Final score: Patriots 20, Cowboys 16
The New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys don't get many opportunities to meet each other. But fast-forward four years from their previous meet in Irving, Texas. The Patriots dominated that game 48-27 on their way to a perfect regular season—and on the surface, very little has changed.
Tom Brady still runs one of the most explosive offenses in the league in New England, and after a lightning-fast start to the season, the 2010 league MVP is on course to shatter Dan Marino's passing yards record, whilst threatening his own 50 touchdown haul from 2007.
Meanwhile, Tony Romo is still supported by a talented cast-list on offense in Dallas. Romo continues to impress fantasy football owners, but back in the real world, when the game is on the line he is prone to implosion, and the loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 4 will live long in the memory.
The bye week has been timely for the Cowboys, who have been dealing with injuries to Romo (ribs) and Austin (hamstring), allowing them to lick their wounds and regroup.
The last time defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had two weeks to prepare for a Tom Brady offense, his Cleveland Browns destroyed the Patriots 34-14 in Week 9 of last season. And you can be sure that Bill Belichick wore that tape out in the film room this week.
However, the fact remains: Tom Brady simply doesn't lose at Gillette Stadium. At least not in the regular season, anyway; his last taste of defeat came in 2006 when the New York Jets rolled into town.
For the Cowboys to stand a chance today, Romo has to keep pace with Brady's relentless scoring whilst eliminating fourth-quarter mistakes.
Get your popcorn ready. We're in for a feast of points.