Game 6 preview: Cowboys at Patriots

Alex Hall
Journal Staff

It’s been four years since the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots have faced one another in what should be a NFL game of the week candidate.
The last time these two prestigious teams locked horns was back in 2007 during the Patriots’ undefeated regular season run, in which many accused head coach Bill Belichick of running up the score against America’s Team.
Don’t think that Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware and the boys have forgotten that game from four years ago, in a game they should be at full health for the first time all season.
Wide receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant will both have had an extra week to heal and study the questionable New England secondary, while cornerback Orlando Scandrick will make his second start of the season after an injury during the Cowboys’ season opener.
Both Romo and Tom Brady have only thrown for less than 300 yards on one occasion this season, coming against the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders respectively.
Brady will look to continue his early season dominance through the air, but it may prove to be tough task as Dallas currently boasts the fourth best defense in the NFL. It will be a battle of wits between Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Belichick down at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots and Cowboys have two of the top ten offensive units in the entire league statistically, but the telling factor for New England comes back to the defense.
It’s true the Pats have one of the worst defenses in the NFL through five weeks of play, but oddly they boast the fourth most interceptions in 2011, a stat that could come to haunt the ‘boys’ quarterback come Sunday.
If not for two second halves full of Tony Romo miscues in both of Dallas’ losses this season, the Cowboys would be sitting a cool 4-0 and first in their division heading into their first showdown against New England in four seasons.
If the Cowboys are to put an end to the current 19 game home winning streak of New England, then they’ll need to do it by establishing their running game with Felix Jones and getting the ball into the hands of Miles Austin and young Dez Bryant through the air. If these two wide outs are able to exploit the Pats’ defense, Sunday could mark the team’s second loss of the season.
If the Patriots want to have a repeat of their matchup in 2007, Brady will need to have another 300+ yard performance through the air and the defense has to be able to contain the Dallas attack.