Nov 28, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) catches a touchdown pass as Oakland Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins (21) defends in the third quarter at AT

Anyone’s Game: New England is Top Dog but Highly Flawed


Dec 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) yells against the Houston Texans during the second half at Reliant Stadium. The Patriots won 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Part II of our look around the league, comparing top NFL teams to the Dallas Cowboys. We hear about it every season and see proof of it almost every week: Parity. Google it and Parity is defined as:

The state or condition of being equal, esp. regarding status or pay.

It’s clear: The “A” students appear to be very far apart from the “F” students. It’s the teams in the middle that are tough to nail down. The middle happens to be the place the Dallas Cowboys currently reside.

While the top teams in the league are fairly easy to point out, each team is clearly flawed. Whether the flaws prove to be fatal or not remains to be seen, but the flaws are apparent, and they allow a team like the Cowboys to beat any one of them.

In the next couple days we look at some of the “Top Teams” in the league and see why this really is, Anyone’s Game.

Nov 18, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) scores a touchdown as Carolina Panthers free safeties Mike Mitchell (21) and Quintin Mikell (27) and inside linebacker A.J. Klein (56) and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (92) defend in the third quarter. The Panthers defeated the Patriots 24-20 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots

Depending who you ask the New England Patriots rank near the top (if not at the top) of the AFC food chain. Ignored most of the year, the Patriots have put together an impressive 9-3 record including a recent win against the formidable Denver Broncos

The Patriots endured key injuries on defense and have fallen to the 20th ranked defense in the league. They are smart enough to hang with any team (see again, Broncos game) but lack the overall talent to dominate.

The offense of the Patriots is their strong suit. Led by future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady, the Patriots are always “in the game”. Ranking 12th in rushing and 10th in passing, the Patriots offer a balanced attack that thrives under pressure.

Tom Brady may be what makes the team tick but the biggest mismatch in the league plays tight end for the Patriots. Since returning to the team, Rob Gronkowski has averaged over 90 yards per game and provides multiple big plays. Gronk stands at 6’6” and possesses some of the best hands in the league. He is a match-up nightmare for everyone in the league.

Verdict

The Cowboys match-up relatively well against the Patriots. The Dallas WRs outmatch the NE secondary and the running games are fairly similarly talented. NE holds the clear advantage in offensive line play, and performance in big/clutch moments. Gronkowski could have a field day with the Dallas secondary. Even with Sean Lee back, Gronk would dominate.

Luckily the only time these teams would meet would be in the Super Bowl, but it’s worth noting the Patriots are still a very flawed team. They are legitimate contenders (if not favorites in the AFC) and yet they are not convincingly better than the Cowboys.

Match-up: Patriots beat Cowboys 7 out of 10 times

Next up tomorrow – comparing more NFL contenders to the Dallas Cowboys.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Rob Gronkowski