There’s a great vibe surrounding the Dallas Cowboys. Players are coming back from injury after the bye week. An idle Week 5 means Tony Romo didn’t throw an interception last Sunday afternoon.
You can’t fail in the clutch if you don’t play, right? This represents major progress. The talk shows and the internet took a week off from the hype surrounding Romo, whether it is making him the greatest and toughest quarterback in the league after a win or a human turnover machine and the Cowboys’ answer to Ryan Leaf after a gruesome defeat.
The good vibe ends on Sunday with a showdown against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the Patriots on FOX.
Now, in theory, if “Good Romo” decides to show up in this one, Dallas has an advantage. The Patriots’ pass defense has been hapless all season. They went into Week 5 with the worst pass defense in the NFL. And when Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and quarterback Mark Sanchez remembered they could throw the ball down field in the fourth quarter, it worked.
Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty has struggled this year. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, in theory, is a matchup nightmare, with his body and hands. Bryant is averaging 17 yards per catch this year. Romo’s go-to-guy and best friend is tight end Jason Witten, second in the NFL among tight ends with 27 catches. New England doesn’t have an answer for him. Cowboys receiver Miles Austin missed the past two games because of a hamstring injury. He returned to practice this week and is primed for a big week in New England.
There’s just one thing I can’t get out of my head.
It’s Tony Romo against Bill Belichick.
You have to believe that while Romo will rack up the yards and throw for at least two touchdowns in a high-scoring game, Belichick will confuse him and force the ill-advised picks. As we saw in Week 4 loss to Detroit, and even the Week 3 win against the Redskins, this offensive line is not trustworthy. Belichick will exploit it. “Good Romo” will produce the fantasy stats. “Bad Romo” will be under duress and confused and continue to make mistakes when it matters the most.
And have you heard of a guy by the name of Tom Brady?
Last week, Belichick smartly turned the offense over to running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who churned out a career-best 136 yards against the Jets. This week, it is back to Brady and the air attack. The Dallas defensive backs are beatable. Brady leads the NFL with 14 touchdowns and 1,874 passing yards. He has won 30 straight regular-season games at home.
How in the world can the Dallas defense deal with Wes Welker? He has 740 receiving yards this year and he’s an early candidate for offensive player of the year.
How can Dallas handle Rob Gronkowski, a matchup nightmare at tight end?
One quarterback is poised. The other saves his worst for the most inopportune times.
It’s going to be a fun one and a high scoring affair on FOX. More fun, if you root for the Patriots.