Tony Romo and the Cowboys try to bounce back from a last-second loss Monday night when they host a Panthers team seeking its first victory of the season.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sports Interaction have made the Cowboys -9 point spread favorites (View NFL odds) for Monday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on the Panthers +9 (View NFL bet percentages).
Dallas (1-1) defeated Tampa Bay 34-21 in its opener behind a stellar performance from Romo but couldn't carry any momentum into last week's inaugural game at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys turned the ball over four times Sunday night against the Giants and Lawrence Tynes' 37-yard field goal as time expired sealed a 33-31 win for New York, spoiling the opening of the $1.15 billion stadium in front of a record 105,121 fans.
"Even though it's the second game of the season, it's an adverse situation," linebacker Bradie James said. "It'll be a crying shame if we just fall apart right now. We've just got to bounce back, pick ourselves up."
The Panthers' situation is even worse.
Carolina (0-2) won the NFC South last season with a 12-4 record but is in danger of opening with three consecutive losses for the first time since dropping a franchise-worst seven in a row to start the 1998 season.
"It's not a desperate situation. We only lost two games so far, we can come back and go 14-2," linebacker Thomas Davis told the Panthers' official Web site following last Sunday's 28-20 loss to Atlanta. "We're in a situation that we don't want to be in, but we've just got to fight our way out of it."
Going up against a Dallas team might not be the best way for Carolina to get its first victory.
The Cowboys have won seven straight regular season games over the Panthers since losing the first meeting in 1997. In the last matchup Dec. 22, 2007, Romo threw for 257 yards and a touchdown in a 23-13 victory.
Romo's poor performance last week was one of the biggest reasons for Dallas' defeat.
He completed 13 of 29 passes for 127 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, all of which resulted in New York touchdowns.
Romo had never thrown for so few yards in a full game and his passer rating of 29.6 was the second-lowest of his career. It also was a dramatic reversal from the opener, when he passed for a career-high 353 yards with three touchdowns and no turnovers while posting a 140.6 rating, fourth-best in his career.
"I'm sorry that I wasn't able to play up to the level the rest of the other guys did," Romo said. "I have to get better at the mistakes I made and I will."
Romo and the Cowboys could be without one of the team's top playmakers this week with Marion Barber recovering from a quadriceps injury. Barber had 18 carries for 124 yards with a 2-yard touchdown, the first in Cowboys Stadium, but got hurt on a 35-yard run in the fourth quarter.
He rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in Dallas' last game against the Panthers.
Romo's poor play and Barber's availability aren't the only concerns for the Cowboys, though.
Dallas has had little luck slowing down either of its first two opponents, allowing 877 yards - third-worst in the NFL. The Cowboys have also been unable to put much pressure on the quarterback, owning the only defense that has yet to force a turnover or record a sack. Last season, Dallas had an NFL-best 59 sacks.
Carolina's defense hasn't been much better.
The Panthers have two sacks and are 30th in the league in scoring defense, allowing an average of 33.0 points.
Defensive end Julius Peppers, this season's highest-paid NFL player, was limited to two tackles against the Falcons and is being criticized for the team's poor play.
After the opener, Jake Delhomme was the one receiving most of the blame.
Delhomme threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in a 38-10 loss to Philadelphia but played much better against the Falcons. He threw for 308 yards and a touchdown, but his interception with 2 1/2 minutes remaining near the Atlanta end zone with his team down eight ended the comeback bid.
"That's not what you want, but that's what we are," Delhomme said. "We'll have to go back and work and see what we can do. Certainly we'll get the questions about the 0-2 start, but that's what it is, and we'll have to come back and work. We've just got to find a way to get one win."
Posted: 9/23/09 5:49PM ET