Brady’s worries make Dallas decent value
Tom Brady is not happy, after New England’s 17-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles last week the veteran quarterback publicly called out the Patriots’ offensive unit, stating that the unquestioned strength of his side is the defence and special teams.
The 42-year-old is, of course, a part of the issue but it is the complete lack of a running game that is the real problem. The Patriots are the third worst running team in the league and as a result Brady is having to turn to his receivers to get the ball moving. Unfortunately, the receiving corps are injury ravaged and aren’t exactly the most explosive group as it is.
Mohammed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett are both expected to miss Sunday’s game meaning Brady will, again, have to rely on Julian Edelman. The Dallas Cowboys are a talented defensive group, particularly at linebacker, and have enough ability to challenge the greatest quarterback of all time. Dallas are chasing an NFC Playoff spot and when they’re given a 6 point spread, they look a good bet this week..
Strength vs Strength in Foxborough
As I said in the preview last week, the New England Patriots have an astonishingly good defence, and they’re particularly good at home. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore is the star name in a talented group who have held their opposition to 14 points or less in their last seven home games and allowed just four passing touchdowns all season. Gilmore will go head-to-head with Dallas receiver Amari Cooper, who headlines a very dangerous group of Cowboys pass catchers, in a matchup that could decide the game. Cooper is Dak Prescott’s favourite target, averaging 88 receiving yards per game, Gilmore is one of the best corners in the league and I expect him to follow the Dallas man throughout the game.
However, Dallas have a number of receiving options notably Michael Gallup who had 148 receiving yards last week against Detroit. Quarterback Dak Prescott is in fine form and Gallup will likely avoid Gilmore’s coverage, so look for the Cowboys to switch their attention to their 23-year-old WR as Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore tries to pick apart an exceptional Pats defence.
Elliott the poacher for Dallas
Throughout his career Ezekiel Elliott has been one of the best running backs in the league but this season has lacked the highlight plays that he has become known for, Sunday could be a day to change that. If there is a weak spot in the vaunted Patriots defence it has been their running game. Last week they were able to keep a lid on the Eagles, but they were missing starting running back Jordan Howard, a fairer representation is Week 8, when Nick Chubb had 131 rushing yards, and Week 9 where Mark Ingram racked up 115 of his own. The Cowboys gameplan should be to feed Zeke, and his backup Tony Pollard, with regularity.
Elliott is a deadly finisher in the redzone, his longest touchdown run of the season is 10 yards, so he is a good bet to score at anytime this week. His yardage line is set at 80.5 yards which might be a touch high, but Dallas will try to dominate time of possession so he could get close to that total.
Source: US Sports