Sports Outside the Beltway

Patriots – Cowboys Matchup Pits #1 and #3

Sunday’s game pitting the Dallas Cowboys against the visiting New England Patriots will be the early Game of the Year in the NFL.

Rare are the NFL teams that win their first five games. Rarer still is when those undefeated teams actually play each other this late in the season.

That’s why the New England-Dallas matchup Sunday at Texas Stadium will be so massively overhyped. It will be just the fifth time in NFL history — and just the third in the past 84 years — that two teams with 5-0 records or better will meet. The last time it happened was three years ago when the 5-0 Patriots met the 5-0 Jets (with New England winning 13-7).

Certainly, the outcome of Sunday’s game will shake up the top part of next week’s rankings. Of course, Cowboys QB Tony Romo did his best to wreak havoc with this week’s rankings by committing six turnovers in the near-loss at Buffalo on Monday night. But that merely adds more intrigue to Sunday’s game. Have the Cowboys and Romo gotten their bad game out of the way, or did the Bills expose a flaw that the Patriots will exploit on their way to another lopsided victory this season?

Now throw in the Randy Moss factor. In six career games against Dallas, Moss has never lost. What’s more, he seems to have made playing the Cowboys a personal vendetta. His totals in those six games: 29 catches, 675 yards and 10 touchdowns.

But with all the attention this game will get, there might be a bigger one on the horizon: On Nov. 4, New England will face Indianapolis at the RCA Dome. The Patriots could go into that game 8-0, and the Colts (who have a bye this Sunday) could be 7-0. Should that happen, it would be the biggest collision of undefeated teams in NFL history.

My wife and I are flying to Dallas to see the game. I fear that the young Cowboys will be overmatched in this one, going up a talented, veteran team.

Bill Parcells, the former Dallas coach who picked out most of the groceries on this team thinks his old defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick, will take away most of Romo’s options:

If Romo and company can find a way to win, it’ll be really something.

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