The Dallas Cowboys will attempt to turn the page on their shocking loss to the Arizona Cardinals when they play the New England Patriots this weekend at AT&T Stadium. Dallas is in the middle of a mini-crisis as their feel-good first two weeks of the season came crumbling down in the desert. Now they try to get back on the contender track, and it starts by handling a Patriots team at Dallas’ home.
The Patriots avoided an 0-3 start when they squeaked by the Jets 15-10 in Week 3. Just that information alone makes it seem like New England is a bad football team. But if you add in the context that their two losses have come to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins, and both games were pretty close, you understand that Bill Belichick has his team playing hard and staying with a couple of the best teams in the league.
The Cowboys better recognize that this game is no pushover. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Cowboys as 6.5 point favorites, but that feels like a generous spread given how the Cowboys played last week.
The Patriots are not a team the Cowboys see often. The two teams have played 14 times with the Cowboys leading the series 8-6. But New England had been on a roll in the series, winning six of the previous games until the latest one. The last time they played was an exciting Cowboys win, 35-29, when CeeDee Lamb caught a touchdown pass in overtime.
The good news for Dallas is they are at home where they are on an impressive nine-game winning streak. Dallas last had a streak of winning 10+ consecutive games at home in the 1991-192 seasons when they won 11 straight games at home.
(All the following stats are through the first three games of the season for all NFL teams)
The Cowboys offense certainly has had its troubles in the redzone. That’s been talked about all week. But outside of the redzone, this offense just keeps on keeping on. The team leads the NFL with 12 drives of 10 plays or more, and they have the most redzone trips at 15. The Cowboys are third in the league for third-down conversions at 51.1%. Now if they could just punch it in for touchdowns.
The big beneficiary of all that redzone frustration is kicker Brandon Aubrey. Besides the stat we dropped earlier in the week that he is the first kicker in the Super Bowl era to make all 10 field goal attempts in his first three games, there is another feel-good stat for Aubrey. He is tied for the points lead in kicking with 26 points, and that ties for second place all time for kicking points in the first three games of a career. Coincidentally he only trails Richie Cunningham, another Cowboys kicker, who had 44 in 1997.
Some other quick stat hits:
- Tony Pollard’s 64 rushes and 72 overall total touches led the NFL through the first three games.
- Micah Parsons has 10 career games with 2+ sacks. If he gets two sacks against New England, that will be the second-most by a player through their first 37 games, behind Reggie White who had 13.
- Osa Odigihizuwa has three sacks this season. That ties him for the most by a Cowboys defensive tackle through the first three games of a season. Jason Hatcher in 2013 and John Dutton in 1986 also accomplished it.
Team comparison stats:
- Dallas is tied for sixth in scoring at 28.7 per game while New England is 26th at 17.3 points per game.
- The Cowboys defense is third in points allowed per game at 12.7 while the Patriots are tied for ninth at 19.7 per game.
- The Cowboys run defense was an issue last week. The Patriots are 14th in rushing at 107 yards per game.
- Both teams rank highly in total defense. Dallas is fourth at 262 yards per game and the Patriots are fifth at 270.3 yards per game.
- Dallas is tops in the league for turnover margin at a +6 while the Patriots are tied for 20th at a -2.