The 6-4 Dallas Cowboys travel to New England this Sunday to take on the 9-1 Patriots. New England is considered by many to be the best team in football once again this season. The stats back up these claims.
We will start with the the Patriots’ offense. This unit is undoubtedly one of the weaker Patriots offenses in recent memory. Due to injuries, New England has had some fill-ins on their offensive line, and the group as a whole has not preformed very well. Despite allowing decent amounts of pressure, their quarterback Tom Brady has been able to get the ball out quick, only being sacked 17 times.
New England averages 28.7 points per game, third best in the NFL. However, they only rush for 91 yards a game, which is much different than the Patriots’ teams we have seen recently. New England’s two top wideouts are Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu. Dallas could get lucky with an injury as Sanu likely will not play this Sunday. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, and despite throwing for just 14 touchdowns on the season and being criticized by some as “slowing down”, he still is an excellent quarterback.
The story of the Patriots team is their defense. Considered by many as the best defense in the NFL, the Patriots give up just 10.8 points a game. In fact, the only team to score more than 14 points on the Patriots this season is the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots’ defense is third in the NFL with 37 sacks and leads the NFL with an astounding 28 takeaways. In comparison, the Cowboys’ defense has 12 takeaways on the season.
It is safe to say this will be a tough matchup for the Cowboys. Here are three predictions for the game.
1. New England holds Amari Cooper under 50 receiving yards.
The Patriots’ secondary may be the most talented part of their defense. The group is led by All-Pro corner Stephon Gilmore. He will likely be matched up with the Cowboys top wideout Amari Cooper for most of the game. Other notable players in the New England secondary are Jason and Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and Jonathan Jones.
Cooper and Gilmore will be an outstanding matchup to watch. Both are one of the best in the league at what they do. When asked about Cooper, Gilmore spoke glowingly of the Dallas receiver.
Stephon Gilmore explains what makes Amari Cooper “one of the best receivers in the league.” pic.twitter.com/39FLQ1eIk5— Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis) November 20, 2019
Unfortunately for Dallas, Gilmore is going to win the matchup more times than not on Sunday. One of the best things Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ defense do is take away the opposing team’s best player. The Patriots can turn on the Jets game to see what Dallas looks like when Cooper is off the field. They are going to make sure that Cooper does not beat them, and bank on being able to handle the rest of the Cowboys’ receivers without tons of help.
Cooper is an All-Pro level player and is having an amazing year, but Sunday he is going to run into a game where he just cannot make a true impact. Expect New England to double him, be physical with him at the line, and do anything possible to make sure he is not the one who beats them in this game.
2. Dallas sacks Tom Brady three times, two courtesy of Robert Quinn.
Robert Quinn is clearly proving to be the Dallas Cowboys best offseason addition. Despite missing the first two games of the season, Quinn leads the team with 8.5 sacks. There has only been one game this season where Quinn did not record at least half a sack.
This weekend the Patriots will get left tackle Isaiah Wynn back on their offensive line. The former first-round pick out of Georgia has played in just two games in his NFL career to date. Wynn is a talented guy, in fact the Cowboys had tons of interest in him during the 2018 draft, but it is not easy to come back and dominate at left tackle.
Dallas is going to put pressure on Wynn to hold up in the blocking game and it will result in getting to Tom Brady three times. Quinn will likely be the guy going up against Wynn for most of the day, and he is going to win the matchup over the rookie big time.
The Cowboys and Robert Quinn will give Isaiah Wynn a rough welcome to the NFL on Sunday.
3. The Cowboys hang tough all day, but ultimately lose 17-14.
For how much hype there is surrounding this game, it will get off to a slow start. Both offenses are going to struggle all day, taking the game into halftime with a score of 10-7 Patriots. In the regular season when leading at halftime in Gillette Stadium, Tom Brady is 104-1 in his career. That stat will hold on Sunday.
Surprisingly, Ezekiel Elliott will actually have a solid day. Dak Prescott has shown teams he can beat them in the passing game, and New England will focus mostly on shutting him and his favorite target, Amari Cooper, down. Dak won’t have a bad day by any means, but he will make two costly turnovers, including one that seals the game.
On defense, the Cowboys will generate pressure on Tom Brady all day, but being the Hall-of-Famer he is, he will still be able to make plays. New England will have a big trick play involving Julian Edelman at some point in the game that will hurt the Dallas defense in a big spot.
In the end it won’t be a knock on the Cowboys at all, it just shows the quality of the Patriots’ defense. When you haven’t given up 15 points more than one time 10 games into a season, you are pretty darn good. Dallas will not be able to pull out a win, falling to 6-5 on the year.