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NFL Preseason Preview - Denver (2-1) at Dallas (0-3)



By John McMullen, NFL Editor

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Cowboys will try to avoid a winless preseason when they host the reigning AFC Champion Denver Broncos on Thursday.

The Broncos are coming off a tough week, losing for the first time in exhibition play, a setback exacerbated by the latest concussion to star slot receiver Wes Welker, and finding out that star kicker Matt Prater will be suspended for the first month of the season for violating the NFL's substance- abuse policy.

Houston rookie Tom Savage's 31-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin in the closing minute lifted the Texans to an 18-17 win over Denver last week, but the far bigger story stemming from the game was Welker, who was injured after taking a hit from Houston defensive back D.J. Swearinger late in the second quarter.

It was his third concussion in the past 10 months.

No timetable has been set for Welker's return and Broncos coach John Fox said the team would take it one day at a time.

"Our first priority is his safety and his well-being," Fox said earlier this week. "He's doing good and going through the protocol now, and he'll be out there when he's deemed healthy."

Prater, meanwhile, was penalized for his second DUI issue and will not be eligible to return to the Broncos' active roster until Oct. 6, following the team's game against the Arizona Cardinals a day earlier.

"I am definitely going to make some changes in my life: not drink at all or risk doing anything stupid like that," said Prater before Monday's practice. "I need to keep myself out of certain situations where people are drinking."

To replace Prater in the short-term Denver acquired former Temple University kicker Brandon McManus from the New York Giants in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2015 draft.

McManus was set to be released by the Giants on Tuesday. He connected on both of his field goal attempts and recorded touchbacks on 10-of-11 kickoffs during the preseason with New York.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, are 0-3 in exhibition play after falling to the Miami Dolphins, 25-20, in south Florida last week.

Tony Romo finished 10-for-18 for 87 yards and was sacked three times in the loss, while his backup Brandon Weeden was 5-of-9 for 77 yards and a TD LaRon Byrd.

The preseason series between the Cowboys and the Broncos is tied at seven games apiece.

08/27 11:18:15 ET

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