If the Dallas Cowboys want to beat the Denver Broncos, they will have to control the clock and then stop Peyton Manning when he comes on the field. According to ESPN on Oct. 2, Manning said he is not sure what the defense he will be facing looks like when he visits the Cowboys on Sunday.
"I can't really say I'm that familiar with it," Manning said of the Tampa 2 scheme that Dallas runs now. “This is an unfamiliar opponent. Still early in the season, so there's still some what-ifs. You never quite know how a team is going to play you.”
This is all gamesmanship on Manning’s part. He is one of the best students of the game and he has surely studied the Tampa 2 scheme over his years in the league. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is 73 years old and has coached in this league for a long time. Manning knows what the Tampa 2 looks like.
Manning has beat Kiffin twice, throwing for 639 yards and four touchdowns in the two wins.
However, what Dallas has to do is figure out how to utilize it to stop Manning on Sunday. The Denver quarterback is on pace to break Drew Brees’ season yard record and is on pace to throw 64 touchdown passes, 14 more than Tom Brady’s record of 50.
Dallas gave up over 400 yards to both Eli Manning and Philip Rivers this season, and if they can’t stop Eli, how can they think they will stop Peyton?
"This guy gets the ball out quick. Unbelievable. The ball is coming out quick," Kiffin said. "He's the best at getting it at quick. And the rush. You have to have good coverage and that's why it's called a coverage sack. You got to do both."
Manning will have a good game on Sunday, but that does not mean that Denver is guaranteed to win. This will be a game that the Dallas Cowboys have to play right. Anyone can win on any given Sunday. That’s why they play the game. The key here is limiting the damage that Peyton Manning inflicts.