Five reasons the Cowboys will beat the Patriots
By Thomas Duck
I honestly don’t know what to make of these Dallas Cowboys right now. They’ve looked pretty good at times over these last two losses, but have found ways to lose in the end. Every team in the NFL deals with injury at some point. One can only hope that this team is getting their bad injury luck out of the way early and are able to rebound late. One heck of a way to start that rebound would be an improbable victory over the defending Super Bowl Champs. Here are my five reasons the Cowboys will get it done against the New England Patriots.
1. No Pressure – One thing is for certain, nobody expects these Dallas Cowboys to compete with the high-powered Patriots. When this game first appeared on the schedule there was some speculation that one of the teams would be without it’s star quarterback, but it was supposed to be a suspended Tom Brady not an injured Tony Romo sitting this one out. Cowboys fans, and the NFL in general, have been robbed of one of the sexier matchups on the 2015 schedule. The game must go on however, and Coach Garrett and his staff must have their players ready to go this Sunday.
Dallas was the popular pick of the experts in each of the last two contests. That will not be the case against New England. This lack of expectation should take some of the pressure off Brandon Weeden. This might just allow Weeden to play a little more loosely and free him up to take more shots downfield. In this league, any team is capable of beating any other form week to week. Maybe this is the week that Weeden writes his name into Cowboys lore with a big home victory over Tommy Terrific and the Pats.
2. The Return of RoMac – Perhaps the biggest reason the 2014 Dallas Cowboys were able to hold their own on defense was the presence of Rolando McClain. McClain was brought in after Dallas lost star linebacker Sean Lee to a season ending knee injury and he stabilized the defensive unit. Now RoMac is back. McClain has finished serving his four game suspension and is eligible to play for the Cowboys this week. His leadership and talent in the middle of the defense couldn’t come at a better time.
Fans of the Dallas Cowboys have been looking forward to this game as the first time that they would get to see McClain and Lee on the field together. Lee sustained a concussion against the Saints this past weekend and that is now in some doubt, however if he is able to play the pair could be enough to cause some havoc for the New England offense. This linebacker tandem could be a scary proposition for opponents going forward, but there is an even scarier figure lying in wait.
3. The Kraken Rises – The biggest and most controversial addition to the 2015 Dallas Cowboys will make his entrance in Arlington this week as well. Greg Hardy, a.k.a. the Kraken, is also returning from suspension and will no doubt be ready to make his presence felt early and often in this high-profile game. Hardy gives the Cowboys something they haven’t had since releasing DeMarcus Ware before the 2014 season, a bonafide pass rush threat. Hardy is the type of player that must be accounted for on each and every play, and by just being on the field he will make things easier for his linemates.
The one way to beat the Patriots is to get pressure on Brady. The trick is to do so without blitzing. If the Cowboys are able to move Brady off his spot without extra pass rushers they might just be able to slow the Pats passing attack. With the return of Hardy, and the possible return of rookie end Randy Gregory, Dallas could have a real shot at accomplishing this goal. This is only the first half of a two part equation though.
4. Standing Patmon – The pass rush will need some help if they are to get home on Brady. The Cowboys secondary will need to shut off the quick dump offs that Brady will be looking for in the face of pressure. Brady tends to look to his small and speedy slot receiver Julian Edelman in those situations. The job of taking Edelman away will fall to Tyler Patmon this week. Patmon is the second year player who is filling in for Orlando Scandrick this season, and this will be his biggest test to date.
Patmon has played well so far in 2015, but he hasn’t had to defend a combination like Brady and Edelman. Patmon will need to be at the top of his game on Sunday, and he has the talent to get the job done. With Edelman taken away, that will leave Brady only one place to go. One very big, very scary, very talented place to go.
5. The Gronk Squad – Without question the New England Patriots number one offensive weapon is 6’6”, 265 lb. tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski is the walking personification of a matchup problem. When defenses put a linebacker on him, he is fast enough to run away. Cover him with a safety and he will overpower the smaller player. Very few players in the NFL have the physical traits to be able to stay with the league’s premier pass-catching tight end.
The Dallas Cowboys will not use just one player to guard Gronkowski though. It is very likely that the job of covering Gronk will fall to a combination of Sean Lee, Rolando McClain, and rookie defensive back Byron Jones. Lee and McClain are two of the most versatile linebackers in the NFL and each are excellent in coverage. Jones is just a first year player, but he was a first round pick in 2015 because of his freakish athletic ability. Jones has the size of a safety and speed and coverage skills of a corner. If these three are able to keep Gronkowski reasonably under control, I like the Cowboys chances.
Make no mistake, this is one tall order for these depleted Dallas Cowboys. No one is going to give them a chance this Sunday. If they are able to somehow pull of the upset however, this will go along way to making Cowboys fans feel better about their chances. So go out there on Sunday boys, steal this game from the champs and ride of into the bye week with momentum and the knowledge that Dez might just be waiting on the other side. GO COWBOYS!!!
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