Pats-Cowboys pregame discussion

Captaincoop

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Regardless of how they got here, this has potential to be a huge swing game for the season. If they can get to 3-3, they're right in the mix to make the playoffs. At 2-4 the season hangs by a thread.

If Ivan can work with these backs to eliminate fumbles, I have a lot of confidence the Pats can hang with Dallas.
 

mikeot

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Big mo if they come out of this one with a win, IMHO. At the Razor, not Jerryworld, so that should factor.
 

lars10

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There defense doesn’t appear to be particularly stingy.. giants were able to move the ball up and down the field on them with their second string QB, RB, WRs. Hard part will be stopping their RBs.
 

rodderick

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The Cowboys defense is much improved from the tire fire they were last year, but they still aren't great. That passing game does worry me though, a lot of weapons and Dak is awesome. If the resurgence of their running game is legit, it could be a long day for the Pats on defense. Coin flip type of game, at some point the Pats will have to beat a good team and if the OL is healthier I think this could be the week
 

Saints Rest

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There defense doesn’t appear to be particularly stingy.. giants were able to move the ball up and down the field on them with their second string QB, RB, WRs. Hard part will be stopping their RBs.
The weirdest thing about this season, in my view, is that BB and his staffs have traditionally excelled at getting players to play collectively above the sum of their parts, to exceed expectations. Do Your Job in large measure has always been about teamwork, relying on the guy next to you and the guy next to him.

This year, on both lines, especially, but also in other areas, individual players and entire units have played well below expectations. DL, OL, RB, TE, ILB. It's very weird.
 

Ralphwiggum

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I thought the Pats 2nd string o-line looked better overall than their starters have looked for much of the previous 4 games. Not sure how much of that is attributable to the Texans and how much is attributable to the actual line play.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Trying to look at things without bias, this Pats teams strikes me as one of those teams that will beat bad teams, but doesn't have the talent to compete with good teams. Dallas is a good team, so I'm not expecting a win next week. Hope to be pleasantly surprised.
 

Jungleland

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I'd be cautiously optimistic against last year's Dallas team, but with their current level of commitment to running the ball, the Cowboys look like a really bad matchup for this defense. The Zeke/Pollard backfield should be able to do whatever they want, and Dallas is playing these last couple weeks like they're more than content to win games on the ground. I don't think a win is impossible, but on paper this should be the most difficult game of the first 5 given the Dallas advantage over Tampa in the secondary and at running back.
 

BigSoxFan

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I'd be cautiously optimistic against last year's Dallas team, but with their current level of commitment to running the ball, the Cowboys look like a really bad matchup for this defense. The Zeke/Pollard backfield should be able to do whatever they want, and Dallas is playing these last couple weeks like they're more than content to win games on the ground. I don't think a win is impossible, but on paper this should be the most difficult game of the first 5 given the Dallas advantage over Tampa in the secondary and at running back.
Yeah, I know people like to default to making fun of the Cowboys and Mike McCarthy but this year's team looks different to me. Their running game is incredibly tough with Zeke looking like his old form and Pollard now really emerging. Both guys can catch the ball out of the backfield and hurt you there as well. Their passing game hasn't been putting up huge numbers since the Tampa game given their focus on the running game but the talent is there. CeeDee and Cooper are pro bowl level talent. Gallup has been out so that's a mini break but Schultz has really emerged as a dependable middle-of-the-field option.

On defense, Trevon Diggs has been 2020 JCJ'ing out there. They're missing Lawrence but Parsons is emerging as a stud and the rest of the defense is doing a pretty solid job. If Pats play well, they should be able to score some points but I don't have much confidence in the D holding down this offense. Pats will need some turnover luck to win this one, IMO, probably +2 or so.
 

lexrageorge

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Trying to look at things without bias, this Pats teams strikes me as one of those teams that will beat bad teams, but doesn't have the talent to compete with good teams. Dallas is a good team, so I'm not expecting a win next week. Hope to be pleasantly surprised.
There will be one team that the Pats will surprise this season. Most such games will be like the one against Tampa: close but no cigar.
 

