Dallas Cowboys vs New England Week 6: Know thy enemy

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /

123. 2-3. 47. 4-1. CBS. Sunday, Oct 17. Cowboys -3.0. 4:25 PM ET

Welcome to Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season. Your Dallas Cowboys are winners are four straight games for the first time since November of 2018. After a thrilling last-second win over the now 4-1 Los Angeles Chargers, the Cowboys have dominated their last three opponents. Dallas has scored 40+ points in two of the last three weeks, 121 in total, and has won their last three by an average of over 17 points per game.

This week, the Cowboys travel East to face the New England Patriots. For almost the entire century, New England has been the standard-bearer of the NFL. After posting double-digit victories every season from 2003-2019, last year was the first that the Patriots dynasty started to crumble. This season, the struggle seems to be continuing.

Can the Cowboys keep their impressive winning streak going against a team on the ropes? Let’s get to know thy enemy a little better as we break down the matchup between Dallas and New England.

The Dallas Cowboys have lost their last six games against the New England Patriots

Sitting at 2-3, with wins over the lowly New York Jets and Houston Texans, New England is going in the opposite direction of the Cowboys. The Patriots are actually winless at home which is wild considering how imposing they have been at Gillette Stadium over the last 20 years.

The main reason for the Patriots’ newfound lack of success has been their offense. Currently, New England is 25th in total yards, 26th in scoring offense, and 27th in rushing offense. Worse yet, they have not faced a team with a dominant defense so far in 2021. Their toughest test to date, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are allowing 24 points per game, good enough for the 18th best in the league.

New England’s biggest problems offensively come from injuries to their offensive line and a lack of talent at the skill positions. It is quite possible that the Patriots will be missing three offensive linemen for this game (Shaq Mason, Justin Herron, and LT Isaiah Wynn). Without consistency along the line, an offense will always struggle to get any sort of rhythm.

This goes a long way towards explaining why their leading rusher (Damien Harris) is sitting at 28th in the league in rushing yards. Even worse, their leading receiver (Jakobi Meyers) is currently 36th in receiving yards. The two of them have combined for just two touchdowns all season.

New England still has the greatest coach in NFL history in Bill Belichick, however. Always known for his defensive mind, the Patriots are still formidable on that side of the ball which is the only thing really keeping them together.

The Patriots have the fifth-best scoring defense and have allowed the fifth least amount of yards in 2021. This is due, in large part, to their top four rated pass defense. That ranking, however, may be fools gold. Aside from Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, the rest of their opponents are not exactly a who’s who of juggernaut signal-callers.

Ultimately, the Cowboys are facing more of an issue with history and legacy than anything else. Dallas has not beaten the Patriots since 1996, losing six straight to this team. That demon, along with legendary head coach patrolling the enemy sideline is all New England really has to stop such a talented team.

When predicting the season, game-by-game, prior to the start of the year, I thought Dallas would finally get over the hump against the Patriots and win 24-20. After seeing six games, I would be shocked if the Cowboys lost this game but I think I would want to augment the score.

Quarterback Dak Prescott is a beast against the blitz. As an example, Tampa Bay sent the blitz on 37% of his dropbacks and all Dak did was go 13 for 22 for 188 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Even if the Patriots somehow muster a better blitz package, I don’t see a way they slow down Prescott enough to limit Dallas offensively.

light. Hot. The true power of Cowboys' high-octane offense

The Cowboys also can lean on their dual-threat rushing attack of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard if things bog down in the passing game. Because of this, I believe that the Cowboys will extend their winning streak to five-game, walking out of Foxborough with a 27-13 victory.