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Hamoudi Challenges Duffy in Prediction

Column by Haider A. Hamoudi
Sports Editor

This year may just be the best chance Buffalo has to win a Super Bowl. While everybody from Bobby Sheridan to Mike Duffy seems to like the Cowboys, I have to go with the underdogs this time.

The Bills have already lost two Super Bowls, and they are not going to want to lose another. They have a great deal of experience in the playoffs, and they know what it is like to be behind. The Cowboys have never had to recover from a serious deficit, and it is unlikely they will be able to recover their poise if things don't go their way.

Dallas resembles the Buffalo of two years ago--a team which looks good but lacks the toughness to win. In contrast, this year's Bills have developed a certain resiliency in the playoffs. Like the 1991 Giants who beat them in Super Bowl XXV, the Bills have had to win a few street fights to get to Pasadena. The games were physical, and there were several injuries. While Jimmy Johnson's razzle-dazzle Cowboys have looked impressive this season, it will probably be ineffective against a very intense Bills team which isn't about to lose without a fight. The Cowboys will have to fight in the trenches to win this one, and in the trenches, Buffalo is the better team.

While expressing these thoughts to some of my friends and colleagues, I was greeted with a mixture of skepticism and ridicule. They point to Troy Aikman's ability to pick apart the San Francisco secondary, the top-ranked Dallas defense, and Buffalo's numerous injuries.

But those facts are not really convincing. Troy Aikman is a good quarterback but he has never performed well under pressure.After being sacked six times in the Cowboys-Eagles game, Aikman was unable to retain his poise and ended up performing abysmally.

The Bills defensive line, led by Pro Bowlers Bruce Smith and Cornelius Bennett, will get to Aikman, and Buffalo's cornerbacks Nate Odomes and James Williams should be able to hold their own much better than the 49ers secondary.

In short, I don't think Dallas' passing game is going to be at all successful, and the running game will be less effective as a result, despite the many talents of Emmitt Smith. Of course, the Cowboys will put points on the board, but not as many as they will need to win.

Though the Dallas defense is excellent, it is also inexperienced, particularly against the high-powered, no-huddle offense Bills quarterback Jim Kelly will lead. They have never really faced the no-huddle, and the Super Bowl is not the best place to face it first. Buffalo's offense can put points on the board, and can do it quickly. If the Cowboys cannot respond early, they will not be able to recover. The game will be high scoring, but the Bills will leave with Super Bowl rings--finally.