BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are in the meat of their toughest part of the schedule, and Sunday’s game against Dallas could be their most difficult game of the bunch.
The Cowboys are 6-4 on the year, winners of three of their last four, and are sitting a game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. They have a great offense around quarterback Dak Prescott and running Ezekiel Elliot, with a stout defense that ranks seventh in the NFL in both points (19.7) and yards allowed (322.1) per game. They’re a pretty good team, despite one of those four losses coming at the hands of the New York Jets.
The Patriots offense really wants to get into the flow of things with Thanksgiving just around the corner, but chances are that won’t happen this week. Can the defense carry New England to another victory? Here is how the WBZ-TV and CBS Boston sports teams see Sunday’s clash at Gillette playing out, and not everyone is picking the Pats on Sunday:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
The Patriots are 6.5-point favorites over the Cowboys. Everyone knows the Patriots offense needs to start clicking, but help is on the way. They will get Isaiah Wynn back to beef up their offensive line and open some holes, not to mention protect Tom Brady’s blind side. He’s 6-foot-2 and 311 pounds, so let’s see if the run game gets going with Wynn back in the lineup.
The Dallas Cowboys are loaded on offense, but the Patriots defense is just as loaded — if not more.
Patriots 21, Cowboys 17
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
This is a great matchup, especially the Cowboys top-ranked offense going up against the Pats top-ranked defense. Dak Prescott is just the sixth quarterback in NFL history to have four or more games of at least 375 yards passing and two-or-more touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady has three games this season with no touchdowns passes — his most since 2009. And now, wide receivers Phillip Dorsett, Mohamed Sanu and Julian Edelman are banged up. Despite those numbers, I’ll take the Pats finding a way to win because they’re at home.
Patriots 24, Cowboys 21
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
So this game against the Dallas Cowboys will be the New England’s toughest test of the season.
The Cowboys are strong on offense and stingy on defense and if you listen to the coach, he feels Dak Prescott is the next superstar in this league.
If this were a road game for New England, I would pick Dallas. But they are playing here at Gillette, where the Patriots will keep the score low, mainly because you have to.
Expect James White and N’Keal Harry to have solid offensive games. Also, I can see the Pats defense causing a couple of turnovers and stifling the Dallas offense.
The Patriots beat the Cowboys 20-14 and win the battle of America’s team.
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
I’m doing it. I’m calling for the upset.
I’ll admit that picking Jason Garrett on the road against Bill Belichick terrifies me. It could come back to haunt me. Understood.
But the Patriots are not exactly humming on offense right now, and the Cowboys might be the most balanced team on the Patriots’ schedule.
We all looked at this tough stretch of the Patriots’ schedule and figured they’d drop two games. I think this will be No. 2.
Cowboys 16, Patriots 13
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
The Patriots are bound to lose another game or two this season, and this could very easily be a game they drop. Dallas has the offensive tools to get the best of New England’s defense, and a strong enough defense to keep the Patriots offense frustrated. Mix in some rainy conditions, and Ezekiel Elliot may pound his way to 300 rushing yards on Sunday.
But then you look at the mismatch at head coach, and that’s just too big to overlook in this one. If the Patriots can keep the Cowboys somewhere in the low-20s, they’ll win. If Dak Prescott and company light up the scoreboard, the Pats will lose their second game of the season.
Patriots 23, Cowboys 20