The Dallas Cowboys (2-1) head into Week 4 looking for a bounce-back performance after last week's loss to the Arizona Cardinals. This week, Dallas faces a team they have not beaten at home since 1996, the New England Patriots (1-2).
Before the Cowboys and Patriots kick things off, here are three bold predictions for the matchup.
- DaRon Bland records his second interception, coming in the game's most crucial moment
Last week in Dallas’ first game without All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs, 24-year-old DaRon Bland moved to the outside to take Diggs’ place. Bland surrendered just two receptions for a total of 26 yards.
Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn even went on to name Bland as one of the three defenders he believed performed well against Arizona.
Cowboys DC Dan Quinn said DE DeMarcus Lawrence, S Malik Hooker and CB DaRon Bland stood out as positives Sunday amid an uncharacteristic, unrecognizable day for defense. Overall, believes a number of defenders would say it wasn’t their best individual performance. pic.twitter.com/5ugFUOFuxR— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 25, 2023
This week, Bland will likely get his fair share of tests as Patriots’ offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien figures to shy away from going at veteran corner Stephon Gilmore. Bland showed last week he is up to the challenge, and he’ll prove that again on Sunday. The young cornerback’s playmaking ability shines again as Bland records an interception in the most crucial moment of the game.
2) Dak Prescott rushes for over 35 yards and a touchdown
Throughout his eight-year career, when Dak Prescott rushes for over 30 yards in a game the Cowboys are 14-5. When he scores a rushing touchdown, they are an even more impressive 22-6, including a 20-4 record in the regular season.
Sure, most of Dak’s biggest rushing days came early on in his career, but in a game back in December of last season against the Eagles, Prescott rushed six times for 41 yards in Dallas’ 40-34 victory. While this Sunday’s matchup against the Patriots likely won’t feature the same type of offensive shootout, Prescott running the football will be the key to Dallas escaping their red zone woes. The Cowboys turn to No. 4 and let him use his feet in the red zone, resulting in a big day on the ground for Dallas’ signal-caller.
3) KaVontae Turpin scores the second touchdown of his career
Regarding Dallas’ aforementioned red zone struggles, the Cowboys will need to find creative ways to move the ball when things get tight. Conventional wisdom would tell you that 5’9 KaVontae Turpin wouldn’t be a big-time red-zone threat, but on Sunday we’ll see Dallas use some trickery to get him into the end zone. Dallas schemes up a reverse to Turpin and he uses his speed to find the end zone and score the second touchdown of his NFL career.