Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Conflict of Collossi

5-0. The Cowboys hadn't done it for two decades. The winningest single-decade quarterback in NFL history couldn't take us there, neither could the league's all-time leading rusher or a historically effective offensive line. But questions emerge; questions that those lauded squads didn't have to put up with.
Is the secondary stable enough? Is Tony Romo sufficiently reliable? Are two runners really no runners?
And most prominent, has this team played anyone competent enough for us to anoint them into the class of elite clubs in the 2007-08 NFL based on numbers alone?
One thing is for certain. If the Dallas Cowboys are still undefeated by Sunday evening, the last of these questions will have been answered, for The Patriots are clearly a juggernaut in every way. The league's best passing game is accentuated by a fearsome running attack, for which the way is paved by a justifiably feared offensive line. The defensive secondary includes two superstars (Asante Samuel and Rodney Harrison), and the defensive line is up there with the very best, with cornerstones like Brushchi, Thomas, and Wilfork. Let this sink in: They have yet to score less than 34 points, and yet to give up 17. And they've played two or three teams probably better than anything the Cowboys have faced.
Can the Cowboys win? The Bills looked like they were going to last week, so sunshine does indeed use a canine's behind as a landing pad occasionally. But going in line with that euphemism, it doesn't happen often.
What will the Patriots do? Allow me to preface this assessment by saying that Bill Bellichick's greatness lies in his ability to adjust on the fly. If something's not working, he'll change it up.
I believe that Bellichick's perceptive enough to take a leaf out of the Bills'' incompetence last week. Buffalo was incapable of putting pressure on Tony Romo, and look what happened? Romo got comfortable and got careless. Bellichick has the personnel to force Romo into scrambling around in the pocket, but I regret to say that he won't-because he will have realized that this is where Romo is at his best. Bellichick will rush four or five for the entirety of the game, concentrating more on coverage and leaving a linebacker or two back to contain our relevant halfback. If Romo's performance last week was a harmless aberration, praise the gods and realize that you may have a shot at not only victory in this game, but in a playoff matchup for the first time in over ten years. But if my fears are proven to be well founded, woe and calamity.
Offensively, the Patriots will do what they always do. Brady is a completion machine, as automatic as it gets .They have a crop of receivers rivaling our own and a stalwart group of blockers to allow the league's best quarterback time to be his usual opportunistic self. Oh, they've also got a two-eheaded monster better than ours, with Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris.
If the Cowboys want to win this thing, they'll have to do everything right. Don't give an inch on either side of the ball; knock their feet out from under them and shove their faces into the turf, grabbing the ball in the process. Don't make mistakes, another 6-turnover performance will get this team absolutely routed. Force your own, and you've got a shot.
Asante Samuel's not exploitable, as he's one of the top cornerbacks in this entire league. But if TO is on anyone else, use him. I expect Jason Witten to be covered like a sleeping baby in a blizzard for the full extent of the game, so get creative. He can catch the ball through a regiment of thermal blankets and five shadows if It's well-placed. Trick plays are there for a reason; Jason Garrett, It's time to pull out ALL the stops. Leave not a stone unturned, any potential at an opportunity must be seized, turned over, and exploited to its full extent.
In short, It will take a lot for the Cowboys to win this one. This is not in any way a derogatory statement on America's True Team, because New England is very possibly the mightiest squad to have graced the green plains of the NFL since their upcoming opposition circa fifteen years ago.
New England: 31
Dallas: 24

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