New England Patriots v. Dallas Cowboys NFL Week 6 Preview
Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 06:23 AM
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Expect offenses to be on top today in Foxboro, as two of the most talented groups go head to head.
The Dallas Cowboys are ranked third overall in passing yards in the NFL with a fearsome group of receivers for the Patriots to deal with. Dealing with strong passing games hasn't been a speciality of the Patriots' defense this year.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys defense is led by Rob Ryan, who shut down the Patriots' offense last year with the Cleveland Browns. Ryan will have a complex gameplan in place for the Patriots as he looks to shutdown the first ranked offense in the league.
Tom Brady, to this point, has enjoyed the best protection in the NFL as he is rarely ever put under pressure. More often than not Brady is able to step into his throws allowing him to clearly see the whole field and find his man with ease.
DeMarcus Ware has the ability to change all of that however. Getting pressure on Brady up the middle may be the best way to stop him, and Jay Ratliff is a talented interior pass rusher, but it is Ware that can take over this game.
Matt Light has made an excellent start to the season at left tackle, as has Nate Solder at right, however neither player has the fastest of feet. Therefore Ware will look to put both tackles off balance with his movement and variety of moves.
Expect the Patriots to double team Ware, or at least chip him with their backs and tight ends.
Should they shut down Ware, the offense could have a big day against the Cowboys' secondary. Wes Welker and Deion Branch will likely be double teamed, if last season's game in Cleveland is anything to go by, which should give Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and even Chad Ochocinco plenty of opportunities to shine.
Rob Ryan will be hoping to end the Patriots 30 point streak, just keeping this offense below that number would give them a chance to win the game.
Devin McCourty has yet to turn things around this season as he suffers in his second year. His matchup with Dez Bryant will cause major problems for the Patriots.
McCourty was dominated by Vincent Jackson earlier this year, Bryant is very similar to Jackson in his style of play. His huge upper body strength and athleticism gives him a marked edge over McCourty. Tony Romo will expect to get a lot of big plays out of Bryant whether it be through YAC or deep balls.
The biggest problem for the Patriots pass defense is finding who to double team. Even if Jerod Mayo was healthy, they do not have anyone that can cover Jason Witten in one to one coverage, while Miles Austin will be able to get the better of Leigh Bodden.
The Patriots best chance of shutting down the Dallas' offense is by getting to Romo.
With a young and inconsistent offensive line in front of him, and a season already marred by injury, getting Romo out of his rythm isn't a huge challenge. However the Patriots pass rush is less than stellar ranking 24th in the league with only eight sacks.
The Patriots defense will be looking to create turnovers opposed to actually stopping the Cowboys offense. Expect this game to be a shootout with plenty of big plays for both sides.
Which ever team can land the most big plays will win this game.
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