The New England Patriots are amid the toughest stretch of their schedule, as they prepare to take on the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys in Week 12.
The Cowboys enter Week 12 with a 6-4 record, while the Patriots stand atop the AFC at 9-1. While both teams have playoff aspirations, a close game on Sunday should be expected. The Patriots will enter Gillette Stadium on Sunday as 6.5-point favorites.
Here's what the PatriotMaven staff predicts will happen during the Sunday afternoon bout between the reigning Super Bowl champions and America's team.
As a person who grew up in a household with a father and brother who were both Dallas Cowboys fans, I've seen too many times how disappointing America's team can be during a meaningful game. So when the Patriots take on the Cowboys this Sunday, I will expect nothing short of disappointment from Dallas. While they will put points on the board and keep the game competitive, the Cowboys will one way or another find a way to lose the game and prove that they can't hang with the best teams in the NFL. Bill Belichick will outsmart Jason Garrett in Week 12, which will lead to many analysts asking the question next week, "Have we been overrating the Dallas Cowboys?" New England will improve to 10-1 Sunday afternoon by defeating the Cowboys.
Patriots 24, Cowboys 17
The Patriots return to Gillette for the first time in nearly a month. After looking rather sloppy in last week's win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the offense will look to put together better drives on offense this Sunday. The problem is the wide receiving core is as banged up as could be, and with an already frustrated Tom Brady, someone will need to step up. The Patriots lost their first real test vs. the Baltimore Ravens, let's see how they do against a strong opponent at home. Dallas will cover, but New England kicks a field goal late.
Patriots 24, Cowboys 23
The Patriots are getting back their starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn. This should prevent Brady from running for his life and will open up lanes in the run game. With injuries to Sanu and Dorsett, expect the Patriots to pound the rock against a Cowboys team without starting linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and a banged up DeMarcus Lawerence. In other words, if you have James White or Sony Michel on your fantasy team, start them in hopes of a big day.
Patriots 27, Cowboys 23
Brady and the offense will put on a better show than last week in Philadelphia. Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Michael Gallup are the best wide receiver trio the New England secondary has faced all season. The last two times the Cowboys have come to New England, which was in 2003 and 2011, Belichick had the Patriots wear their white jerseys at home and forced Dallas to wear their blue. Just a little Belichick mind game.
Patriots 28, Cowboys 14
Tom Brady’s general frustration could be enough to power the entire Patriots offense into getting their act together and finding the rhythm they need to carry them through a successful game. With the dwindling offensive power though, as usual, the Boogeymen are going to need to be out in full form. No Mohamed Sanu is going to be a real challenge, but if Dorsett is in fact able to play, there is a saving grace. Sony Michel has been and hopefully will continue to be a machine; he’s tough to defend in both his rushing a receiving. Belichick has a better coaching record, but these teams will be even in talent on Sunday. As long as the Patriots use their time honored ability to make huge third down conversions and play like the team we know and love, New England is set.
Patriots 20, Cowboys 17