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In-Depth Prediction, Preview, and Odds

Cowboys vs. Patriots Prediction

Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 4:25pm EST
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough

This article covers a past game!

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In-depth Coverage

This is an in-depth analysis of this game, covering every possible detail and angle. Use the table of contents to navigate between each section, or just jump on in!

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Table of Contents

Last Updated: Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 11:34am EST

Introduction

A pair of division leaders take the field in an interconference matchup coming to you from the New England area. The Dallas Cowboys are on the road as they travel to face the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon. Dallas comes in off a 35-27 road win over Detroit in their previous contest last Sunday. New England knocked off Philadelphia 17-10 on the road in their previous contest last Sunday. The Cowboys lead the all-time regular season series 7-5 but the Patriots have taken the last five meetings, including a 30-6 road triumph in the most recent matchup on October 11, 2015.

Dallas Cowboys Review

Dallas comes into this contest holding the lead in the NFC East but they stand just 6-4 on the season. The Cowboys opened the year with a home win over the Giants (35-17) followed by a road win over Washington (31-21) and a home win over Miami (31-6) to get to 3-0 on the year. Dallas then followed that with three straight defeats as they were dropped by New Orleans (12-10) on the road, Green Bay (34-24) at home and to the Jets (24-22) on the road. The Cowboys rebounded to dump the Eagles (37-10) at home and the Giants (37-18) on the road to improve to 4-0 in divisional play before losing (28-24) at home to Minnesota.

Last week against Detroit, it was Dak Prescott’s arm doing the majority of the heavy lifting to help the Cowboys get the victory over the Lions. Dallas scored a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first half to erase a 14-10 deficit and turn it into a 24-14 lead at the half. The Cowboys didn’t trail the rest of the way though they did had to come up with plays to grind the clock as the Lions stayed within one score for most of the second half. Dallas piled up a 509-312 edge in total offense, rolled up a 26-19 edge in first downs and held a 30:54 to 29:06 margin in time of possession. That more than shook off the fact that the Cowboys committed the lone turnover of the game. Dak Prescott threw for 444 yards in the game.

New England Patriots Review

New England keeps rolling along with Tom Brady under center. The Patriots own a two-game lead in the AFC East and lead the Ravens by one game for the top seed in the AFC playoffs though Baltimore owns the tie-breaker. New England opened their season with a 33-3 home demolition of Pittsburgh and followed that up with one-sided wins over Miami (43-0) on the road and the Jets (30-14) at home. The Patriots then slugged their way to a tough win (16-10) at Buffalo before whipping Washington (33-7) on the road and the Giants (35-14) at home. New England then hammered the Jets on a Monday night (33-0) on the road and forced turnovers on three straight plays en route to a home win (27-13) over Cleveland. The Patriots suffered their first loss of the season with a road loss (37-20) to Baltimore leading into their game with the Eagles.

In the game against Philadelphia, New England was punched in the mouth early, going down 10-0 early in the second quarter. The Patriots regrouped, relying on their defense, which recorded five sacks, a fumble recovery and held the Eagles to three of 13 on third-down conversions. New England kicked three first-half field goals to get within 10-9 and scored the go-ahead touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. It wasn’t Tom Brady throwing the touchdown pass though: Julian Edelman hit Philip Dorsett II for the score. James White ran for the two-point conversion to make it 17-10 and the defense, with some help from the weather, made it stand up. New England held a 298-255 advantage in total offense and forced the game’s lone turnover to offset a 21-19 disadvantage in first downs and a 31:35 to 28:25 shortfall in the time of possession in the contest.

The Running Game

Dallas Cowboys Running Offense
vs. New England Patriots Running Defense

Dallas Cowboys Running Offense

Dallas has been up and down this season with the ground game. The season got off to a rough start as Ezekiel Elliott held out until the week before the season opener trying to hammer out a new contract. Dallas has gone over the 100-yard mark six times in their 10 games this season, including four games where they have run for at least 170 yards. The run game has sputtered a bit in the last month as the Cowboys have run for more than 100 yards twice: in their last two games, they were limited to 50 yards by Minnesota and 75 by Detroit.

Elliott leads the team with 194 carries for 833 yards and seven scores on the season. Rookie Tony Pollard contributes 51 carries for 238 yards plus a score while Dak Prescott chips in 33 carries for 193 yards and three touchdowns. Tavon Austin has four carries for 44 yards plus a score while Randall Cobb has three carries for 11 yards this season. The Cowboys have four run plays that have covered at least 20 yards this season: Austin, Elliott, Pollard and Prescott each have one. Dallas moved the chains 75 times via the ground this season.

