Dallas Comes to Johnson's New Town - great coach Overview

As a member of Jimmy Johnson's two Super Bowl championship teams, Dallas guard Nate Newton couldn't resist a barb at his ex-boss ...

As a member of Jimmy Johnson's two Super Bowl championship teams, Dallas guard Nate Newton couldn't resist a barb at his ex-boss before the Cowboys oppose a Johnson-coached team for the first time.
"Jimmy is a great coach and is going to do a great job," Newton said. "We can't wait to go down there and punish them."

He hopes the Cowboys will begin to do that Sunday, when Dallas visits Miami to play Johnson's Dolphins in a game important to the playoff prospects of both teams. Neither sits in a postseason-friendly position, and the loser will have even more difficulty reaching the second season.

"They're 4-3 and trying to catch Washington," Johnson said. "We're 4-3 and trying to get a win. That has more significance than whoever coached in Dallas a couple of years ago."

And Johnson, fired by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones after winning his second straight Super Bowl in 1993, isn't alone in looking beyond the hype. His old nemesis, the man who replaced him and gave Jones another NFL title last January, Barry Switzer, also is concentrating on the business at hand.

That would be the first matchup between Dan Marino and Troy Aikman since Aikman was a rookie in 1989.

"Few quarterbacks can put the ball where they want to put it nearly every time they throw the thing," Switzer said. "Troy and Dan can."

Marino holds the most NFL records -- and with another 481 yards passing, will become the first player to reach 50,000. Aikman has the most Super Bowl rings -- three, to none for Marino.

Elsewhere Sunday, it will be Carolina at Philadelphia, Indianapolis at Washington, Jacksonville at Cincinnati, the New York Giants at Detroit, Pittsburgh at Atlanta, St. Louis at Baltimore, San Francisco at Houston, Tampa Bay at Green Bay, Kansas City at Denver, the New York Jets at Arizona, San Diego at Seattle and Buffalo at New England.

Chicago visits Minnesota on Monday night.

New Orleans and Oakland have byes.

The Johnson-Switzer connection goes back three decades to the football program at Arkansas. And as college coaches, they opposed each other eight times.

Switzer's Oklahoma Sooners beat Johnson's first team of Cowboys -- the Oklahoma State variety -- all five times they played. But Johnson, who was to match Switzer as the coach of a national championship team after taking over at the University of Miami, led his Hurricanes to a 3-0 record against Oklahoma.< ^Chiefs-Broncos=

There isn't nearly as much hype attached to Kansas City's visit to Denver, but the stakes are high. A victory by the Broncos would give them a two-game lead in the AFC West.

John Elway and the Broncos (6-1) lead the NFL in offense, but not only for the usual reason -- the 36-year-old's passing numbers, 63 percent with 14 TDs and nine interceptions. Mike Shanahan's Broncos have the best running game in the league, with Terrell Davis leading the NFL with 817 yards on 157 carries.

"I would think that certainly there's an argument, given his productivity, that he is the best back in the NFL at this time," said Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer, who is disappointed in his 5-2 team. "The bottom line is we're a good team that frankly hasn't played that well."

Kansas City's Marcus Allen needs only one rushing TD to tie Walter Payton's NFL record of 110.< ^49ers-Oilers=

San Francisco's Jerry Rice also is chasing a milestone. With eight catches against Houston, he would become the first NFL player with 1,000 career receptions.

The visiting 49ers (5-2) are 28-9 against AFC teams since 1987, the best figure in the league. But the surprising Oilers (5-2) will severely test the NFC's second-best rush defense with rookie Eddie George, who already has 640 yards.< ^Colts-Redskins=

AFC East co-leader Indianapolis (5-2) hopes that running back Marshall Faulk is ready after a foot injury caused him to miss a 27-9 upset loss to New England last Sunday. NFC East leader Washington (6-1) will be looking to increase its winning streak to seven games by unleashing Terry Allen. His 679 rushing yards puts him well on his way toward breaking John Riggins' team record of 1,347.Other Games=

Carolina (5-2) hopes to at least keep pace with San Francisco in the NFC West when it visits Philadelphia (5-2), second in the NFC East ... Buffalo (5-2) needs to beat New England (4-3) to hold at least a share of its AFC East lead in a game that could decide if the Patriots will be a factor in that division ... Bruce Coslet, who replaced the fired Dave Shula with Cincinnati (1-6), will try to get the Bengals headed in the right direction when they entertain Jacksonville (3-5) ... Still looking for their first victories are the Jets (0-8), who visit Arizona (3-4), and Atlanta (0-7), which hosts AFC Central co-leader Pittsburgh (5-2).

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