In my season preview, I had the Dallas Cowboys at 3-2 going into this game with the Rams. Surprisingly I’m not too far off but honestly this team could be 4-1 or 5-0 if it wasn’t for them beating themselves, so being 2-3 is depressing.
This game has a familiar feel to it mainly because St. Louis is under performing. Back in 2008, the Cowboys were playing host to the 1-4 Rams. The Cowboys had lost in Arizona the previous week and also lost Romo to a thumb injury. The Rams left Dallas with a 34-14 victory. Let’s hope this time it is a little different.
It’s getting pretty tight for Dallas in my opinion. If Dallas wants to get into the playoffs, then the only way to do that is to win the division. I know it is early in the season still but stick with me for a moment. No one argues that Green Bay is going to win their division and right now, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Detroit will end up with one of the two wildcards. In the NFC South you have Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Atlanta battling it out for that division and I feel fairly confident that the 2nd Wildcard team will come from that division. That means, in order to play in January, the Cowboys are going to have to win the NFC East. Currently they sit in 3rd place with a 2-3 record, behind Washington and New York. The Cowboys still have 5 games to play against NFC East opponents but they typically split the season series with NY and Philly. What does this mean? The Cowboys HAVE to stop losing and have to do so now!! Games like the Jets and Lions are killing us because those were wins that were within our grasp.
This game is winnable, BEYOND winnable but it’s a trap game as well. Dallas could technically go into this game thinking the win is in the bag and focused on a huge game against Philly next week. St. Louis has to be hungry for a win and I am sure Spagnuolo would welcome a win against an old NFC East opponent (remember Spagnuolo came from NY). A win for Dallas keeps them in hunt for the division, while a win for St. Louis gives their team some validation for showing up every day and working hard. So I ask you, which team is hungrier??
Things I would like to see from this game:
Philip Tanner – Our running game is pathetic so why not turn to him a little more at this point. He showed some promise in the preseason but hasn’t seen any valuable time in the regular season. He can’t do any worse than what has been done can he?
Tony Romo –Enough with the conservative play calling. Let Tony be Tony and if Tony loses the game on an interception late, so be it but you can’t have what happened in San Fran happen by going conservative and not letting Tony take a chance down field.
Dez Bryant – For god sakes put him back on punt returns. Thankfully the Cowboys parted ways with Dwayne Harris but now it is sounding like Olgetree will be taking Harris’s spot on returns. Bryant had some nice moves last season so why not put him back there? Did anyone see him juke two Patriots last weekend on a catch and run??
A Win – There is just NO EXCUSE to lose this game..NONE!! If the Cowboys lose on Sunday, I am warning you now about the kind of article that will be written Monday morning.no comments
Dan Bailey – The Cowboys kicking game was always a point of frustration for me. Dan Bailey has been a bright spot in a position that has really been a sore spot for the Cowboys in recent years. David Buehler was so-so last season when it came to kicking FGs, making 24 of 32 but Bailey has gone 15 of 16 this season and done a decent job on kickoffs while Buehler heals from a groin injury. Will Buehler be able to get any part of his job back when he’s healed?
Running Game – This continues to be a sore spot for the Cowboys this season. They currently are last in yardage gained on the ground this season (348 yards total) and are 29th in Yards per attempt with 3.3. Felix Jones has suffered the dreaded high-ankle sprain and will likely miss the upcoming game against St. Louis and then some. So now we have to rely on DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice.
Jason Garrett – His play calling is somewhat questionable. At one point. the Cowboys have 3rd and goal with Bryant lined up with man on man coverage and instead of calling a high percentage fade to Bryant, Garrett gets cute and pulls out the old shovel pass, a play the Cowboys haven’t run all season. When the Cowboys get the ball back with a few minutes remaining, Garrett decides to go to his running game to try and run out the clock. Keep in mind that the Patroits have a great rush defense and a poor pass defense. When facing a 3rd and 18, Garrett opts to keep it on the ground, thus giving the ball back to Brady for one last drive and we know how that ended.