New England Patriots Run Defense

The Patriots have been pretty solid at stopping the run this season. New England has allowed just four opponents to run for at least 100 yards in their 10 games this season. That includes a game against the Redskins where nearly half (65 of 145) of the yards came on an end-around against Washington. In the last month, the Patriots have given up a pair of 100-yard games, including a season-worst 210 yards against the Ravens in week nine. Last week against the Eagles, New England gave up 21 carries for 81 yards on the ground.

Jamie Collins Sr. leads the team with 48 tackles (38 solo) along with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery this season from his linebacker position. Jason McCourty (40 tackles), Danny Shelton (38 tackles, forced fumble), Jonathan Jones (37 tackles, two forced fumbles) and Dont’a Hightower (41 tackles, fumble recovery, TD) are among the top tacklers on the team so far this season. Collins leads the team with 10.5 tackles for loss while Adam Butler (16 tackles) adds 7.5 and Hightower contributes seven. As a squad, the Patriots have rolled up 56 tackles for loss and forced 11 fumbles while recovering nine, including two fumble returns for scores, this season.

Stats

DAL

  • 11th in run play percentage (42.99 percent)
  • 7th in rushing attempts per game (28.5)
  • 7th in rushing yards per game (131.9)
  • 7th in yards per carry (4.6)
  • 8th in rushing TD (12)
  • 20th in longest rush (42 yards)

NE

  • 5th in percentage of run plays against (36.02 percent)
  • 2nd in run plays per game against (21)
  • 4th in rushing yards allowed per game (78)
  • 24th in opposing yards per carry (4.6)
  • Tied for 2nd in rushing TD allowed (five)
  • Tied for 21st in longest rush allowed (65 yards)

Who has the Edge?

Dallas has to be aggressive on the ground against the Patriots here in order to try and make Belichick change his plan of attack. The lone team that has had success really hammering the ball on the ground and changing the game was the Ravens. That is the game plan to beat New England: pound the ball, use a mobile quarterback and keep the Patriots off-balance. Elliott is a bell cow back but we have to see proof that the team will commit to giving him the rock 25 to 30 times. Call it a wash here as the Patriots can make life miserable for the best of teams.

Advantage: Push

New England Patriots Running Offense
vs. Dallas Cowboys Running Defense

New England Patriots Running Offense

New England has been the epitome of the three yards and a cloud of dust sort of run game that was prevalent in the 1970s. The Patriots aren't gashing teams for big plays on the ground but they are patient and determined. New England has averaged 3.5 yards per carry or less in eight of their 10 games this season. The Patriots have run for more than 100 yards just three times this season in their 10 games. In the last month, New England has been remarkably consistent, running for between 74 and 79 yards in each of their four games.

Sony Michel has been the lead back for the Patriots this season but yards have been hard to come by so far. He has 154 carries for 515 yards and six touchdowns on the year. Rex Burkhead has carried the ball 36 times for 148 yards plus a score while James White is next in line with 37 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown this season. As a team, the Patriots have only three run plays that have covered at least 20 yards on the year. Michel has two of them while Brandon Bolden (13 carries, 47 yards, two TD) has the other. New England has racked up 61 first downs via the ground game.

Dallas Cowboys Run Defense

Dallas has had their problems stopping the run this season. The Cowboys have allowed at least 100 yards on the ground in seven of their 10 games this season. That includes six of the last seven contests and each of the last four games. Dallas has let the opposition gain at least 4.1 yards per carry in seven of their 10 games. In the last month, the Cowboys have given up at least 100 yards in each of their four games. That includes giving up 28 carries for 121 yards plus two scores against the run-challenged Lions last week.

Jaylon Smith leads the team with 90 tackles (56 solo) and two forced fumbles on the season. Leighton Vander Esch (72 tackles, forced fumble), Xavier Woods (54 tackles, two forced fumbles), Jeff Heath (43 tackles) and Chidobe Awuzie (49 tackles, fumble recovery) are in the mix for the team's leading tacklers. DeMarcus Lawrence (30 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries) leads the team with 10 tackles for loss while Robert Quinn (19 tackles) adds 9.5 on the season. All told, the Cowboys have 51 tackles for loss, 10 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries, including a fumble return for a score, this season.

Stats

NE

  • 18th in run play percentage (39.29 percent)
  • 11th in rushing attempts per game (27.5)
  • 24th in rushing yards per game (91)
  • 30th in yards per carry (3.3)
  • Tied for 4th in rushing TD (13)
  • Tied for 29th in longest rush (26 yards)

DAL

  • 15th in percentage of run plays against (39.94 percent)
  • 12th in run plays per game against (24.8)
  • 14th in rushing yards allowed per game (105.2)
  • 15th in opposing yards per carry (4.2)
  • Tied for 20th in rushing TD allowed (10)
  • Tied for 15th in longest rush allowed (59 yards)

Who has the Edge?

