On April 19th of this year, Tony Romo was a surprise guest at the Academy of Country Music Awards, which took place at AT&T stadium. Tony said a few words welcoming the audience, and then threw the pigskin over to country star Luke Bryan. After the throw, Tony, knowing full well the Patriots were on the schedule this season, astonishingly zinged, “We’re the Dallas Cowboys, we have ‘real’ balls.”
Not only is little Antonio a pro-bowl quarterback and scratch golfer, but he’s also a professional comedian! What a talented guy!
On July 29, at the opening news conference of Cowboys training camp, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked about the deflate gate saga, Robert Kraft, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Jones stated: “He’s doing an outstanding job…He has to make hard calls, and more often that not, you’re going to have a season or period of time where those go against you as an owner of the NFL.”
Now, to Jerry’s defense, he’s not a complete ignoramus. Mr. Jones was under the impression Tom Brady would be suspended when the Pats visited the Cowboys this season, so he felt inclined to flex his big owner muscles. Should have taken the Bill Belicheckian approach there, Jerry. Too bad. Want to bet on the game this weekend?
Earlier this week, Cowboy defensive end Greg Hardy, who had been suspended last season and the first four weeks of this season for allegedly threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend and tossing her on a pile of guns, was asked about Brady and the Patriots as well. He responded: “I hope I come out guns blazin’…I love Tom Brady, he’s cool as crap, Have you seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game, all her friends come to the game….”
HOLD. THE. PHONE. This guy is insane, right? Is that how he got off? Claiming he’s bat-bleep freaking nuts? I mean, yeah, the gun reference was totally off center and could not have been more horribly timed, but is this buffoon actually calling out Tom Brady? Did he mention Gisele? Bro, did they have TV’s in the pen or wherever you spent the last year? Were you suspended from watching film, too? Listen, Greg, this is the big leagues now. The only gun getting brought into AT&T on Sunday is the bazooka that is Tom Brady’s right arm. If I were you, I’d duck when he takes aim.
*You can read more about Hardy here.
In addition to the three reasons mentioned above, the Cowboys will be without several of their best players (Romo, Dez Bryant, Lance Dunbar, Randy Gregory) and quarterback Brandon Weeden has lost more consecutive starts then I care to look up. On that note, let’s go around and see what the BBS staff has to say about Sunday afternoon.
Tom Brady: Over/Under 300 passing yards?
Niko: OVER. The underwhelming combination of Brandon Carr/Mo Claiborne is going to have an incredibly difficult time keeping anybody in check. Also, sans Sean Lee, Dallas’ linebackers can be exposed badly in coverage.
Pete: Definitely OVER. While Morris Claiborne isn't a bum, that Dallas secondary was carved up by Drew Brees more than a Thanksgiving Turkey. If Brees, with an injured shoulder, can throw for 350+ yards on Dallas, think about what a healthy, and angry, TB12 will do.
Spence: Over, Brady will have plenty of room to operate and I see him connecting with Edelman in particular quite a bit during this game. Dallas's pass defense is very questionable at the moment.
Brandon Weeden: Over/Under 230 passing yards?
Niko: OVER. Weeden is going to have to chuck it in the 2nd half, and should be able to find chunks of yardage on the Patriot bend but don’t break secondary.
Pete: I think he is going to be right around this total, but I am going to go UNDER just because its freaking Brandon Weeden. I remember watching my Texas Longhorns take on Weeden's OK St. Cowboys and the dude was like 27-years-old and still in college. Has he filed for AARP yet?
Spence: Over, I think Weeden will have a big game in terms of yardage, but I don't see Dallas capitalizing on these opportunities. The Patriots secondary will continue the bend, but don't break trend with strong redzone defense.
Joseph Randle: Over/Under 70 rushing yards?
Niko: UNDER. I expect Dallas to have to abandon the run earlier than they anticipated. If this thing is going to be close, Cowboy fans better hope I’m wrong here.
Pete: I'm going to go OVER just because I don't think Jason Garrett trusts Brandon Weeden to win him a football game against the best team in the NFL. Additionally, the Patriots run defense has been one of the worst in the league this season. Randle may have a big game if this Patriots defense looks like it has in the first 3 weeks, but I don't think it will make much of a difference. In my opinion, a running back can't win you a football game.
Spence: Over, I think Dallas will be forced to rely more on the run game with their depleted offense. However, I don't think it will be a very successful game plan.
Jason Witten: Over/Under 4.5 catches and 55 receiving yards?
Niko: I’ll go OVER (x2) for Witten. How can you not respect this guy? Love what he brings every single Sunday.
Pete: With Dez Bryant going down, the Cowboys really don't have another legitimate threat on offense. Witten may be their best option and, because of this, I think he will go OVER on catches and be just around total in receiving yards.
Spence: Im gunna be bold an say he gets under four catches, but has exactly 55 yards. I think we will be able to contain him enough.
Rob Gronkowski: Over/Under 90 yards and 1 TD?
Niko: UNDER on yards for Gronk, but he finds pay dirt twice. OVER on the TD.
Pete: OVER on both. Rob Gronkowski is the biggest mismatch in all of football right now. Too fast for linebackers, too tall and strong for defensive backs. Expect a huge day for Gronk, as always.
Spence: Over on both, expect Gronk to be a big factor in this game, especially in the Redzone. I could easily see at least two touchdowns.
Julian Edelman: Over/Under 9.5 catches?
Niko: OVER. Jules will get double digit catches. Dallas does not have an answer for Incredelman.
Pete: OVER. It is becoming a normality for Edelman to pitch in his 11 catches for 90 yards every game. I don't expect that to change against a terrible Dallas secondary.
Spence: Over, I easily see Edelman getting 12 catches this game. Dallas has a weak secondary and Tom and Edelman will capitalize on that.
Game Total: Over/Under 49.5 points?
Niko: It’ll be close, but thanks to Greg Hardy, I’ll go OVER. Pats will get most by themselves.
Pete: Easily OVER. The Pats will threaten themselves. Dallas, even without Dez and Romo, still aren't slouches on offense as well.
Spence: I think Greg Hardy jinxed them and they will get completely crushed with the Patriots possibly even putting up 50 points themselves.
Niko: Freshly re-signed Dion Lewis racks up 150 yards from scrimmage. I was counting on Sean Lee, who I suspect will get some time checking Dion, being out for the game, but I’ll go ahead with it anyways.
Pete: This may be too bold, but I think that backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo will make an appearance in this game. Pats 44-17, with Jimmy G playing for the the last couple of drives in the 4th quarter.
Spence: Gronk will end up with three touchdowns, I know this is very ambitious and we would not even need him to get that many, but I just have a feeling its going to happen.