The New England Patriots were able to snap their two-game losing streak in Week 5, celebrating a come-from-behind road win versus the Houston Texans. But while the Patriots are therefore headed in the right direction again, they will need to significantly and quickly improve in order to get back .500 this Sunday.
After all, one of their toughest challenges of the season awaits: the 4-1 Dallas Cowboys, current leaders of the NFC East and owners of their conference’s second playoff seed.
A well-balanced team on both sides of the ball, the Cowboys have won their last four games and traveling to New England as the betting favorites. Despite playing on the road, DraftKings Sportsbook has them listed as 3.5-point favorites as of Thursday morning.
The bookmakers are not the only ones to think that Dallas will come away victoriously, though. Participants of SB Nation’s latest Reacts survey also believe that the Cowboys will beat the Patriots, with 78 percent picking Dak Prescott and company to emerge victoriously.
It is not hard to see why. While Dallas is ranked among the best statistical teams in football on offense and defense, and is carrying plenty of momentum into the game, the Patriots have been inconsistent. Last week’s game versus the Texans was a perfect representation of that: the defense gave up numerous big plays in the first half before settling down in the second; the offense again failed to finish drives but did just enough to win.
The pressure is therefore on New England to finally play a full 60 minutes in all three phases. If that happens, the Patriots do stand a chance to register their first home win of the year.
While a majority of fans and analysts do not foresee this outcome, Patriots fans themselves are slightly more optimistic. According to the new Reacts numbers, 62 percent project their team to beat the Cowboys and improve to 3-3 on the season.
It remains to be seen whether or not that will happen, but one thing is certain: New England cannot play as sloppy a game as it did on Sunday, because Dallas will not allow the team back into the game like Houston did.
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