This one is going to be tough because the Patriots are your classic 1970s team when it comes to the run. They keep pounding you with the ball to wear your defense down but they don't hit the big plays. It's a methodical process that is going to test the Dallas front seven. The Cowboys have been up and down against the run this season. Dallas is going to have to try to stop the run early: you have to give the slim edge to New England in this one as Michel is due to break out sooner or later.

Advantage: New England Patriots

The Passing Game

Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense
vs. New England Patriots Passing Defense

Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense

Dallas has been extremely effective moving the ball through the air and with each passing game, Dak Prescott sees the value of his next contract going up. The Cowboys have a slew of dangerous options in the passing game that makes them tough to defend. Dallas has thrown for at least 300 yards four times this season with two 400-yard contests on the books. The Cowboys have gone over 300 yards in each of the last two games, registering 397 yards against Minnesota and 444 yards against Detroit.

Prescott has completed 247 of 365 passes for 3,221 yards with 21 touchdown passes against nine interceptions. He has been sacked only 12 times on the year, losing 94 yards in the process. Amari Cooper is the team's leading receiver with 56 receptions for 886 yards and seven scores. Michael Gallup has 42 receptions for 678 yards plus three scores while Randall Cobb (35 grabs, 495 yards, three TD), tight end Jason Witten (41 catches, 371 yards, two TD) and Elliott (28 catches, 220 yards, TD) are valuable options. Gallup missed two games after knee surgery but returned to action against Green Bay in week 5. The Cowboys have 47 pass plays covering at least 20 yards this season: Cooper leads the team with 14 such plays while Gallup and Cobb each have 10.

New England Patriots Passing Defense

New England has been excellent at making life difficult for opposing quarterbacks this season. The Patriots didn’t allow a touchdown pass until week six against the Giants and haven’t allowed more than one scoring pass in a game this year. New England has held seven opponents under 200 yards through the air and haven’t given up more than 280 yards in a game this season. The Patriots had held five straight opponents under 200 yards through the air before Philadelphia finished with 214 yards last week.

Collins leads the team with six sacks on the season. Kyle Van Noy (32 tackles, six tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, TD) and Butler each have 5.5 sacks on the year. Stephon Gilmore (29 tackles) leads the team with 11 pass defenses while Devin McCourty (32 tackles, half-tackle for loss, fumble recovery) has seven and Jason McCourty contributes six.  Devin McCourty paces the team with five interceptions while Gilmore (TD) and Collins (TD) each have three. J.C. Jackson (13 tackles, four pass defenses) and Duron Harmon (14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, four pass defenses) each have two picks while Terrence Brooks (17 tackles, three pass defenses), John Simon (26 tackles, three sacks, four pass defenses, forced fumble), Jason McCourty and Lawrence Guy (32 tackles, sack, three tackles for loss, pass defense, two fumble recoveries) each have one. As a team, New England has 37 sacks, 63 pass defenses and 19 interceptions with two of those being returned for scores.

Stats

DAL

  • 22nd in pass play percentage (57.01 percent)
  • 8th in completion percentage (67.5)
  • 1st in passing yards per game (312.7)
  • Tied for 4th in TD passes (21)
  • 19th in INT thrown (nine)
  • 1st in net yards per pass attempt (8.5)
  • 19th in longest pass play (62 yards)
  • 6th in passer rating (103.9)

NE

  • 28th in pass play percentage against (63.98 percent)
  • 2nd in net passing yards per game allowed (152.6)
  • 1st in completion percentage allowed (54.2)
  • 1st in TD passes allowed (four)
  • 1st in INT (19)
  • 3rd in sacks (37)
  • 1st in passer rating allowed (49.2)
  • 1st in net yards per pass attempt (4.5)

Who has the Edge?

This is going to be an interesting clash for sure. Dallas has been excellent moving the ball through the air this season with Prescott recording a pair of 400-yard games this season. Cobb, Cooper, Gallup and Witten provide a quartet of targets that can deliver a big play on any snap. Dallas' offensive line is easily one of the best in the league but they have to face the ultimate defensive mind in Belichick. He'll generate pressure from anywhere and the Patriots' secondary is leading the league in picks: this one is pretty even when you get right down to it.

