Super Bowl XXX

KEY MATCHUPS

January 28, 1996|By Mike Preston

Steelers OT John Jackson vs. Cowboys DE Charles Haley

After having disk surgery, Dallas' best pass rusher is back in time for the Super Bowl. Haley played in only 13 games but led the Cowboys in sacks with 10. Jackson is one of the best left tackles in the league, but he has been slowed by a knee injury. Jackson had trouble with Haley in the Steelers' 1994 opener against Dallas, when Haley had four sacks.

Edge: Haley.

Steelers G Tom Newberry vs. Cowboys DT Leon Lett

Lett missed time this season with a drug suspension and didn't play well when he was moved to defensive end. But during the playoffs, he has been the Cowboys' most valuable player. He's strong enough to draw double-teams, and almost too quick to run away from. The Steelers need an inside running game because Dallas has too much speed on the outside. Newberry has to at least neutralize Lett on running plays. Newberry's quick feet make him an effective pass blocker.

Edge: Lett.

Steelers WR Ernie Mills vs. Cowboys CB Larry Brown

Mills has been the silent killer on the Pittsburgh offense this season, with 39 receptions for 679 yards, averaging 17.4 yards a catch. Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders most likely will match up with receiver Yancey Thigpen, leaving Brown on Mills. Everybody goes after Brown. He was toasted by Green Bay. If quarterback Neil O'Donnell gets time to throw, Mills could toast Brown, too.

Edge: Mills.

Steelers DE Ray Seals vs. Cowboys OT Mark Tuinei

Tuinei is the least effective of Dallas' front five. He is exceptionally quick, but not overpowering like the other four. Seals is underrated and could cause problems in the Dallas running game because he is quick and he penetrates. Seals had 48 tackles this season, 12 for losses.

Edge: Seals.

Steelers SS Myron Bell vs. Cowboys TE Jay Novacek

The Steelers have had problems in the secondary this season, but Bell is playing better after moving over from free safety. He is a hard hitter, but his pass defense is suspect. Novacek had 62 catches for 705 yards this season, and he works the area where the Steelers are weakest, in the middle of the field. Novacek is also great on third-down conversions. If Steelers free safety Darren Perry winds up on Novacek in passing situations, count it as six.

Edge: Novacek.

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