After beating up on the two New York teams to start the season, the Cowboys stumbled last weekend on the road against a lowly Cardinals team. With their first loss in the books, the Cowboys will look to regroup as they return home to host the New England Patriots. We’ll preview the game between the two marquee franchises before going over my play on the total.
With two straight losses to open the year, the Patriots needed a get-right game, and they certainly got one last weekend against a Jets franchise they have owned for years. New England came away with a 15-10 win in rainy conditions and held the Jets to just 171 yards of offense, but the game remained close to the end due to their offense's inability to complete drives down the stretch.
New England finished the game with 358 yards of total offense but a (-2.13) EPA on that side of the ball. Ezekiel Elliot had his biggest game as a Patriot, rushing for 80 yards on 16 attempts, while Mac Jones threw for 201 yards and a touchdown. While those numbers aren’t terrible by any stretch, Jones led just one scoring drive in the second half, resulting in a long field goal.
After that win, New England will still enter this week ranked as the number 26 scoring offense in the league with an average of 17.6 points per game. The Patriots won’t have to worry about bad conditions this weekend playing in Dallas, and they will also get the chance to play a Cowboys defense that showed flaws for the first time all season by allowing 28 points and 400 yards to the Cardinals in their 28-16 loss.
Dallas finished that loss with a (-18.46) EPA on defense, and they got in their own way a lot in the loss, racking up 13 penalties. Quarterback Dak Prescott just could not lead his team into the endzone in the second half, as they would settle for two field goals, and when in the red zone with three minutes left, he would throw a game-sealing interception. The Cowboys are still 11th in the league in yards per game.
The total for this game is currently set at 43.5, and I’ll be taking the over for my play. The over is 17-10 in the Cowboys' last 17 home games and 15-7 in their last 22 games when listed as home favorites. On the flip side, the over is 9-6 in the Patriots' last 14 games as road underdogs, and they are getting a Cowboys defense that is coming off their worst performance of the year.
Dallas has only seen an average of 26 pass attempts per game on defense, but New England ranks 4th in passes per game, so they will be truly challenged through the air for the first time since losing Trevon Diggs for the season. The Cowboys had a (-10.26) EPA on pass plays last weekend, and in better conditions, I think Mac Jones can lead some scoring drives that result in touchdowns this weekend.
Defensively, the Patriots are dealing with a lot of injuries to their secondary, and according to Covers, they have allowed four touchdowns in their last six red zone stands. Dak Prescott enters this matchup 6th in expected completion percentage, and you know he’ll be looking to be more efficient on his opponent’s side of the field. With multiple weapons to throw, I think Dallas is in a good spot to bounce back offensively this weekend.