Cornerbacks– Yes, the Cowboys lost the game with the defense on the field and it was done so by Brady throwing the football but Brady is tough to beat in that situation. I thought overall, our corners did a bang up job. Deion Branch had 3 catches/69 yards/0 touchdowns and Welker has 6 catches/45 yards/1 TD. That is as close to getting shut down as I think you will see the New England wide receiving corps all season.
Jerry Jones – He’s not escaping me this week. He’s a problem but that is something Cowboys fans have lived with and dealt with for a very long time. Once again Jones has gone to the media and voiced his displeasure, this time on the conservative play calling made at the end of the game on Sunday. Once again Jerry Jones didn’t hesitate to second-guess his own coach after a loss and did so in a public forum. I’m not angry about the second-guessing, I did it above in this article. I’m angry that he always does this publicly. Why can’t Jerry Jones figure out that if he feels the need to let the coaching staff know his opinion, that he should do so privately?
Believe it or not. on Tuesday, Jerry had this to say on a KRLD Radio interview about the whole thing. "I would say that probably if I had that to do over again, I wouldn't comment, period.” And I would say if you had to do it over again, you would act the same way you’ve always acted. There is a reason I don’t make posts directly after the game and that reason is because I would regret my first reaction to a loss. There’s a lot to be said about removing yourself from the situation while you calm down but that is something Jones will never learn.
I can’t really defend this team anymore. I understand that they did a great job shutting down the Patriots offense for much of the afternoon but to sit here and say I’m happy with this team despite the loss would be an out and out lie.
Once again it comes down to the Cowboys performance in the 4th quarter that hurts them. This team can’t for the life of them seem to play a complete 60 minutes. I really believe the Cowboys could be, should be 5-0 at this point.
There were 3 drives made by the Cowboys during the 4th quarter yesterday where the game was lost. Had they been successful on just one of those drives, I believe we’d be sitting at 3-2. The first drive was the one that ended up tying the game at 13. The problem wasn’t that they got points but that they had a 1st and goal and couldn’t come away with 6. The second drive that was a problem was a mirror image of the first drive. Again, 1st and goal and again they come away with only 3 points to give them a 16-13 lead. They left the chance to be up 24 -13. That drive really angered me because Romo decided to try a quick shovel pass on 3rd down instead of throwing it to Bryant, who had single man coverage in the end zone. The defense did a great job holding the Patriots to a 3 and out but it was the final Cowboys drive that takes the blame for the loss. How do you go 3 and out when you know that a first down will run a lot more time off the clock and make it really difficult for the Patriots? I’m losing
confidence in the Cowboys’ offense because when you need it most, it disappears.
The running game is absolutely crap. Felix Jones doesn’t appear to be the kind of guy that can take the abuse of being the #1 RB for 16 games. DeMarco Murray, while looking decent at times, didn’t do anything to help the passing game. As for Choice, there is a rumor of teams inquiring about obtaining him via trade and I would certainly be open for it.
The Cowboys play a really bad St. Louis Rams next week and that is a must win. There is no excuse to come away with anything but a win next week.
So am I being too hard on this team? Are you happy that the Cowboys are in these game and think that with a little tweaking, things could change?no comments
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) visit the New England Patriots (3-1). The Cowboys have beaten the Patriots 7 out of the 10 times the two teams have met. However, New England has won the last 3 meetings.
10/14/2007 New England Patriots 48, Dallas Cowboys 27
11/16/2003 New England Patriots 12, Dallas Cowboys 0
12/05/1999 New England Patriots 13, Dallas Cowboys 6
12/15/1996 Dallas Cowboys 12, New England Patriots 6
11/15/1987 Dallas Cowboys 23, New England Patriots 17 (in OT)
11/22/1984 Dallas Cowboys 20, New England Patriots 17
09/21/1981 Dallas Cowboys 35, New England Patriots 21
12/03/1978 Dallas Cowboys 17, New England Patriots 10
11/16/1975 Dallas Cowboys 34, New England Patriots 31
10/24/1971 Dallas Cowboys 44, New England Patriots 21
I actually thought that a bye week for the Cowboys last week would have meant that I would have spent a lot less time hearing about Tony Romo. Sadly, that wasn’t true and I think I spent more time hearing about him. Hopefully this week and can leave the mistakes at home and bring his A game.