IdiotKicker

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I thought the Pats 2nd string o-line looked better overall than their starters have looked for much of the previous 4 games. Not sure how much of that is attributable to the Texans and how much is attributable to the actual line play.
I am hopeful this lights a fire under the ass of the starters and we get some more inspired performances from players with a higher overall talent level. Of course this also means they have to get off the COVID list and I know Brown is out at a minimum, but maybe there's something that can generate some improvement here.
 

Bongorific

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Dallas has beat two good teams (LAC, CAR) and crushed two bad teams (PHI, NYG). So the most likely outcome is Pats lose by 7+.

However, based on absolutely no evidence, this strikes me as a likely on-the-road-out-of-conference let down spot for Dallas. They’ve been home 3 weeks in a row and likely feel comfortable that they are the best team in their division. I’m optimistic that Pats squeak out a win.
 

ShaneTrot

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The Cowboys are averaging 34 points a game and are converting third downs at over a 50% clip. The Cowboys are a fantastic offensive team. I think the Pats are better than Philly and the Giants but can this Pats team compete in a shoot-out? Remains to be seen.
 

Big McCorkle

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If they can win this week, I'll look at them as a playoff team. It's a matter of whether or not the offense can keep up with Dallas's, which seems unlikely but not ridiculous. Also, there's no way in hell that Romo's not calling this one, so that should be fun. Interested to hear his takes on Jones.
 

BigSoxFan

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The Cowboys are averaging 34 points a game and are converting third downs at over a 50% clip. The Cowboys are a fantastic offensive team. I think the Pats are better than Philly and the Giants but can this Pats team compete in a shoot-out? Remains to be seen.
I don’t think the Pats can win any shoot outs. Our offense remains bad. This Cowboys team is one FG miss away from being 5-0 and the talk of the league. They are really good and now with Diggs and Parsons, they have some real playmakers on D.

What gives me some hope is that the Pats will be at home where the D generally plays well and the Cowboys have their bye the following week.

But the big problem for me in this one is that the Pats can be run on and Zeke/Pollard are a very good combo. No idea how the Pats keep those guys from killing them while also not letting CeeDee and Cooper go nuts.
 

Bowhemian

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Trying to look at things without bias, this Pats teams strikes me as one of those teams that will beat bad teams, but doesn't have the talent to compete with good teams. Dallas is a good team, so I'm not expecting a win next week. Hope to be pleasantly surprised.
Is Tampa not a good team? Because the Pats absolutely hung/competed with them last Sunday night.
 

mikeot

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Sage wisdom heard earlier today on a podcast: ain't gonna stop their offense, just hold them to field goals.

Oh, and don't fumble.
 

SMU_Sox

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Dallas has a good OL, good WRs, decent TEs especially at catching passes, and a great QB. This is going to be a test for the Pats secondary and they have to play better than they did vs HOU. If Mills is out they are in trouble. Defensively the Cowboys have been really good at getting turnovers. Some of that is luck and some of that is Diggs playing like a true shutdown guy. Avoid Diggs at all costs. I don’t like the matchup much for the Pats on paper. Their (Cowboys) defense isn’t great but they are probably somewhere around league average and that’s enough with their offense to be quite formidable.
 

TFisNEXT

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Sage wisdom heard earlier today on a podcast: ain't gonna stop their offense, just hold them to field goals.

Oh, and don't fumble.
As one of the resident Cowboys experts....Yes. The key will be keeping DAL to FGs in the red zone. They are going to make it into the red zone plenty of times, but stopping them a few times there plus a lucky turnover or two will be the way to beat them. This happened in the TB opener. Dallas moved the ball at will on TB but struggled a bit in the red zone and it cost them in a buzzer-beater loss. Also, I'd expect BB to try and exploit McCarthy's incompetence to detail. Probably something on special teams or a specific vulnerable formation.
 

