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Thursday, October 13, 2011
Five-star answer: Patriots fall short of 30

By Todd Archer

Five-star question: Will the Patriots tie the NFL record of 14 consecutive games with at least 30 points this week?

I think the Patriots’ run comes to an end this week, but not by much since I predicted a 28-24 Patriots’ victory.

Some of it will have to do with Rob Ryan’s defense against Tom Brady. Some of it will have to do with how much the Cowboys control the ball. Some of it will have to do with all good things coming to an end.

The last time New England did not score 30 points came against Ryan’s defense in Cleveland. They held the Patriots to 14 points in Week 9 last year. Having worked in New England as an assistant coach, Ryan has an understanding of what the Patriots and Brady like to do.

And I’m sure some phone calls will be made to the New York Jets as well with Ryan picking the brain of his brother, Rex.

The Cowboys will have their top three cornerbacks available to them for the first time this season with the return of Orlando Scandrick from an ankle injury. That will give Ryan some flexibility to be creative with his coverages that he was not able to do in the first four games.

The key, however, will be pressure on Brady. Bill Belichick said DeMarcus Ware is the best player the Patriots have seen this season, but New England’s offensive line will be the best the Cowboys have seen this season. Brady has been sacked eight times and is averaging 9.56 yards per attempt. He is deadly with time to throw to Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch.

He’ll be deadly again Sunday; just not enough to score 30.