Here are a few of the things I will be watching this week:
Welker vs Cowboys Secondary:
I covered how great Welker has been and I am always amazed at how well Brady understands where Welker is going to be. Scandrick is one of the Cowboys best cover men and hopefully he watched some tape this week to see what Revis did against Welker.
The Weakness in the Patriots O-line:
That would be RT Nate Solder. He’s a rookie and he struggle to stop the rush. Hopefully Rob Ryan will throw things at the Patriots that confuse them a little. The Jets got to Brady four times last week and I personally thing the Cowboys have a little more talent on their line than the Jets, so if the Pats haven’t fixed this problem, Brady could see a lot of pressure.
Cowboys O vs Patriots D:
There are two things that seem to benefit Tony Romo going into this game. One, the Patriots secondary gives up entirely too much space when the opposing receivers run their routes. Two, the Patriots pass rush is less than desirable so Romo should get plenty of time to make the right decisions. The Patriots run defense, well that doesn’t look to be doing us any favors.
The only thing I fear about this game is trying to beat the Patriots at home. If this game were in Cowboys Stadium, I would be a lot more confident but the Pats aren’t easy to beat at home.
Of course the real matchup we care about doesn't come down to football skills at all. It's all about dance skills but like the game, this one is tough to call!!
This week we had a little Q&A session with our friends over at Foxboro Blog as we get ready for the Cowboys visit to Foxboro this weekend. Many thanks to those guys over there for answering our questions.
Q. Devin McCourty had a sensational rookie season but seems to be struggling this season. What is the story there?
- The story line here is that Devin McCourty is going through a sophomore slump. I was puzzled during the 2010 draft when the Patriots passed on a good playmaking WR in Dez Bryant for a cornerback out of Rutgers. Now, Belichick has made me look dumb. McCourty is good at covering players, but teams are throwing a lot on him this season. He thrives on making interceptions, but he just can not get a grasp for the interception this season. The Patriots need him to make plays. His tackles went down from eight to two last week. He is in a sophomore slump, but that does not mean he can't get it together. It will just take longer than we thought.
Q. Which new addition has made the biggest impact for the Pats so far this season?
- Honestly, its between two under the radar signings on the defensive line with Andre Carter and Mark Anderson. Carter came from the Washington Redskins and unlike Albert Haynesworth, he has made an accomplishment. He has 12 tackles and even .5 sacks. He plays a huge part in stopping the run, which the Pats had a top ten run defense a year ago after the Peyton Hillis debacle.My favorite move so far has been Mark Anderson. Out of New England's eight sacks, he has nearly four sacks! He played the 4-3 in Chicago and has become a good contributing tool to fix a third down defense that was the worst in the NFL last season. I would like to see him get more playing time, but this defense still is a work in progress.
Q. New England is viewed by many as a team with a good shot of playing in Indianapolis come February, but their Defense ranks 32 in Total Yards Allowed. What's the problem there and do you fear a point where Tom Brady won't be able to overcome what the Defense is allowing?
- The problem is a lack of a pass rush. The Patriots do have decent cover cornerbacks, but when you give the quarterback so much time to throw the football, they will eventually find a way to exploit the defense. Tom Brady can overcome it for now with his balanced offensive attack, but they need this defense to build off the positive stride that they made last week. True, the Jets have not a great offense lately, but the Pats still actually contained them for three quarters and kept the offense in the game for a time. The Patriots continue to put up thirty points per game, so all the defense has to do till December is not give up the big play. They can bend, but they rarely break and they are still one of the top teams in forcing turnovers.
