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Monday, October 8, 2007
Salisbury: Cowboys need to ride Barber

By Sean Salisbury

Every Monday, ESPN football analyst Sean Salisbury provides his picks and keys to the game for ESPN PlayCaller. Want to put Sean's advice to work? Think you know better? Join now and let's see what you've got.


Quarterback with most yards:Tony Romo
Romo is averaging more than 280 yards and he has too many weapons, both on the perimeter and coming out of the backfield.

Quarterback with most touchdowns:Tony Romo
Once again, the Cowboys have too many weapons for this to go the other way. Romo has done well this season with spreading the ball around to all his weapons.

Running back with most touchdowns: Marion Barber III
Barber will be the man tonight. The Cowboys will be able to shut down Marshawn Lynch. When the Cowboys get inside the red zone they will pound the ball with Barber, and I expect him to get at least two rushing touchdowns.

Running back with most yards: Marion Barber III
It will be Barber for all the previous reasons. Too big, too strong and too good. Barber can get you 100 yards on 15 carries and I fully expect him to do that tonight against the Bills.

Receiver with most yards: Terrell Owens
Buffalo will rely on Lee Evans for the big play and the Cowboys know that. However, the Bills don't know that about Terrell Owens. Who do you double team? Even if they do decide to give TO extra attention, he is so physical and confident right now that I don't think they can stop him.

Most field goals: Rian Lindell
The Cowboys won't need field goals because they will score touchdowns. The Bills will be thwarted in the red zone and will most likely be lining up for more field goals than goal-line attempts.

Player with the first touchdown: Marion Barber III
The Cowboys will establish the physical game and pound it in first. I don't think Dallas will overlook this game, so Barber will be let loose.

Fist touchdown: Dallas Cowboys
Enough said. They will be the first to score and the last to score.

Keys to the game for the Bills

  1. Buffalo needs to do something special
    The Bills can't go with a conventional lineup against Dallas, as good as the Cowboys have been playing. The Bills are coming off a victory over the Jets, but the Jets aren't the Cowboys. Buffalo must block a punt for a touchdown, return an interception for a touchdown -- something special.

  2. Lee Evans must have a monumental game
    For the Bills to have a chance to win, Evans needs 130-140 yards receiving with two touchdowns. He must be the guy to bring the big play back. The Bills must take some chances and Evans is the guy to do that with.

  3. Marshawn Lynch has to be Brian Westbrook-like
    He needs to run for 100 yards and even catch balls for 100 yards. Tough task for a rookie who is playing with a rookie quarterback.

  4. Deal with Dallas' defensive pressure
    If I were Trent Edwards, I would have studied blitz, blitz, blitz all week long. The Cowboys will put pressure on Edwards all night. He does not want to be on his back for half of it.

Keys to the game for the Cowboys

  1. Be the Cowboys
    This is a pretty good game for the Cowboys. They are 4-0 and riding high. They can be conventional and do the things that got them to this point. Run the offense, execute and don't make mistakes. This is a game in which the Cowboys can line up and be very elementary and win the game.

  2. Tony Romo can't get careless
    You've played great football the first four games, just do the same. Don't allow the Bills to strip you in the pocket and don't take this game for granted.

  3. Don't give up the long pass
    The Cowboys' secondary is banged up. Dallas can be thrown on, as we have seen, so it must contain Evans and not give up too many big plays.

  4. Feature Marion Barber III
    There are very few backs that run harder between the tackles. I think this is a 25-carry, two-touchdown guy in this game, and if that happens, the result will be good for the Cowboys.

Sean Salisbury is an NFL analyst for ESPN