff team. Should be interesting in my opinion.

Cincinnati away. New and improved Bengals.
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Old 04-08-2006, 11:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cowboys Top Five Games to Watch in 2006

not bad you should make a thread with your list...
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