By A. Sherrod Blakely
If you see the New England Patriots run a lot of the same stuff offensively as they did against the New York Jets, well, there will be a reason for that.
The defense that the Dallas Cowboys will throw on the field Sunday against the Patriots, literally came from the same gene pool as what the Pats saw in last Sunday's 30-21 win over the New York Jets.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is the twin brother of Jets head coach Rex Ryan who like his twin, is very much a defensive-minded coach.
"There's definitely some carryover," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Figuring out how much of that has carried over and how much will be unique to Rob Ryan, will be among the many challenges facing the Patriots and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.
In preparing for Sunday's game, O'Brien is aware that his players will see some familiar schemes against the Cowboys.
"Obviously, with them being brothers, they talk and there's a little bit of similarity," O'Brien said. "But I would say Rob is his own guy."
Clearly Rex Ryan is the more recognizable Ryan brother, in part because of what he says and how his teams have played defensively.
But Rob Ryan, to his credit, is no slouch either.
The Cowboys come into Sunday's game ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense (291.8 yards allowed per game), and feature one of the league's top linebackers in DeMarcus Ware, a seven year veteran who is among O'Brien's biggest concerns heading into Sunday's matchup.
This season, Ware has 12 tackles and five sacks, which is tied for fourth in the NFL.
"He's definitely a guy that can affect a game," O'Brien said. "He's having a real good year. Rob Ryan and his staff, they do a great job of moving him around so you can't really get a beat on where he is."
Which is exactly what we have come to expect from the Ryan brothers.