It’s a big featured match-up for a big Week 6 in NFL Football, as the New England Patriots (4-1) play host to the visiting Dallas Cowboys (2-2) in what should be an exciting and offensively-driven ball game that’s more than worth a trip to one of the best online sportsbooks for a taste of the action to come. The New England Patriots march into this Week 6 match-up surprising most with their much-improved run game, which ranks 6th in the NFL as BenJarvus Green-Ellis has continued to perform above and beyond duty in recent weeks (coming off a 137 yard, 2 TD showing against the typically taught Jets D) , which will suit the Patriots and their #1-ranked offense well heading into a much tougher match-up against an improved Dallas Cowboys defense led by first-year coordinator Rob Ryan. While both teams have been consistently making improvements on the defensive side of the ball, the focus on today’s game will be the vast improvements for the Cowboys, who are now ranked 4th in the league in yards allowed, no doubt critical to stopping arguably the best passer in the league in Tom Brady, with his slew of offensive weapons to choose from.
At 366.6 yards per game, the Tom Brady-led offense is certainly something fun to watch this year, especially with the connection between Brady and top wide-out Wes Welker running like clockwork this season. With 740 yards receiving through 5 weeks, and 45 catches already, Welker is on pace for, get this…144 catches and 2368 yards and 16 TDs on the year. Though expecting some decline over the course of the year after a 9 catch, 144 yards/game average, Welker has never looked better, and Tom Brady continues to be, well, Tom Brady. This will be the key match-up for Dallas to defend against today, and fortunately for them their #1-ranked defense against the run should be up to the challenge of trying to slay both heads of the New England Patriots two-headed offensive monster at the same time.
Dallas is at a moot point in the season at 2-2, with the onus this week on getting quarterback Tony Romo to simply put together a full-game performance. Romo has been incredibly inconsistent each week after strong starts in the first half, leading to the Cowboys blowing a 14 point lead in the 4th quarter against the Jets in Week 1, and losing at home after amassing a 24 point lead in the 3rd quarter against Detroit in Week 4. However, one has to accept that Romo has been playing hurt (nursing and playing through a cracked rib), and what is truly impressive is that Dallas has maintained an offensive attack averaging 417.8 yards per game (6th in the league) even without the presence of wide receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, who are both suiting up today. Against New England’s main crutch, their league-worst passing defense, this game may be won or lost in the passing game with all top targets for both teams available, and Dallas anxious to take advantage where they can in this road match-up.
Betting Lines for Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
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Our Pick to Win:
It’s next to impossible to bet against New England at home, considering their offensive weaponry, head coach Bill Belichick’s brain on the sidelines, and their ability to run away with games in a matter of minutes with impressive scoring drives. However, with Dallas coming in hungry, rested and with something to prove after a mediocre season start, I’m going out on a limb taking Dallas to pull off an upset on the road as their defense helps slow down the Patriots just enough to allow a big day from Tony Romo and his returning receivers to top the home team. Taking a rare shot against most odds, I take Dallas to win 27-24 in a tight game this afternoon.
Players to Watch, Dallas:
Miles Austin, WR – Returning after missing two games with a hamstring injury, Austin could be the difference maker for Tony Romo against the league’s worst pass defense. Expect the big D receiver to get lots of looks, especially in tandem with the returning Dez Bryant also in the line-up, who should help limit focus on Austin and free him up for big strikes downfield.
Tony Romo, QB – I have to put Romo in here, because really it’s all on him today (at least for my wager). With his inconsistency, it’s definitely a stretch to back him in this match-up against the best offense in the country, but with time to heal, more receivers available and plenty of prep time for this match-up, Romo goes off this afternoon in a 3 TD game to drive the Cowboys to victory.
Players to Watch, New England:
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB – While the passing game is the big threat for the Pats, the Law Office could make or break my prediction. Dallas has been outstanding against the run this season allowing just 61 yards per game, but if we see another breakthrough performance by the featured New England running back, it could just be the straw that breaks my prediction’s back today.
Rob Gronkowski, TE – Since his 7 catch, 109 yard, 2 TD performance in Week 3, Gronk has been very quiet in the passing game, something that should change this Sunday especially if New England finds the running game going tough. Look for the big 22-year old to hop in the endzone at least once today, as TE compatriot Aaron Hernandez is back in the line-up and should make the Dallas D focus slip a little with two talented big men lining up throughout the afternoon.