It is being touted as the most exciting game of the year thus far. Dallas nearly forfeited an easy game to the Buffalo Bills on the national stage. Romo, my personal hero, threw five interceptions and had a significantly sub par game. Not to be outdone, Terrell Owens performed significantly poorer than any other game this year as well.
It was Nick Folk, Cowboys field goal kicker, who owns the rights to the title of "game winning savior." With two seconds on the clock, Folk kicked a winning field goal as the Cowboys narrowly defeated the Bills.
I am glad to have missed the performance, as the sheer nervous tension of losing to the Bills would have made me an emotional wreck (well, perhaps a slight exaggeration).
Had the Cowboys utterly destroyed Buffalo, they would have earned national recognition as a legitimate contender for the NFC championship. As it stands now, Dallas needs to play exceptionally well this coming Sunday against AFC powerhouse New England in order to gain the respect they deserve.
No one really knows how good the Cowboys are. Let's face it: they've defeated a bunch of sorry teams. And as much as I want the Cowboys to be the real deal, they NEED to play several good teams for the challenge, the practice, and the sense of true accomplishment. You can be a talented team with the potential for greatness and still be unprepared for the big dance. This coming week will tell us a lot about the Cowboys.
On an interesting side note, Terrell Owens has secluded himself from the media for this week preceding the Patriots game. He posted a giant sign near his locker essentially telling the media that the REAL #81 will prove his worth during the game. Is it safe to assume that Owens resents the attention that Randy Moss has received this year? I remember when Owens and Moss were considered the best two receivers in the league, and then both seemed to fade from view and guys like Steve Smith and Marvin Harrison stole the spotlight.
Randy Moss and Terrell Owens both started this season on fire, apparently determined to prove their worth. Moss has gained more national attention than Owens, probably due to the fact that he moved from one team to another, which already meant the press would watch to see if anything is different. Owens got this same attention when he moved to Dallas.
So is Terrell keeping out of the spotlight this week to work on his game and focus on the task at hand? Or is he simply unwilling to be compared to the red hot Randy Moss and risk embarrassing comments before the game? Whatever the case, it's got to be a good thing that he's keeping himself out of the press. If nothing else, the Cowboys desperately need Owens to show up big in this game against a superior Patriots defense.
Do the Cowboys have a shot at winning this game?
Of course they do. In this league, everyone has a chance on any given Sunday. The Cowboys defeated a monster Indianapolis Colts team at home last year, surprising most of the league. The Patriots CAN be defeated. But everyone on the Cowboys' roster has to show up for them to have a chance. We'll need Romo to scramble in the pocket (because he WILL be chased) and throw out to Barber and Witten in a hurry. We'll need Owens to get the 15 yard quick receptions and a break a few tackles for major yards. Barber has to pound the Patriots and show them that he's going to make a hole when there isn't one.
Julius Jones needs to step it up and force a couple extra yards per carry rather than falling down after contact. Crayton needs to come up big for a couple long yardage passes. Folk will need to be ready to kick a few 45+ yarders in case the Cowboys get stuck. And the defense? Pray for the defense. They'll need it. Someone has to cover all four wide outs when the Patriots clear the backfield and go deep. The Cowboys do not have enough guys to cover the receivers New England will throw at them. Look for the Cowboys defensive approach to be the deciding factor in the game.
I won't predict a winner, but we all know I'm rootin' for my Boys!