In week three, the Patriots had to sweat out a close victory against the division-rival New York Jets. Now they head to the juggernaut Dallas Cowboys who just lost one of their best players on defense. Can the Patriots keep the game close or even take an upset to get to .500? Let’s preview the matchup.
The Patriots have a significantly shorter injury report this week, with only five players making the list. All were limited participants in Wednesday’s practice with the most notable one being guard Cole Strange with a knee injury for the fourth consecutive week. Both defensive tackles Christian Barmore and Davon Godchaux are on the injury report with a knee and ankle injury respectively.
The Dallas Cowboys are facing some intense injury problems themselves. They have three of their starting offensive linemen on the injury report, with center Tyler Biadasz and guard Zach Martin missing practice on Wednesday and being limited participants on Thursday with a hamstring and ankle injury respectively. Tackle Tyron Smith did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday as he deals with a knee injury. The largest impact is losing Trevon Diggs for the season to an ACL injury that occurred in practice. Although the Patriots don’t have any real threats at wide receiver, this injury still stings immensely for Dallas..
Micah Parsons against the Patriots’ offensive tackles is the key matchup to watch this week. The greater matchup is how New England’s offensive line deals with an impressive Dallas front that has DeMarcus Lawrence playing great and two solid interior pieces in Osa Odighizuqa and Chauncey Golston. New England has been battling health on their offensive line, but have Trent Brown who’s played very well this season at left tackle and David Andrews who continues to be a strong piece at center. Dallas will likely move Parsons around and have him go against Vederian Lowe or Calvin Anderson, whoever starts at right tackle for New England.
The pressure falls on New England to slow down the Dallas rushing attack which ranks eighth in the league. Driven by a strong offensive line and running back Tony Pollard, Dallas has largely been able to rely on the ground game to solidify wins. Even without multiple starters against Arizona, Dallas put up 185 yards on the ground. Their defense got absolutely gutted allowing 222 rushing yards, but I don’t see that being an issue with how many injuries the Patriots are dealing with on their offensive line.
Prediction: 27-24 Dallas Cowboys
I see the Patriots keeping it close, but ultimately losing the line battle on both sides of the ball will lead to their downfall. Dallas can run the ball incredibly well, and have the weapons to go through the air as well even if Dak has not been as good as desired. New England also is not explosive enough as a passing game to threaten the Dallas secondary even without Trevon Diggs.
2023 Prediction Record: 3-0