The thing that ties the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots is an intense dislike shared by the rest of the league. It’s the one strand that binds two franchises with opposite trajectories.
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The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a crucial win over the Detroit Lions and are about to face the most formidable opponent of the 2019 season. While a loss to the New England Patriots wouldn’t derail their playoff chances, a win would go a long way in just proving what this 2019 team is made of.
Similar to going into Century Link Field and beating the Seahawks in 2014 or emerging victorious over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau in 2016, beating Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in Foxboro could propel this team straight into the playoffs.
For Dak Prescott and the offense, this presents the biggest challenge of the season. Prescott will have to continue his MVP-caliber play while limiting mistakes. Just one turnover and this Patriots defense will capitalize and turn it into points. Yet, if Prescott can take his shots when they present themselves then there’s no reason to think this offense can’t put points on the board.
On the defensive side, it’s simple. Sound tackling and pressuring Brady are paramount. Brady lacks the arm strength to air it out deep as frequently as he used to. So look for him to feed Julian Edleman and James White out of the backfield and rely on them to force missed tackles. The Cowboys have been terrible at tackling lately. That simply won’t cut it or the Patriots will dink and dunk all game.
The Cowboys are 6-4 and have yet to beat a team with a winning record in 2019. They have shown they can play with winning teams and they have shown that they cannot get out of their own way and close out a victory.
It’s time they put a complete game together and show the NFL they are for real.
Dallas Cowboys (6-4) vs New England Patriots (5-3)
3:20 p.m. CT, Sunday, November 24th
Gillette Stadium– Foxborough, MA
Referee: Scott Novak
So we’re not going to waste much time on the quarterback’s elbow.
Now for the real story: The NFL’s best offense will clash with its best defense when the Cowboys ride into Gillette Stadium.
Dak Prescott and company are averaging 444 yards per game this season — the Ravens are the only other team that tops 400 — and they’ve diced defenses a number of different ways.
Opponents are only scoring 10.8 points per game against the Patriots defense, they’ve been historically good, so something has to give this Sunday in Foxboro.
Expert predictions for Cowboys-Patriots: Is anybody giving Dallas a shot at New England?
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) fumbles the ball which is recovered by Detroit Lions middle linebacker Jarrad Davis (40) during the first half of a NFL football matchup between the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (Ryan Michalesko/The Dallas Morning News)(Ryan Michalesko / Staff Photographer)
It’s odd that the Cowboys go to Foxboro with a significantly more efficient offense than the Patriots but still find themselves the underdogs. It’s all about that crazy plus-18 turnover margin New England has built up. If Dallas plays the Patriots even in takeaways, I think the Cowboys win the game, but that’s awfully hard to do, especially on their turf. If Zeke and the o-line can reignite the running game, Dallas has a real chance. Patriots 20, Cowboys 12
Can the Cowboys win this game? Sure. But they’d have to win the turnover battle against a team whose plus-18 differential is twice that of the nearest NFL team. They’d have to contain running backs in the passing game without the luxury of Leighton Vander Esch (neck). And they’d have to match New England’s standard on special teams. All possible. But until Dallas shows it, it’s tough to predict. Patriots 27, Cowboys 24