Behind Enemy Lines - Dallas Cowboys Part 2

Patriots Insider Jon Scott asked Dallas Cowboys expert Roy Philpott of TheRanchReport.com to discuss this week's game. Part 2's key topics include: T.O vs Randy Moss, Jason Witten's performance, What the Cowboys have to do to win and more

Guest Roy Philpott, Editor-in-chief The Ranch Report Magazine www.TheRanchReport.com

Randy Moss leads the NFL in receiving yardage (551) while Terrell Owens (387) is ranked eleventh in the league. Does T.O. have an inferiority complex when it comes to comparisons with top receivers, such as Randy Moss?

Roy Philpott: T.O. is T.O. His actions off the field are never going to easy to understand. His "message" he left for reporters this past week was probably a good thing because it kept him from running his mouth all week about how he is truly the best wide out in the game. That's the last thing you want to do in facing the Patriots. I wouldn't say he has inferiority complex but it is crystal clear he takes offense when another wide receiver is considered the best in the league over him. Still, his production since he's been with Dallas is hard to match and you won't hear too many complaints from the Cowboys about his play. Sure, he's had a few drops, but he has had some huge plays too and he always has to be accounted for by an opposing defense.

What do you expect from T.O. on Sunday?

RP: A big game. While we haven't seen it as much the last two games, Owens and Tony Romo have built a good chemistry and I expect that to really take off sometime in the next two games. Remember also, this could easily be viewed as a statement game for the Dallas Cowboys. A win here means America's Team is back and ready to contend for a World Championship. While a loss wouldn't be the end of the world, a win would mean everything for this franchise in terms of continuing to build confidence and letting the rest of the NFC know who the best team truly is. T.O. wants to be a big part of that and he'll get his share of balls thrown his way Sunday. I expect him to go over 100 yards receiving and put a couple of touchdowns on the board.

Jason Witten is having a great year 29 receptions for 407 yards (14.0 avg.) and 4 touchdowns leading all Cowboy receivers in each category. Is it more important for opponents to slow down Whitten or focus on T.O. to stop the Cowboys offense?

RP: Witten is one of the most underrated players in the game, regardless of position. He can block. He can obviously catch. He's athletic enough to find seams in zone coverage and can also get yards after contact. Most importantly he just gets the job done, no matter what you ask of him. I'll match up his skills with just about any tight end in the league but I still would view T.O. as the more explosive weapon that has to be accounted for on every play. No knock on Witten, but I think his production is boosted by the fact the Cowboys have so many other weapons that can beat you. It's a nice luxury to have for Tony Romo and the Dallas offense.

What do you think the Cowboys' biggest weakness is?

RP: I'm still not 100 percent sold on the defense, particularly when it comes to stopping the big play in the passing game. The Cowboys signed free safety Ken Hamlin during the offseason to help Roy Williams provide better coverage deep downfield but I still get the sense this could be an issue for this team this season at some point. Terence Newman is the best pure coverage corner in the league but his counterpart Anthony Henry is generally much better in run support and Williams will always be playing around the line of scrimmage. Anytime the Patriots go deep on Sunday, I'll be nervous because I think there will be some opportunities there for big plays, especially with a quarterback like Tom Brady.

What do you think the Cowboys need to do to beat the Patriots?

RP: A good start is going to be awfully important. It seems as though the Patriots have gotten ahead early in each of their first five games and dictated the flow from there on out. Dallas has fallen into this pattern of being a slow starter then turning it on for big numbers in the second half. That can happen Sunday. The Cowboys need to come out and put points on the board in their first couple of drives to show New England its trip to Texas is going to be anything but a walk in the park. I also think Dallas needs to be ready to win a shootout, possibly needing to score as many as 35-38 points to win. I'm convinced Tom Brady will get his share of big plays, so Tony Romo needs to match him to give Dallas a chance.

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