2015 NFL Preview Week 5 – New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys

The 3-0 New England Patriots, who appear to be an early-season juggernaut, are back from their bye-week, to play the Tony Romo-less Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys, who are the home team, are 2-2, having won their first two games with Romo at the helm and lost their last two without him. Currently, the Pats are 9.5-point favorites and the over is at 49.5.

New England Offense vs. Cowboys Defense

What can you say about an offense that is averaging almost 40 points per game? QB Tom Brady, who some commentators said at the top of last season was all washed up, has been playing with a vengeance. His rating is 119.6 and pass completions are connecting 72.2% of the time. He’s thrown 9 TDs and no interceptions.

The quarterback’s two favorite pass receiving candidates are big man Rob Gronkowski (16 REC. 19.3 AVG. 4 TDs) and the diminutive Julian Edelman (30 REC, 9.3 AVG. 2 TDs). Two able running backs are handling the ground attack. Dion Lewis, who has 30 rushes for 2 TDs, is averaging 4.9 YPC, and LeGarrett Blount, who has 20 carries for 3 TDs, is gaining an average of 4.1 YPC.

The question is can the Cowboys stop the Patriots? Good news can be found in the fact that Dallas has 14 tackles for a loss and 14 passes defended. In the first two games Dallas gave up an average of 18 PPG, and in the last two, which they lost, they allowed 23 PPG. Their defense has been taxed as of late and their interception, sack, and forced fumble numbers are low, coming in respectively at six, two, and zero.

Dallas Offense vs. Patriots Defense

In taking over for Romo, Brandon Weeden has done well. His numbers are very similar and in some ways even better than the injured starter’s. Weeden’s completed 76.3% of his passes and has a rating of 108.8. He has thrown two TDs, tossed one INT, and been sacked five times.

He’ll be looking to connect with Lance Dunbar and Terrance Williams. Each has two touchdown catches and three receptions for 20-plus yards. The offensive strength for this Dallas team is their running attack, which is led by Joseph Randle (59 ATT, 229 YDs, 4 TDs). He’s averaging 3.9 YPA.

The Dallas offense will have to deal with a Patriot D that will give up yards but make team’s pay in the process. In three games, they have 13 sacks, six tackles for a loss, and four forced fumbles. Plus, they have notched five interceptions and have nine passes defended. Jaime Collins leads the team in tackles, sacks, and forced fumbles, with 22, 3.5, and 2. Other big performers include Chandler Jones with three sacks and Duran Harmon who has two passes defended and two interceptions.

Other Considerations

Pats placekicker Stephen Gostkowski is perfect in everyway going 7 of 7 in field goals and 14 of 14 in extra points. For Dallas, Dan Bailey is the same going 6 of 6 and 11 of 11. But unlike Gostkowski, who has hit four of four from 40-plus yards, Baily has not had to split the uprights from that far away.

Romo is an important leader for the Cowboys and is missed, and for the Pats, Brady is in perfect form. Dallas must establish the run to win. That will not be an easy task against the Patriots.

Best Bets

Brady has been finding the seam in defenses and his receivers have been very reliable. Plus, the New England running game has been tough to stop. The 9.5 spread may seem high, but it looks good in this one and the over is reasonable, as the Pats should post at least 34 points and Dallas 18. The only concern is a bye-week letdown by New England. But that’s not expected.

October 10, 2015 by : Posted in NFL, Sportsbook No Comments

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