Q. The Pats are 3-1. What exactly did Buffalo do right that the other three opponents failed to do?
- The Bills were able to do two things right in that 34-31 come from behind win. They were able to take away the run game, which takes the balance away from the offense. In the last two weeks, BenJarvus Green-Ellis is starting to turn back into the 1,000 yard rusher he was last year after just eighteen yards against the Bills. The emerging running back has also shined in Steven Ridley. Ridley had a good game against Oakland and only had six carries for 42 yards. If you make Tom Brady throw it 45-50 times, you will force turnovers. The Bills have a good defensive line and they were able to get pressure on Brady. If Dallas is going to win the game, they need to take away the Pats' running game and get pressure from DeMarcus Ware.
Q. In my opinion, the Cowboys v Patriots doesn't have a lot of flair to it since they don't play each other very often but what is the one matchup you are looking forward to seeing this weekend?
- On the field, I am looking to see if the Cowboys' defense, especially DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff can get after Tom Brady. Sebastian Vollmer is still out for the Patriots and although Nate Solder has played well at right tackle, he is still only a rookie. While the Cowboys have an average secondary, the pass rush is a strength. Off the field. I look at their new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. He has more success against Brady than his brother Rex has. Rob was the last defensive mind to hold Brady to under 30 points. He dials up schemes that just flat out confuse Tom Terrific and that is tough to do. If Brady can't solve this complex system Sunday, Dallas will pull the upset.
Q. What is your prediction for this weekend? The Cowboys are 16-5 in games following the bye week, can they improve that to 17-5?
- On Monday, I thought this would be a close game, but your defensive end Marcus Spears went out of line with his comment calling the Patriots the "gods of football" and sarcastically calling them the greatest team ever. Let's think for a second: Do you really want to give Tom Brady more bulletin board material to beat you? Yes, the Patriots are not the best team in football, but I think they will not slip up here. The defense continues to build strides from last week and forces two crucial turnovers from Tony Romo. Brady throws for three touchdowns as the Patriots go into the bye week 5-1.
PATRIOTS 35 - COWBOYS 24no comments
Heading into Foxboro this Sunday, the Cowboys will have something they haven’t had yet this season, a complete set of cornerbacks. Orlando Scandrick returned to practice on Monday, Terrence Newman has played the last two games and Mike Jenkins continues to battle through all his injuries. It’s a good thing these three are ready to go because they are going to be needed this weekend, along with Gerald Sensabaugh and Abe Elam because the New England Patriots are a serious threat when it comes to passing the ball.
Through five games, Wes Welker has proved to the Patriots how valuable his services are because he leads the NFL in receiving yards. In fact, his 740 yards so far this season is the most accrued through five NFL games ever. To think Miami gave up Welker for a second and seventh round pick in 2007 (Samson Satele and Abraham Wright). You’re probably saying “who?” right about now, I know I did when I looked up who they got in return.
Welker has made himself a house hold name and his numbers over the last few years have been good but this year, they are off the charts. He’s averaging 16 yards a reception and already has 5 Touchdowns to go along with his 740 yards. To put that in perspective, Witten leads the Cowboys in most yards received with 366 and Austin leads the team in Touchdowns with 4. Does shutting down Wes Welker mean putting a huge dent into the Patriots abilities on offense? Is it possible to shut down Wes Welker?
The Cowboys will need to do a fantastic job of stopping the underneath and across the middle routes. Looking at the breakdown, it appears that this is where Brady finds Welker a lot. In order to create this space, look for the Patriots to occupy Sean Lee (James and Brooking when Lee is not out there) with their two tight ends. If they are successful, it will be up to Scandrick, Jenkins and Newman to try and stop the underneath option. The key with disrupting any offense is to try and put pressure on the QB but Welker is so quick that the defense will have to be prepared for what he brings to the Patriot offense.
This will certainly be a test for the Dallas defense but I do feel better about it knowing that the guys we need to be in there, will be in there.no comments
We've neglected our duties here during the bye week and we apologize but now it is time to get back to the Dallas Cowboys.