RedOctober3829

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Interesting stats cited by Andrew Callahan today in the Herald. Dallas is 2nd worst against covering TEs in the league DVOA-wise. They allow a 149.1 passer rating off of play action passes to TEs and also allow 5 ypc against opponents' 12 personnel. If there were ever a time to use the 2 TEs a ton this is the week.
 

BusRaker

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If anyone else is wondering why we are playing Dallas during an NFC South year: (from CBS Sports)

"The formula for the new game is slightly complicated, but basically, it will go like this: The matchups are based on the cross-conference division that each team played two years ago. Each team will play one opponent from that division that finished in the same spot in the prior year's standings. "

I think this is the week that Josh "Let's Mac Cook". I also think we see one, maybe 2 Jacobi Meyers tosses. And hopefully some Dugger/Phillips run stuffs or it will be a long game
 

BaseballJones

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I'm struggling to find a way the Pats win this week. Dallas has an explosive offense (#2 in points scored, #2 in yards gained in the NFL) that can run or pass, and can pass at all levels to multiple targets. Their defense isn't great, but it isn't terrible either (#14 in points allowed). They are ranked #31 in pass yards allowed (311.0 per game), but they have 10 interceptions and are 7th in the league with an opponent passer rating of 85.0.

Somehow, the Pats are going to have to put up a lot of points in this game, I think. Either they're going to have to slow the game down and road grade Dallas' defense with Stevenson, or Mac Jones is going to have to have a phenomenal game.

Or...the Pats are going to have to make some huge special teams plays and/or get a bunch of turnovers.
 

SMU_Sox

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Cowboys play a lot of 12, 33% or so. They use Schultz and Jarwin all over the formation. They both line-up in-line 60%+ of the time but also line up in the slot and out wide. Dugger and Phillips are going to need to have good games. I think they will be tempted to go single high and base with Judon - Godchaux - Guy - Wise - KVN on the LOS, Uche and High as ILBs. Problem is I think given that both Jarwin and Schultz can catch they need both Dugger and Phillips in there. Big nickel type of game we saw vs the Saints might be in order.

Cowboys have a ton of success in 12 too. They run well in it and are also averaging something close to 9 yards per pass attempt. It’s about a 64/36 split run/pass out of it. If they have a weakness on offense right now it is RT and their third WR.
Kellen Moore is an exceptional OC and could be a HC candidate. I look at the Cowboys offense (minus they run more zone stuff) as what the Patriots offense could be but instead of Agholor/Meyers/Bourne they have Cooper/Gallup (when healthy)/Lamb. I think they stick JCJ to Cooper and in 2 WR looks put Mills on Lamb. If they go big nickel I’d hope Phillips gets Schultz and Dugger Jarwin. Another thing with their 12 is they can easily go empty with Pollard and unlike say Bolden he is a legitimate threat as a WR.

Pollard is another dangerous weapon. Zeke isn’t bad either catching passes. Pollard will line up in the slot - I imagine they will exploit the RB vs LB matchup with him too. LBs and Safeties are going to have their hands full this weekend. Like @RedOctober3829 mentioned in the defense thread this is a week where having a unicorn ILB who can cover would be so nice to have.
 
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TFisNEXT

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Dalton Schultz for DAL is turning into a legit threat. On pace for 88 catches and 10 TD. Previously, if you stopped their WRs, the passing game might sputter some, but that isn't the case any longer. Dak goes to him a lot on 3rd downs now when opposing defenses try and double cover Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb.

After Kellen Moore didn't even try to run against TB (which was absolutely the correct strategy), Dallas has absolutely bludgeoned opponents with the run game. They've gone 198, 160, 245, and 201 on the ground in those four games since the opener. I'm guessing BB is going to try to focus more on stopping the run and hope the defense can create a turnover or two in the pass game.
 

Nator

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Of all of the match-ups for this game that seemingly favor Dallas, Belichick vs. McCarthy is clearly in the Patriots favor. Let's hope it can be exploited at some point, because Dallas has the talent on both sides of the ball to make poor clock management decisions moot.