Sleepless nights ahead in Foxborough

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Patriots know they have their hands full this week with the Cowboys.One of the most common themes when the Patriots hold their Tuesday conference calls with the media is turning the page to the next opponent. Coach Bill Belichick and his staff often try to spin things forward when questions linger about last week's opponent.

And with the Cowboys coming to town Sunday -- especially coming of their own bye week -- members of the Patriots' staff stressed the challenge ahead.

"[The Cowboys] do a lot of different things -- there's not a lot of sleeping in Foxborough this week," said offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien after heaping praise on the Cowboys' defense. "We've got a lot to do to make sure we're ready to go on Sunday."

With the Cowboys essentially having two weeks to prepare for New England, Belichick stressed how the team feels like it's making up for lost time.

"We're digging in on the Cowboys, there's a lot of work to do, but they are a really good team -- could easily be 4-0, just a couple plays away," said Belichick. "There's a lot of talent, good players in all three phases of the game. And they are well-coached -- I think [Cowboys head coach] Jason [Garrett has] done a good job with the team and [defensive coordinator] Rob [Ryan] with the defense. They're explosive in every area of the game with a lot of talented players. We've got our work cut out with them ... a team we don’t know much about. I'm sure they are way ahead of where we are with the time they had last week. We have to work hard to catch up."

On Monday, Belichick talked extensively about the difficulty in facing a team coming off the bye.

"Obviously, they have more time and they have extra days to prepare for you," he said. "But I think we all have, in seven days from Sunday to Sunday, that’s ample time to get ready. Every team has a bye week. With every short week is a long week and with every long week is a short week. It all evens out in the end. We’ve played on short weeks, we’ve played on long weeks, we’ve played [after] bye weeks, we’ve played against other teams [after their] bye weeks. I don’t think there’s anything you can do about any of that.

"You take the opportunities you have, like I just said, and you make the most of them. Here’s what our opportunity is to get ready for the game, these are how many practice plays we have, this is our amount of meeting time, this our amount of team film study, this is how much time players have to do it on their own, how much will they do? You use all the time the most efficient way you can, in terms of getting treatment and weightlifting and being in condition and all the other things you do, the media, press conferences, all the other things. You just try to maximize your time and get the most of it and that’s what we’ll do this week. We can’t really worry about whether Dallas played Monday night, played a week ago, played Sunday. It is what it is. All we can do is control what our situation is. We’ll try to get the most out of it."