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Patriots-Cowboys Game Day Notebook: Roster Elevations, Game Prediction and More

Can the Pats make it two-in-a-role with a victory over the Cowboys on Sunday?

The New England Patriots are hosting the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts at 4:25pm ET on Sunday, October 17 in Week Six of the 2021 NFL Season.

The Pats and the Cowboys will meet for the 14th time in their history. The two teams last met on Nov. 24, 2019 at Gillette Stadium, when the Patriots defeated Dallas, 13-9. While Dallas leads the all-time series by a 7-6 margin, the Patriots have won the last six games and Dallas is 0-4 in their last three visits to Foxboro, including an 0-3 record at Gillette Stadium.



This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally via your local affiliate. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Tony Romo as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfson will work from the sidelines.


98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 35 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The game will be produced by Marc Cappello.

Patriots Roster Moves and Elevations:

Patriots starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn was activated from the COVID-19/Reserve list on Saturday. The 25-year-old had been absent from six practices and one game (Week Five, vs. Houston) since being moved to the list on Oct. 5. While his playing status for Sunday is still uncertain, he may be able to provide additional reinforcements for an offensive line that has been devoid of starting talent as of late. Swing tackle Justin Herron, who started against the Texans’ in Wynn’s stead, performed well. However, he is listed as ‘questionable’ for Week Six on New England’s latest injury report.

The Patriots are also elevating offensive lineman James Ferentz to the active roster for Sunday’s game. The 32-year-old started at left guard in place of Michael Onwenu, while serving as a Covid-19 replacement. He remained in for all 64 downs and allowed two total pressures. Sunday will mark Ferentz’s second and final eligibility for standard elevation from the practice squad.

Per a Sunday morning report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Patriots running back Damien Harris (ribs, questionable) will play in Week Six against the Cowboys. The Patriots also should have rookie Rhamondre Stevenson and Brandon Bolden active at running back. J.J. Taylor was added to the injury report Friday (questionable, groin).

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Cowboys Roster Moves and Elevations:

The Cowboys are signing rookie fullback Nick Ralston, along with tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, to their 53-man roster. Each had reached his quota of standard elevations to the game day roster. Therefore, Ralston and Sprinkle are added to Dallas’ offensive mix, providing additional help with both run and pass protection, while giving Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott more potential targets on offense.

Per multiple reports, cornerack Trevon Diggs and running back Ezekiel Elliott will both play on Sunday, against the Patriots. As such, the Cowboys will take the field with two of their most prolific players on either side of the ball.

Patriot Maven Game Prediction:

Essential on Offense:

In order for the Patriots to keep Dallas on its heels, they must test the versatility and productivity of their offensive skill position players. Both Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne have demonstrated an ability to get open down the field. With the Cowboys’ defense surrendering an average of 311 yards per game through the air, Mac Jones might find some success testing the Dallas secondary by targeting Agholor, as well as Bourne when he aligns on the outside. New England might also be well-suited to utilize the skill set of tight end Jonnu Smith, both as a red zone target and as a carrier from the backfield. Smith has yet to emerge as the dual-threat, which Patriots fans expected when he was signed by the club in the offseason. However, Smith can be very effective in short yardage situations. With Dallas’ ability to get pressure on the passer, Jones will need to move the ball with the short passes he has used so effectively this season.

Essential on Defense:

While the Patriots are aware that Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott has very few weaknesses, the Pats will not shy away from the daunting task of attempting to limit his success on Sunday. The best way for the Pats to do so will be to employ defensive formations, heavy on the defensive backs. In order to take away the passing lanes from Prescott and the Cowboys, the Pats will use a good amount of nickel/dime packages. While Dallas’ man-under-center will still get his looks against the Pats secondary, the home team will undoubtedly do all they can to marginally disrupt his chances, and force the Cowboys to run the football. This strategy also has its risks, considering the prowess of Dallas’ running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. However, the Patriots cannot take the chance of getting into an aerial shootout with the Cowboys; as that is a battle, which they may not be able to win.

While the Cowboys are prolific on both sides of the ball, the Patriots are eager to rid themselves of the lingering hollow feeling from their Week Five victory. The Pats played poorly in the first half against Houston and realized that they were fortunate to right the ship. New England will come out prepared in Week Six and will keep the game close. As a result, they do just enough to pull the upset over the Cowboys.

Final Score Prediction: Patriots 20, Cowboys 17