After a rough loss to Detroit this past Sunday, Dallas enters this week's matchup with a chance to set things right. The season's first quarter took a tremendous toll on the club, physically and mentally. Optimists say the team could be 4-0 if not for the myriad of injuries sustained. Member of the RealFans political party say this team is a couple short and curlies away from being 0-4. Fortunately, BYE presents the perfect opponent for a team such as the Cowboys.
BYE presents a multitude of dream scenarios for the Cowboys walking wounded on offense. A Miles Austin hamstring injury looks to get itself corrected. Dez Bryant's thigh bruise has to be salivating when it sees who's lining up against it this week. Quarterback Tony Romo's ribs will face little to no pressure, something he enjoyed for most of the Detroit game as well. His young offensive line will get a chance to practice against what must seem like air compared to the intrusive fronts of the past four opponents. They should encounter no resistance in opening holes for Felix Jones and the boys to dart through. Jones made a statement on Tuesday guaranteeing his shoulder would make it through the entire week unscathed.
Defensively, Rob Ryan has to be giddy with the matchup problems his unit presents. Orlando Scandrick is returning and is almost a guarantee to lock down his receiver, no matter where on the field he lines up.
Chuck Norris Sean Lee told us this week that he refuses to give up even one yard in the run game, and we believe him. After all, since ‘Chuck Norris doesn't fly, gravity collapses around him', we aren't arguing with the best young inside linebacker in the game.
The few areas that BYE still holds an advantage are against Jason Hatcher's calf and Derrick Dockery's MCL. Those players are too banged up to be effective, even against this bush league competition.
While physically there aren't much better opponents for Dallas as the BYE presents, the mental game could be a bit trickier; at least according to team detractors.
They would tell you that BYE has a chance to get deeper into Tony Romo's psyche than any prior foe. It has the exact tendencies that could lead to the quarterback's in-game schizophrenia becoming even more pronounced. Head Coach Jason Garrett could be spending the week of BYE preparation devising trick plays better left to teams with less talent. Instead of relying on their physical dominance, Garrett might attempt to outsmart BYE's coach. The detractors say the rookie head hauncho is no match in this department.
Could the entire Cowboys team be looking past BYE in anticipation of a date with the Patriots? Possibly, but for once the forward focus could be a good thing. Dallas could easily be distracted by the dangers of Bye Week; as the days leading to the renewal of a budding rivalry are now being called. Instead, they are deep in preparation for a worthy opponent, looking to rise above the water line by climbing to 3-2 next Sunday in New England.
I'd advise to take the points and the under in this one. I don't expect the Cowboys to allow any points to the BYE, but the offense needs gel time. Dallas comes out ahead, but as is customary under Jason Garrett, only by a Dan "Split'Em" Bailey field goal.