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Cowboys-Cardinals…Heating Up in the Desert!

Good Morning Cowboy Fans:

Home cooking for the Arizona Cardinals used to be literally baking in triple-digit heat rising from the metal bleachers of a mostly empty Sun Devil Stadium.

Coach Phillips talked some this week about “how he played there a lot of times, and remembers way back when he was with the Denver Broncos, shoot, the whole crowd was a Denver crowd, and there wasn’t a big crowd.”
Oh my… how things have finally changed.

Entering their third season in a raucous – and air conditioned – home of their own, the Cardinals finally have a true home-field advantage and the record to prove it.

Arizona is 8-2 at University of Phoenix Stadium since Ken Whisenhunt took over as coach in 2007 and is riding a five-game winning streak there. In their two home victories this season – over Miami and Buffalo – the Cardinals have outscored their opponents 72-27, including a 41-17 win over the previously unbeaten Bills last Sunday.

Whisenhunt said “he knows that they have an appreciation of home-field advantage as a football team. I think our fans are starting to get a sense of that as well,” Whisenhunt said. ”I compliment them on how they’ve been for us. At times it’s as loud as many of the louder stadiums that I’ve been in.”

If Arizona can win a few away from home, the team could be in great shape down the stretch. The Cardinals are now 3-2, alone atop the NFC West, three of its last four and four of its last six games are at home.

The Cardinals have sold out all 18 regular season games since moving in to the 64,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof in the west Phoenix suburb of Glendale. In previous years in 72,000-seat Sun Devil Stadium, on the campus of Arizona State University, sellouts were extremely rare, usually occurring when the Cowboys came to town.

The three largest crowds for the Cardinals, and six of their biggest nine, came in their old stadium came against Dallas.

So, with that said it brings us to this weekend. The Cowboys return to the desert, just as they did a year ago when the Pittsburgh Steelers visited, many Arizona fans are expected to sell their tickets.

”Kurt Warner talked about “how he thinks it stinks, ”it’s always hard to tell somebody not to sell something when they can make money off of it, but we just want our advantage. I think we’ve fought hard for that.”

Many Cardinal’s fans are just using their heads, knowing that much if not most of the cost of a season ticket can be made up by selling away just this one game. Arizona’s players, though, want their fans to be using their heart.

Warner went onto to say this week, “I think our fans have done a tremendous job of sticking with us and now we are developing something. I just hope it gets to the point where it doesn’t matter who comes into this building.’

It’ll be like old times Sunday in Arizona when the Dallas Cowboys face the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The two teams used to meet twice a season as part of the NFC East from 1970 to 2001. As part of the 2002 NFL realignment, the Cardinals were placed in the NFC West with St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle.

Dallas leads the series 55-28-1 and won their previous meeting 27-10 on Nov. 12, 2006.

According to Coach Phillips, safety Roy Williams and guard Kyle Kosier are both out for week six. We’ll also be playing without Terrance Newman. If it wasn’t for Boldin being out as well, that would have this writer a little worried.

I thought “Pacman” did a good job going against Houshmanzadeh and Johnson last week, so I’m interested to see if he can continue his progression lining up against Fitzgerald.

Key Match-Up’s:

1. Ware/Ellis vs. Gandy/Brown

2. Tony Romo vs. Arizona secondary

3. Kurt Warner vs. Dallas secondary

Depending on how much pressure Dallas can get on Warner, and how well our secondary performs I can see Dallas winning this one. If we aren’t able to get a lot of pressure on Warner and he has time to throw…I could see this being a high scoring affair with the less penalized/less mistake-prone team winning it.

As far as a prediction goes, I’ll say it’ll be a 31-21 game at this point, with Dallas pulling out its fifth win of the season.

Take A Deep Breath

Cowboys Still In Great Shape

 12 and 2, NFC Division Champs, First round bye in the Playoffs and a Great Chance for home field throughout the playoffs still in the mix. I find myself taking a deep breath despite the loss to the Eagles, (which was a very tough pill to swallow.) The only thing worrying me coming out of a 10 to 6 loss to the Eagles was the injuries to a number of key players for the Cowboys. 

Tony Romo

Romo suffered a right thumb contusion, and left Sundays game with his right hand heavily bandaged, but said he would be "fine" for Saturdays game against the Panthers. If his bruised thumb still affects him It would be wise to concentrate more on running the ball.

Andre Gurode

The Pro Bowl Center Gurode left the game Sunday with a sprained left knee. Gurode had and MRI done on his knee Monday and was waiting for results to come in later Monday evening. Nothing has came in as of yet on the status of Gurode at this time.  We just need to hope that Gurode will return to the Field for the Panthers game on Saturday. If we are having to rely mostly on the run, then Gurode will defiantly be needed going up against the Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins who is one the best at his position.

Chris Canty

Phillips said Canty had just a sprained knee and could be ready to play this week.

Anthony Fasano

Fasano suffered a mild concussion Sunday afternoon, but Phillips stated that it isn’t anything serious and would be ready to play on Saturday. 

Patrick Watkins

Watkins might not be ready to play this week, Phillips termed his injury just a "regular ankle sprain" that doesn’t appear to be a long-term setback.

The Cowboys still have plenty of things to be optimistic about regardless of their bad day Sunday. Terry Glenn is Hopeful to return to the lineup on Saturday. And Everyone including myself have been eagerly anticipating his return. With his presence on the field he is going to open up this offense to a whole other level. 

Things are still on the UP and UP for the Boyz. We as Fans just need to brush off this past game and be hopeful for everyone to be healthy and ready to go on game day. I don’t feel like this is the December slide that most have been worrying about. I feel like this is going to be a December To Remember  for the rest of our Die Hard Cowboys Lives.  So lets all take a deep breath and get pumped up for Saturday.  Go Cowboys!!!!