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Vikings-Cowboys matchup: Wednesday

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted Oct. 13, 2010 @ 4:38 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's Cowboys-Vikings game:

Vikings QB Brett Favre vs. Cowboys pass rush

Favre will have his hands full trying to get the ball off against two of the best edge rushers in the NFL in Cowboys OLBs DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Ware is the better-known and more feared of the two, but Spencer has stepped up his overall game the past year and a half. Both men can bend the edge and break down single coverage, especially when opponents choose to single-block them. Ware has six sacks to Spencer's two, but either man is capable of a three-sack game. The Cowboys have nine sacks in four games, and they average one every 14 pass plays; the Vikings, similarly, allow a sack about every 14 pass plays.

The Vikings have had some pass-protection issues. ORT Phil Loadholt is coming off his best game of the season, but the first three games weren't always pretty. OLT Bryant McKinnie didn't allow a sack on Monday against a similar style of attacking, 3-4 defense, but he did give up some pressures to the Jets. Depending on who is at center, Favre and his line must be on the same page with their protection calls and must be ready for five- and six-man pressures.

The passing game for the Vikings has changed with the addition of WR Randy Moss, and Favre clearly will want to expand Moss' role in the gifted wideout's second game with another week of practice under his belt. Moss' specialty is the deep ball, and that requires time to pull off. But the Vikings can't call five- and seven-step drops if the pass blocking is not up to snuff, like it wasn't in the first half against the Jets.

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