Dallas Cowboys And Cincinnati Bengals Meet In The 2010 NFL Hall-Of-Fame Game

August 6, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

The mark of the official start of NFL  season begins with the annual Hall Of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.  This year, the Dallas Cowboys will face the Cincinnati Bengals to kick off the pre-season for the 2010 NFL year.

The Cowboys are led by quarterback Tony Romo, who headed the second-ranked offense in the NFL, tabbing nearly 400 yards per game in 2009.  Romo averaged nearly 270 yards passing through the air, and that looks to only improve given the weapons that Dallas has on offense.

In the 2010 NFL Draft, the Cowboys selected wide receiver Dez Bryant out of Oklahoma State to join Miles Austin and Roy Williams at the receiver set.  Combine them with tight end Jason Williams and Romo will look to enjoy a myriad of option to throw to this season, beginning with Cincinnati this weekend.

On the other side of the ball, the Bengals begin their 2010 NFL season after winning the AFC North division last year.  They have recently added highly profiled receiver Terrell Owens to join Chad Ochocinco and Carson Palmer to head up the offense.  Running back Cedric Benson should provide the Bengals offense with a nice balance.  The Cowboy defense should present a stern test for the Bengals to gain a sense of where they are at in preparation for the Regular season September 12th.

Cowboys Offense Vs. Bengals Defense-

As previously stated, Dallas ranked second in the NFL behind only New Orleans in total offense.  Romo and company present on paper some of the biggest weapons in the NFL, in Austin, Witten, Felix Jones, Marion Barber.  Romo progressed as a quarterback last season, and the Cowboys were very balanced on offense, ranking third in passing and seventh in rushing.  Against Cincinnati, the Cowboys will likely implement Dez Bryant in early to get some game experience in with Romo at quarterback before he is benched for the game.  As this is pre-season, the starters may only be in for a few series.

The Bengals defense was very impressive last year like the Cowboys offense.  Cincinnati ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense, surrendering 301.4 yards per game.  They were balanced against the run and defending the pass.The Bengals run a 4-3 base set under defensive-minded head coach Marvin Lewis.  The linebackers, like Dhani Jones and Rey Maualuga are very active, while defensive end Robert Geathers is a powerful pass rusher from the outside.

Cowboys Defense Vs. Bengals Offense-

There is sure to be a show at the beginning of the game when Ochocinco and Owens take the field together for the first time in a game.  Palmer will likely try and get the duo the ball early and often before the three go to the bench for the remainder of the game.  For as good a Palmer is perceived to be, the Bengal passing game has struggled, and the team has relied on Benson and the run.  The Bengals will likely try and establish the pass first to work on the problems, while limiting Benson to a few carries before letting him rest.

Defensively, the Cowboys are a solid unit, ranking ninth in the NFL in total defense last season.  Marcus Spear anchors the defensive line coming off of the end in the 3-4 base that Dallas runs.  DeMarcus Ware and veteran Keith Brooking are part of a linebacker corps that is very active in the base.  This will be a good opportunity for back up players and reserve players to come in and prove themselves and hopefully increase the depth chart for the Cowboys.

Special Teams-

Dez Bryant will likely try and return a punt or two if there is such an opportunity.  He was very successful at Oklahoma State, as he possesses both size and speed and the elusiveness to get return yards on punts.  Dallas also has a great kick off return man in Felix Jones, who can break away on any play.

Bernard Scott will return kicks this season for the Bengals.

USA Online Sportsbooks
have set the Bengals as 3 1/2-point favorites to win the Hall Of Fame Game.

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