Advantage: Push

New England Patriots Passing Offense
vs. Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense

New England Patriots Passing Offense

New England may not be the same weapons in their arsenal in the passing game as in years past but they still have plenty of weapons to work with in that department. The Patriots have a talented receiver group featuring Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu Sr. and Phillip Dorsett that makes them that much more dangerous. Throw in Burkhead and White as pass catching backs and there are a ton of guys to try and cover. The Patriots have four 300-yard games on the season though none have come in the last four weeks. New England comes in off a 231-yard performance in the windy conditions against the Eagle last week.

Tom Brady has completed 256 of 402 passes for 2,752 yards with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. He's been sacked 16 times for a loss of 117 yards. Jarrett Stidham is two of four for 14 yards with an interception while Edelman, who played quarterback in college, hit both his pass attempts for 47 yards and a score: he also leads the team with 68 catches for 716 yards plus four scores. White (48 receptions, 420 yards, TD), Dorsett (26 catches, 332 yards, five TD), Burkhead (18 grabs, 176 yards) and Mohamed Sanu Sr. (14 catches, 108 yards, TD) are all dangerous options in the passing game. New England has reeled in 41 passes of at least 20 yards this season: Edelman, White and the now-departed Josh Gordon (20 receptions, 267 yards, TD) each have six.

Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense

Dallas has done a solid job against the pass for the most part this season. The Cowboys have given up only two 300-yard games through the air this season. Dallas allowed 323 yards in the opener against the Giants and then allowed 338 yards to the Jets in week six. In the last month, the Cowboys have held each of their opponents to 220 yards or less through the air. Dallas has picked up at least one sack in each of their games this season with five games with at least three sacks on the season.

Quinn leads the team with 8.5 sacks on the season while Lawrence is next in line with 4.5 sacks. Michael Bennett (eight tackles in three games since being acquired from New England) and Maliek Collins (15 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, fumble recovery) each have three sacks on the year. Awuzie leads the team with nine pass defenses while Anthony Brown (17 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss) has five while Heath and Byron Jones (29 tackles, forced fumble) both have four. Woods leads the team with two interceptions while Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis (21 tackles, sack, tackle for loss, forced fumble, fumble recovery) each have one. The Cowboys have recorded 26 sacks, 42 pass defenses and four interceptions so far on the season.

Stats

NE

  • 15th in pass play percentage (60.71 percent)
  • 17th in completion percentage (63.7)
  • 7th in net passing yards per game (268.9)
  • Tied for 18th in TD passes (15)
  • Tied for 10th in INT thrown (six)
  • 12th in net yards per pass attempt (7.3)
  • 20th in longest pass play (59 yards)
  • 16th in passer rating (90)

DAL

  • 18th in pass play percentage against (60.06 percent)
  • 7th in passing yards per game allowed (216.9)
  • 22nd in completion percentage allowed (65.4)
  • Tied for 7th in TD passes allowed (11)
  • Tied for 30th in INT (four)
  • Tied for 14th in sacks (26)
  • 17th in passer rating allowed (90.8)
  • 4th in net yards per pass attempt (6.3)

Who has the Edge?

Dallas doesn't make a ton of big plays in the secondary, which has to be a cause for concern. The Cowboys are going to have to be more aggressive getting after Brady because if they give him too much time, he'll pick apart a defense. Brady is coming off a rough game last week but the wind wreaked havoc on balls downfield. Playing at home, he's more familiar with the elements: without a heavy pass rush or guys picking off passes, he'll take the short passes all day. Give the Patriots the advantage here.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Intangibles

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas is fourth in the league in scoring offense as they put up 28.6 points per game on the season. The Cowboys are first in the league in total offense with 444.6 yards per game and stand first in yards per play with 6.7 yards per snap. Dallas is seventh in the league in scoring defense as they give up an average of 19.7 points per contest. The Cowboys are 7th in total defense as they allow 322.1 yards per game and stand 9th as they give up 5.2 yards per play. Dallas is tied for 18th in the takeaway/giveaway department as they are a -1 on the season.

The Cowboys are 17th in red-zone success as they have cashed in 58.33 percent of their drives that got inside the opposition's 20-yard line into touchdowns. Dallas is 9th in red-zone defense as they held opposing teams to a 48.65 percent success rate as far as scoring touchdowns go. Dallas is 1st in the league in third-down conversions as they have converted 52.07 percent of their situations this season. The Cowboys are solid in getting off the field as opposing teams have converted 32.52 percent of their third downs, which is third in the league. Dallas is 20th in the league in time of possession as they hold the ball 48.96 percent of the time.