Anyone see the Patriots game yesterday?? I'm not very comfortable knowing we get to go into that environment on Sunday. However, I'm a little excited about playing the New England Defense because they've seem to allow teams to run all over the field. It's Tom Brady and that potent offense that I worry about. The Buffalo Bills proved that the Patriots aren't the Green Bay Packers (who even though they might lose a game here or there, I view them as unbeatable) and the Cowboys should focus on what made Buffalo so successful against them. The one thing we won't be able to replicate and that's that the Bills have complete confidence in Fitzpatrick but look at the little things Buffalo did and replicate that.
Believe it or not, when the Cowboys resume practice Monday it might be the first time the team has a healthy 53-man roster. Miles Austin, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury is expected to return for the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon. This will be the first time that Austin and Bryant are on the same field since Week 1 and Bryant was severly hadicapped most of that game. This will be a boost to the Cowboys offense that clearly misses Austin and would allow Olgetree to see a significant decrease in playing time (a good thing).
We will get way more in depth this week about the upcoming Cowboys/Pats game but we just wanted to let you know we were sorry for neglecting you for a week!!no comments
At the end of every season you can usually look back on your season schedule and pick out a game that has changed the course of the entire season. For me, 2010 was the Monday Night game against the Giants mainly because that is where we lost Romo. While it is too early to start doing that for 2011, the game against the Lions could be that game.
The problem with the Cowboys is that they’ve won 2 games in my opinion that they had no business winning and they lost 2 games that they should have won. Personally, I am getting tired of the dramatic games and while it makes for entertaining football, I certainly wouldn’t mind a game where the Cowboys come out and dominate every aspect of the game from minute 1 to minute 60.
I’ve defended Tony Romo in the past but when you have a performance like Tony had yesterday, even I start to wonder about Tony. I’m forever hopeful that something in his brain will kick in and say “hey, you’re on your back foot, don’t float one downfield” but it is starting to get old.
Let’s look at some of the other things from yesterday.
Laurent Robinson – I didn’t think he had a good game against Washington but he had 116 yards on 7 receptions. While he didn’t have and Touchdowns, I do think he proved he is a capable receiver and should push Olgetree off the depth chart once Miles Austin returns.
Dez Bryant – For 20 mins, he looked like he was going to be a beast in this game. Bryant had three receptions for 37 yards, including a couple of leaping touchdown receptions, with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter. He didn’t have a reception the rest of the game and only saw 2 balls thrown his way in the final 40 minutes.
Dallas D – I tweeted yesterday that while I wasn’t happy about losing the game, the fact that the defense gave up 34 points was the point of the game that was really bothering me. Our defense is better than this. In their last four drives the Lions had at least 15 empty-set formations with wide receivers, tight ends or running backs flanked wide and that proved to be too much for our defense to handle.
Calvin Johnson – I knew he’d kill us and he did. He’s arguably the best player in the league right now.
The season isn’t over and we aren’t out of anything at this point. The 2009 and 2006 Cowboys also started the season 2-2 and both ended up going to the playoffs. The 2005 Cowboys also came out of the gates 2-2 but missed the playoffs. Dallas has a week off to fix certain issues and get healthy. The problem is, the New England Patriots are the next team we get to play and that certainly not an easy way to come back off a bye.no comments
Truth be told, the Dallas Cowboys are exactly where I thought they would be at this point. I didn’t feel that they were going to beat the Jets (although looking back they should have) and I thought they would rebound with wins against the 49ers and the Redskins. I didn’t predict that the Jets game would come down to the final few minutes and I thought the Cowboys would have had an easier time in San Francisco and the Washington rivalry is always a tricky one to predict. None the less, they are 2-1 like I thought they would be.
