By Ian S Palmer
The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots pay a visit to Texas this Sunday, October 11 to face the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Patriots had week four off with a bye, but are 3-0 on the season and sit in first place in the AFC East. The Cowboys are sitting on top of the NFC East with a 2-2 record, but are sharing the spot with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins. New England quarterback Tom Brady has been in fine form while the Cowboys lost their quarterback Tony Romo a few weeks ago. Dallas has been hit by the injury bug early in the 2015 campaign and have lost two in a row after winning their opening pair of contests.
Patriots vs Cowboys – bet365 BETTING LINE:
- bet365 currently lists New England -8 at 10/11 with Dallas +8 at 10/11 and the over/under at 49.5 points at 10/11
The Patriots last outing was a 51-17 home destruction of the Jacksonville Jaguars two weeks ago and some fans may feel last week’s bye may have slowed their momentum. Brady has been hot with a 72 per cent pass-completion rate with nine touchdown passes and a total of 1,112 yards in the air. His favorite targets have been wideout Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Edelman has a pair of touchdowns to his name along with 279 yards while Gronkowski leads the club with four touchdowns and 308 yards.
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The Patriots’ running game is also off to a good start as running back Dion Lewis did a good job of replacing the suspended LeGarrette Blount in the opening two outings. Lewis ran in two touchdowns and gained 146 yards. When Blount returned, he scored three touchdowns in two games and ran the ball 20 times for 82 yards. New England’s offense should be able to deal with the Cowboys’ defense since it’s been mediocre so far by conceding an average of 347.8 yards per game. But ironically, the Patriots’ defense has been allowing 368.7 total yards per contest.
The Patriots will be facing a Cowboys side that won’t have Romo and Dez Bryant in the lineup though. In addition, Dallas running back Lance Dunbar is questionable for this game due to an injury suffered against New Orleans last Sunday. New England has gone 3-1 against the spread in their last four road trips and are 4-0 straight up in that stretch.
As mentioned, the Cowboys offense is hurting without Romo and Bryant. The starting quarterback job has been given to Brandon Weeden and he’s lost both his outings against Atlanta and New Orleans. The Cowboys were beaten 26-20 in overtime by the Saints last week and that was the 10th straight defeat for Dallas’ backup quarterback. The 10-game losing streak means Weeden and Blaine Gabbert have the current longest losing strings for active quarterbacks. Weeden shouldn’t be counted out yet though as he played well against the Saints. Also, New England is allowing 251.7 yards against in the air on average each week and this could be the opening Weedon has been looking for.
However, the Cowboys don’t really have a powerful running game to fall back on. Running back Lance Dunbar gained 54 yards last week on just two runs, but then injured his knee. If it’s as bad as Dallas believes it is, then Dunbar will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. The Dallas defense played well against the Saints and the pass rush recorded three sacks against Drew Brees after racking up just three sacks in their opening three games. Dallas has gone 3-7 against the spread in their past 10 home games. The team badly misses Romo and Bryant and while they should hang in there against New England, it’s going to be a bit too tough to earn a win.