The Patriots finally got in the win column last weekend against the Jets. Meanwhile, the Cowboys lost in shocking fashion to the Cardinals. New England will look to find some offensive rhythm and finally score more than twenty points in a game against a very talented Cowboys defense. The last time these two teams met, we were treated to an overtime thriller filled with big plays. Unfortunately, it was Dallas who were victorious last time. Hopefully, the Patriots can exact some revenge on the Cowboys this time.
Patriots Offense vs. Cowboys Defense
The Cardinals were able to secure a win after rushing for 222 yards, including a whopping 182 in the first half. The Patriots still struggle in the running game, but showed signs of life in that area against the Jets. The offensive line has settled in nicely, but Cole Strange has again popped up on the injury report. Ezekiel Elliott will hope the offensive line can pave the way, as he would like to remind his old team of his capabilities.
The Cowboys’ defense lost a considerable piece in practice leading up to the Cardinals’ game. All-Pro corner Trevon Diggs tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. The Cowboys still have old friend Stephon Gilmore at one corner spot, and the Patriots’ receiving corps isn’t exactly striking fear into the hearts of any defensive coordinators.
To succeed against the Cowboys, the Patriots must establish the running game. They will want to shorten the game and need a successful ground game to set up their play-action passing game. The Pats air attack will struggle to find big plays if they can’t rely on the chunk plays that play-action provides.
Micah Parsons has the potential to absolutely wreck every game he plays in. Establishing the rushing game early will slow down the star pass rusher and wear him down as the game goes on. The Patriots should focus on running vertically against the interior of this defense, or on designed runs right at Parsons.
Patriots Defense vs. Cowboys Offense
The Patriots’ defense continued its hot start to the season against the Jets. They will need to play well against the Cowboys. Sunday will be a much more extensive test than the Jets, as the Cowboys play a balanced offensive system that is capable of explosive plays at all levels.
Against the Dolphins, the Pats focused on containing the passing game. Against the Jets, the Patriots were able to focus on the running game, as Zach Wilson has yet to earn their respect. The Patriots must balance their focus on Sunday and play fundamentally sound to limit the big plays.
The Cowboys’ rushing attack is capable of ripping off chunk plays, thanks to Tony Pollard. The lines on both sides of the ball come in banged up. The Cowboys are listing three starters on the injury report, while the Patriots dealt with a slew of injuries on the interior of the defensive line against the Jets. Health may be the determining factor here.
The receiving corps in Dallas is full of big-play threats, with none bigger than CeeDee Lamb. The Patriots are familiar with his game-winning ability after the last matchup between these two teams. Christian Gonzalez might get shadow duty on Lamb, as he continues to show his ability to play top-tier talent in the NFL.
If the Pats are to have a chance in this game, they will need to get a few takeaways. Dak Prescott has a propensity to turn the ball over in spurts. If the defense can confuse him with pre-snap looks, there is a good chance they can come away with a few interceptions on Sunday.
The Patriots special teams are turning back into a juggernaut. Winning the hidden yardage in an NFL game often impacts the outcome of a game. This game has the potential to be decided by the hidden yardage. Both rookie specialists will get a chance to show off their leg strength in a controlled environment. If he doesn’t watch out, Bryce Baringer has a legitimate shot at hitting that jumbotron.
Cowboys 8, Patriots 6
At the beginning of the year, many pundits felt a 2-2 start to the season would’ve been a massive success for the Patriots. They can still pull it off if they play their best ball in recent memory on Sunday. It will take a complete effort for them to come away with the victory.
The game will be closer than some expect, but the lack of individual talent on the offensive side of the ball, and the overall clunkiness in operations, will provide too much to overcome for the Pats on Sunday. The offense will finally score more than 20, but ultimately fall short. Cowboys win 27-23.