Five things to watch in Cowboys-Vikings game

Posted Saturday, Nov. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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1Bryant watch

No NFL player was talked about more this week than Dez Bryant. His sideline outbursts last week in Detroit were the center of conversation all week. How does Bryant respond this week when the cameras will surely be focused on him? Bryant was targeted only six times last week, but finished with three catches, including two for touchdowns. The Cowboys are trying to find more ways to get the ball to Bryant, as well as tight end Jason Witten.

2Murray’s return

The offense has struggled the past three weeks, averaging only 283 yards a game. Maybe DeMarco Murray’s return will help change that. The starting running back has been out the past two weeks with a knee injury, and the running game has struggled. Murray might not be a superstar back, but he has averaged 4.7-yards-per-carry this season.

3Carr regrouping

Brandon Carr didn’t hide after being the No. 1 victim of Calvin Johnson’s monster day last week in Detroit. Instead, Carr answered any question thrown his way and maintained that his confidence had not been shattered by Megatron. The test comes this week against the Vikings. It shouldn’t be too hard of a test, though, as Minnesota is 27th in passing yards.

4Double prep work

The Vikings didn’t announce their starting quarterback until Friday, when coach Leslie Frazier said Colleyville Heritage product Christian Ponder would start. All week, the Cowboys were preparing for either Ponder or Josh Freeman. Said Jason Hatcher: “They’re just two different styles, but we’ve just got to go out and play our football. I’m not really worried about who they have at quarterback. I’m just going to focus on me and what we do as a defense.”

5The return game

The top two kick returners in the NFL are set to square off this week. Vikings return man Cordarrelle Patterson leads the league with an average return of 39.1 yards, just ahead of the Cowboys’ Dwayne Harris (35.7). Patterson has two touchdown returns, and Harris has yet to take it the distance on kickoff returns, but he has one score on a punt return. The field position battle, however, could be a difference maker with Patterson and Harris returning kicks.

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