FRISCO, Texas – For starters, it's just another football game. It promises to be a difficult football game, but it shouldn't be anything out of the ordinary.
Amari Cooper summarized it perfectly when he was asked about the mystique that follows the six-time world champion New England Patriots. They aren't easy to beat, but it's still 22 guys playing the same sport as usual.
"I played the Patriots once before and it felt like a regular game," Cooper said Thursday.
"We lost," he added with a laugh. "We lost, but it felt like a regular game. It didn't feel like a game that we couldn't have won. So I don't think there's any difference."
It's an easy trap to fall into, considering the Patriots have played in three-straight Super Bowls, appeared in eight total and won six – all under the duo of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett would probably say it's more about their personnel than any decade-long mystique or 20-game win streak.
"I don't know what their record is on the road, but I imagine it's pretty good, too," Garrett said. "They're a really good team."
As far as Cooper is concerned, it'll be interesting to see how that personnel handles the matchup. The Patriots' secondary has been outstanding, anchored by strong play from Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty, and nabbing 19 interceptions on the year.
Going back to that famed Mystique, they're also famous for neutralizing an opponent's biggest threat in any given matchup.
"They seem to be like a game-specific type of defensive type of team," Cooper said. "Based off what we do on offense, they'll adjust their defense. They'll probably run a coverage that they haven't run all season if they think it will be able to stop some the things we do."
Naturally, that leads to speculation about how they'll handle Cooper. Given his playmaking ability, will New England seek to double him in an effort to slow him down? It's hard to say, but Cooper isn't worried about it.
"We have a lot of guys that can make plays, so if they try to take me away and just focus on me, I don't think that'd be the wisest approach," he said. "You saw what Gallup and Cobb did last week, going for over 100 yards. If they do try to take me away, we have other guys that can make plays."
With Cooper fighting through injuries against Detroit, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb combined for 263 yards on 13 catches. Cooper said Thursday he feels good for this weekend, but it's no trouble if the Patriots focus their efforts on him.
"It's great, especially moving forward, if like if we want to get to where we really want to go," he said. "Teams will game plan, especially when we start to get closer to the playoffs, in the playoffs, they will try and take the biggest weapons away. But if you have everybody making plays its like they can't do that and they're scrambling around trying to see who to start."