Now, the Lions are NOT where I thought they would be. Week 4 was going to present the Lions with their 3rd road game of the season and while I knew the Lions needed a healthy Stafford to have any success, I didn’t think Detroit would march into Minnesota and beat them in their own building and honestly thought Tampa Bay might take care of them in their building back in week 1. I also didn’t predict Calvin Johnson to be the monster he is. I was wrong about Detroit, they are a good football team and a 4-0 start for Detroit is certainly in the realm of possibility.
Going into the game on Sunday, here is what I feel good about. I think the Cowboys Defense will be able to get to Stafford and I think they could do it all afternoon and create stability problems for their offense. Like last week, I am not going into this game fearing the Lions running game at all. I would expect Jahvid Best to mirror what Felix Jones did on Monday night, which was struggle for the most part and bang off a few big gains but for the most part, the Lions running game should be contained.
Now, on to the things that worry me about this match up. Tony Romo is already banged up and I truly fear for his wellbeing this weekend. On Monday night, we got to watch former Cowboy Stephen Bowen run right over Bill Nagy on a few plays and created havoc for Doug Free in other parts of the game. And that was just Stephen Bowen. The Cowboys offensive line now has to deal with one of the scariest defensive tackles in the league, Ndamukong Suh. In fact, the Lions front four is probably the best unit the Cowboys will have faced this season with Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch and the possibility of Nick Fairley getting back in the lineup. It could be a LONG day for our line, Tony Romo and our running game.
Stafford has a great weapon in Calvin Johnson and he proved just how great he was last week. If the Cowboys can’t get to Stafford like I think they can, WATCH OUT. When Stafford throws the jump ball up to Johnson with the right velocity and height, there isn’t a defensive back in this league that can stop that. The only hope for our secondary is to put a huge hit on Johnson during those jump balls in hopes that they jar the ball loose but the guy is so good that probably won’t do much. It could be a LONG day for our secondary.
Hopefully the Cowboys have worked hard this week to correct the mistakes they made against Washington because unlike Washington, Detroit will make Dallas pay for those mistakes. If the Cowboys can find a way to be successful against the Lions and head into our bye week at 3-1, it would be a huge boost to our confidence. We are going to need the boost because we are looking at a trip to Foxboro after our bye week but the Lions front 4 and the Stafford to Johnson aspect of their offense has me worried, REAL WORRIED.no comments
I was pretty hard on the Cowboys in my recap yesterday but to be honest, that feeling hasn’t gone away so don’t expect my Pass or Fail marks to have a different tone.
Sean Lee – Keith Brooking and Brady James are still spending most of the game as spectators and there is a very good reason why. Sean Lee comes to play and in the case of the other night, was one of the few players I felt good about. It used to be when the defense hit the field, I would focus on D.Ware but lately, my attention has been moving to Sean Lee.
Martellus Bennett – We’ve been waiting on the Bennett’s game to show up for years and its becoming painfully obvious that it is never going to show up, at least not while he wears a Cowboys uniform. Witten is our star tight end, no one argues that but I always thought that Bennett had the size and ability to make teams fear a 1-2 punch from the Dallas tight ends. At this point, we just have to wait this guy out I guess and start scouting NCAA Tight Ends to find Bennett’s replacement.
Tony Romo – He put on a gutsy performance the other night. In the pregame warm ups, you could see that his broken ribs were causing him quite a bit of discomfort and when the Redskins would get to him, there were times I wondered if it would be too much pain. He didn’t get much help from his team and on the game winning drive, the 3 and 21 floater to Dez was mostly on Tony to get him the ball. Dez also mentioned that Tony’s decision to play inspired him to put aside his own injury and get out there. No Touchdowns though so I can't go higher than a B+
Philip Costa – He’s lucky that Tony didn’t choke him to death, right there on the 50-yard line. Even if the Redskins were calling out snap counts to confuse him, it shouldn’t be that easy. Why they didn’t go to a silent snap count to fix the issues is beyond me but I just can’t believe what I was seeing the other night. Thankfully those mistakes didn’t cost us too much during the game but they certainly could have.no comments