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Patriots hope to be men among 'Boys

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It has only happened four other times.

This Sunday's Patriots-Cowboys game will mark the fifth occasion in NFL history that two teams with 5-0 records or better will square off.

Football fans may be excited about that fact, but Tom Brady isn't.

"Not really," the Pats QB told reporters at his locker Wednesday. "It's another regular season game for us, and there have been a lot of big games around here."

Brady isn't as concerned about the Cowboys' record as he is their aggressive defense.

"They're very active. They've got a great front seven. They have playmakers in the secondary; I think they lead the league in turnovers. They do a lot of things really well. They strip the ball. They intercept balls. They rush the passer. They stop the run.

"It's a great defense that attacks the quarterback, attacks the football and they're very good at what they do."

His head coach agrees.

"We've spent the last couple of days here working on Dallas. They're a very, very impressive football team," Bill Belichick began his mid-week press conference.

"Offensively, that offensive line is as big and powerful and explosive as I've seen in a long time. The tight ends are great. [Jason] Whitten is a great player, probably the best all around tight end that I've seen in a quite a while.

"[Tony] Romo is a very athletic quarterback. The play that he made against St. Louis where they snapped the ball over his head and he's running around 35 yards behind the line of scrimmage and still scrambles and picks up a first down kind of epitomizes his playmaking ability.

"Both backs are outstanding. [Marion] Barber is having a terrific year. He's really a hard guy to tackle. Both of them are good in the passing game. Of course they have a lot of big play receivers. You can't underestimate guys like [Patrick] Crayton and [Sam] Hurd just because they have T.O. [Terrell Owens] and Whitten. [Anthony] Fasano. They all get involved. They're good in the kicking game. We saw that Monday night."

We also saw Romo throw several interceptions in a near-loss to the Bills in Buffalo. Brady, who's had similar misfortune on rare occasions on the road, knows how much of an impact the home team's fans can have on opposing QBs.

"We're playing on the road so that's always a factor with the crowd noise."

This will be Brady's first – and likely last – appearance at Texas Stadium (the Cowboys are building a new home in nearby Arlington). The last time he played the Cowboys was four years ago here in Foxboro, a 12-0 Patriots victory on the strength of four field goals.

"I don't remember that so well," Brady said. "That was the Tuna Bowl with [Coach Bill] Parcells. That's all I remember. I don't think we're building this [Sunday's game] to anything more than it really is, which is another game on our schedule. It's another game that we're hoping to play our best and make improvements.

"It should be a good game," Brady conceded.

If nothing else, it will be historic.

Wednesday Practice Notebook

Only two Patriots were not present when New England took to the practice field Wednesday afternoon: T Wesley Britt and DB Mel Mitchell.

TE Marcellus Rivers was back in a Patriots uniform Wednesday. Rivers, who was re-signed last week, only to be cut prior to the Browns game to make room for S Rodney Harrison. To make room for Rivers, veteran LB Chad Brown was released.

Two players – WR C.J. Jones and G Dan Connolly – were given black jerseys for their outstanding performance in recent practices. For Jones, this is the second week in a row he's won the honor.

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