Brett Maher hit all 32 extra-point attempts and is 16 of 22 on field goals with a long of 63 this season. Chris Jones has punted 29 times with an average of 42.1 yards per punt: he has a net average of 37.2 yards per kick this season. Jones has placed 14 punts inside the 20 with one touchback on the year. Pollard has averaged 18.3 yards per return on eight kickoff returns with a long of 28. Randall Cobb has averaged 5.5 yards on his two kickoff returns this year and eight yards on his three punt returns. Cedrick Wilson has averaged 6.5 yards on his two punt returns. Tavon Austin averages 4.8 yards on 12 punt returns with a long of 15.

New England Patriots

The Patriots are very good on the offensive side of the ball this season as they are 3rd in the league with 28.7 points per contest. New England is 16th in total offense as they average 359.9 yards per contest while ranking 24th in yards per play as they pick up 5.1 yards per snap. The Patriots are solid defensively, ranking 1st in the league in scoring defense by allowing a paltry 10.8 points per contest. New England is 1st in the league in total defense by allowing 249.9 yards per game and 1st in yards per play by allowing only 4.3 yards per snap. In giveaway/takeaway, the Patriots are 1st with a +18 ratio this season.

The Patriots have sputtered a bit in the red zone so far as they are 25th in the league in scoring touchdowns in the red zone as they convert only 48.84 percent of their chances. Defensively, New England has been sharp as they are third in red-zone defense by allowing only 46.15 percent of drives to reach the red zone to end in touchdowns. The Patriots are in the middle of the pack in third down conversions, ranking 17th by converting 38.78 percent of their third down situations on the year. New England’s defense is currently 1st in those situations as they held the opposition to a meager 19.33 percent success rate on their third downs. The Patriots are 4th in the league in time of possession by holding the ball 54.2 percent of the time this season.

Stephen Gostkowski was 11 of 15 on extra points and seven of eight on field goal tries this season with a long of 41 this season. He was placed on injured reserve prior to the week 5 game against Washington and underwent hip surgery that knocked him out for the year. The team signed Mike Nugent to take over the kicking duties: he was 15 of 16 on extra points and five of eight on field goals with a long of 37. Nick Folk is the current kicker: he’s two of two on extra points and five of five on field goals with a long of 39. Jake Bailey has averaged 45 yards on 56 punts with a 42.6-yard net average. He has dropped 27 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line with two touchbacks. Brandon Bolden averages 22.4 yards on 12 kickoff returns while Gunner Olszewski averages 8.9 yards on 20 punt returns with a long of 22 this season. J.C. Jackson blocked a punt against Buffalo while Bolden blocked a punt against the Giants.

Who has the Edge?

The Patriots have been lights out on the defensive side of the ball and their success on third down is going to be tested here. Dallas leads the league in extending drives on third down this season. New England is a solid offensive team and they are going to push against a Dallas defense that has had issues at times this season. The Cowboys have the edge in the kicking game but the Patriots can flip the field in a hurry by blocking a kick. Belichick gives New England the edge over pretty much any other coach in the league right now. His ability to game plan and change things up on the fly gives the Patriots the advantage here.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Final Outlook

New England rebounded after their loss to Baltimore as they knocked off the Eagles on the road last week. The Patriots blanked the Eagles over the final 42-plus minutes en route to the win. Dallas is 6-4 and got a win last week over the Lions but it wasn't easy by any stretch. The Cowboys are 3-2 on the road this season but they've beaten the Redskins, Giants, and Lions in those games. Dallas has struggled against teams that have winning records, losing to Green Bay, Minnesota and the Saints: their lone win against a winning team was against the Eagles, who are 5-5.

According to Covers.com, the Patriots are 22-5 ATS in their last 27 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game, 7-2 ATS in their last nine games in week 12 and 6-2 ATS in their last eight in November. Dallas has gone 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 12 and 0-6 ATS in their last six against teams with a winning record. Given the way the Cowboys have struggled against good teams this season, this one ends up going to the Patriots.

Prediction: New England Patriots -6.5

Second Opinion on this pick from StatSalt.com

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New England has been solid this season on both sides of the ball. The Patriots have put up at least 30 points in six of their contests and have a seventh game with 27. On the other side of the field, Dallas has six games with at least 31 points and has scored at least 22 points in nine of their 10 games. The Cowboys are going to have to contend with a stingy New England defense that leads the league in most defensive categories. Will Dallas be able to get their offense going against the Patriots' defense?

The under is 6-1 in the Cowboys' last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. New England has seen the under go 9-1 in their last 10 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game, 6-1 in their last 7 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game and 4-1 in their last five in November. The teams have seen the under go 5-1 in the last six meetings: look for this one to fall short as the Patriots put up in the 24 to 27 point range in the win.

Prediction: Under 45
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.