Haven't you heard? Don't think Jerry Jones hasn't given serious thought to ordering the removal of all cranes, scaffolding and earth-moving equipment from the new palace being erected just southwest of the Ballpark in Arlington. Sunday's clash is being portrayed as an epic battle fit for the likes of the Roman Colosseum. So, why not stage the contest between the masonry walls of the Arlington Amphitheater? Don't let the coaches and players fool you. This isn't your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, next opponent on the schedule, Week 6 game.
It's the NFL's mid-season version of "Supremacy is Us."
Want proof? The combined viewer ratings of the NCLS and ACLS won't come remotely close to the national pull of Sunday afternoon's showdown in Texas Stadium. The NFL will once again flex its superiority and muscle over the remainder of the professional sporting world. The saving grace for this contest is not having to endure Joe Buck blowing constant streams of sunshine up Tom Brady's backside. Phil Simms may give it a run, but hopefully it'll be headed off or held in check by play-by-play partner Jim Nantz.
Mute Fest has been magic to the ears. If a vote were available, cast it to go into every NFL week in the very same fashion. When Terrell Owens and Randy Moss elect not to talk, it's the most elegant of speech ever served up by the duo. The trifecta would be had if the media simply refused to report on the apparent silence, but then again, it's far from a perfect world.
So, T.O. isn't talking? The more pertinent question is will he be catching? If he's trading useless chatter and countering silence for receptions, bring it on! Is he good? Certainly. Is he great? Hardly. The great ones bring in the most difficult of catches. Pound-for-pound, this may be one of the strongest athletes in the League. If not, he sure looks the part, but that's where the accolades stop. Owens should never lose a battle for the ball. Never. Defensive backs should fear their arms being pulled from their sockets when battling Owens for the pill. He should be dominant. Instead, he's pedestrian. Where's the innate ability of all great receivers who boldly proclaim when the rock is in the air, "That's mine!?"
This just in, T.O., Michael Irvin you are not.
Forget about the popcorn, get your appendages ready! When in doubt, Home Depot still sells fly paper, and someone is bound to have Lester Hayes' number available. T.O., just catch the damn ball! Pretend your inflated contract depends on it.
Cowboys' fans, no running game, no contest, no win. This clash with the Patriots starts and stops with the offensive line, Julius Jones and The Barbarian. If the Dallas Cowboys don't rush for at least 150 yards, game over. Bank it. Dallas must generate a formidable running attack, and Jones and Barber must step up. There has been a serious lack of getting to the second and third levels of opposition defenses the last two games. Dallas fans are knowledgeable enough so that the nuances of the running game don't have to be chronicled here, but it becomes paramount to keep defenses like New England's, and all its intricacies, honest. If Jason Garrett allows the Patriots' defense to dictate tempo and flow, the money is on Belichick and company….just as Vegas is currently predicting.
Short weeks provide no excuses. Study harder. Study faster. If injuries can't dictate a contest, neither can coming off a Monday night game. That being said, would having Anthony Henry available for service help? The Dallas secondary will need to be on its collective horse and up to its collective best. The Patriots' offensive scheme will reign supreme over any spread offered up out in the Texas Stadium parking lots. No smoker or BBQ ensemble can counter the number of receivers in the flight pattern. The Patriots could give DFW Airport a run for its money on Sunday afternoon. Potentially slipping under the radar is one Kevin Faulk. The Cowboys have to account for this guy or he could be the straw that breaks the defensive back.
Brian Stewart, don't let this little Faulker beat you.
Speaking of the Cowboys' Killer, it would be so nice to see Randy Moss somehow reduced to ordinary. If his Texas Stadium trend continues, it stands to be a long afternoon. If the Draft snub still ignites Moss, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady should wallpaper The Freak's locker with an abundance of 1998 Draft clippings. Motivation is a beautiful thing, and Randy's harbored anger always produces results on each of his trips to the Lone Star State. Time for that to stop. Sunday.
It would be outstanding if Boss Moss could be reduced to Randy Newman-like stature. That, or stuff him in the most-hated mascot outfit known to man, and let him run around as newly-discovered Rowdy Moss. It won't be difficult to spot either #81 on the field of play, but it would USA sweet if the red, white and blue one was simply a patriotic flag and nothing more. Saluted, maybe, but not revered.
If compelled to stand and salute, how about paying homage to Jeff Ireland and his crackpot staff. Drafts aren't supposed to be adequately assessed until three years removed, and while Anthony Spencer continues to learn on the fly, it might not be a stretch to render sixth round Draft choice, Nick Folk, a very nice selection. Yes, the below freezing temps and the 40 mph cross winds were missing, but every other hostile, road environment element existed Monday night. The making of not one, but two, 53-yard "THUMPS" and the proclamation of having no doubts a third could have been provided, was all the necessary information needed to laud this 2007 Draft selection. What Folk solidified was confidence in and trust that the performance could (and probably, will) be duplicated in a December divisional match-up or within playoff contention.
To Jeff Ireland and crew, well done. Well done, indeed.
It was more than a little head scratching when the Cowboys trumped a New Orleans' bid for special teams' ace and potential safety Keith Davis. Especially when you throw in his propensity to attract stray, gun-produced lead, and it made the price tag questionable. One wouldn't think the removal of one player from a coverage unit should make a huge difference, but maybe there is more to Keith Davis than meets the eye. In two games of absence, the Rams and Bills have brought back returns from touchdowns. That disturbing trend also needs to stop this weekend. Who knows, maybe Keith Davis is Bruce Read's QB of the special teams units. If so, welcome back Mr. Field General. Now, please go out and stop someone from going the distance.
Finally, this game features a ton of vintage match-ups; Romo and Brady, Owens and Moss, Newman and Samuel, and Roy and Rodney. All noteworthy battles, but this game will feature two highly-competitive and quality tight ends. Witten is proven, and Watson is coming on. Cowboys' fans would agree Jason Witten is a "must" in the Cowboys' offensive attack, and when he and roommate Romo are clicking, great things seem to happen. Look for the Patriots to eliminate this factor. It's a safe bet Bill Belichick and his defensive staff will look to take away this option as it qualifies as their primary concern. If the beloved #82 plays a major role in Sunday's contest, look to the Cowboys as having cracked a major defensive code held by the Patriots.
What, you didn't notice Marty Griffin on the Cowboys' sideline? He wasn't there to serve up Gatorade or make idle chit-chat with The Playmaker. Should anyone spot Tom Clancy and Harrison Ford in the house, then we may just have something. Bring on those Patriot Games.
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