NFL Wire News

Week 16 Preview: Colts at Cowboys

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Indianapolis Colts (10-4) at Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at AT&T Stadium, Arlington – TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson

*Keys to the game: The Cowboys might not have to win without RB DeMarco Murray (hand), but Dallas is capable of it. QB Tony Romo, second in the NFL with a 110.4 passer rating, is near full strength for the first time in nearly two months and WR Dez Bryant is coming off of his first career three-TD game.

The Colts can adjust their game plan if Murray sits, viewing his possible replacements as limited inside runners. The bigger concern is containing Romo, who throws with accuracy on the move.

Indianapolis has been able to win its last four games, but has tempted fate in recent weeks with early turnovers and slower starts – a hurdle for much of the 2013 season. QB Andrew Luck floats away from pressure on about one of every three pass attempts behind an offensive line that would be a glaring trouble spot for a less acute, mobile quarterback.

Luck leads the NFL in passing yards and TD passes (38) and will find ways to create big plays. Dallas’ pass defense is ranked 23rd in the league, allowing 249.6 yards per game.

*Matchup to watch – Bryant vs. Colts CB Vontae Davis: Three weeks ago, this would’ve been must-see TV. Bryant has been on a roll of late and has 13 TDs. His size and ability to catch in a crowd match Davis’ strengths. However, Davis is fighting a sore groin and might need to rotate through to have his legs in the second half.

*Player spotlight – Colts PK Adam Vinatieri: These could be the Pro Bowl kickers on display. Dallas’ Dan Bailey is excellent, but Vinatieri is the only placekicker in the NFL not to miss a kick this season. He has made all 28 of his field-goal attempts and all 46 of his PATs.

*Fast facts: Luck and Russell Wilson are the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 10-plus wins in each of their first three seasons. … Cowboys backup RBs Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar have combined for 60 carries in 13 games.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

All signs point to a shootout in a game Dallas must win to keep control of its playoff fate and the NFC East. Luck is unflappable, but the Cowboys get the nod if Murray takes the field.

*Our pick: Cowboys 30-28


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