“America’s Most Hated”


AFC Game Of The Week 

Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots 

Cowboys: One week they’re up, next week they’re down. When they are consistent, they’re a difficult team to take down, especially when they have everything clicking on all cylinders. Believe it or not, the Cowboys are the number one ranked offense in the NFL. For a team that’s been heavily dependent on the run, They’ve been forced to throw the football more. That’s because defenses are stacking the line of scrimmage with eight-man boxes to limit Ezekiel Elliott. This also means teams are daring Dak Prescott to beat them. He’s accepted the challenge. Sunday in Detroit was by far the best game he’s had since the beginning of the season. When he needed to make a big throw, he stepped up to do it. He finished the game completing 29 of his 46 pass attempts for 444 yards passing along with three touchdown passes. They pulled out a tough win against a Lions team who gives everyone all they can handle. I’ve been vocal about some of their offensive play-calling. Last week before the game against the Vikings, I stated that the formula for their success is getting Zeke the football at least 25 times. He can’t make his mark if they don’t feed him the football. I’ve seen him disappointed on the sidelines. He may not say much, but believe me, body language speaks volumes. The defense has been one of the best in the league. They get a consistent amount of pressure upfront which allows the secondary to work its magic. If the Cowboys want to make a statement, this would be the game to do so.

Patriots: For the 19th consecutive season, they have clinched a winning season. It’s remarkable the sustained consistency they continue to display every year. Here they are once again closing in on another division title and home-field advantage in the AFC Playoffs. After the loss to the Baltimore Ravens, they knew they had to regroup during the bye week. Coming into their game against the Philadelphia Eagles, I said this could be the most focused they’ve been all season. No team is better at regrouping quite like the New England Patriots. They fell behind early in Philly but bounced back. What more is there to say about this defense? After giving up the most points they allowed all season to Baltimore, they got back to their usual dominance holding a solid Eagles offense to ten points. The one thing I’ve noticed about the Patriots is the offense has been the stronger side of the football compared to the defense. This year, the roles have reversed. The Patriots are 9-1 which is great, but Tom isn’t the reason why they’re winning football games (I’m not saying he’s falling off, calm down). The defense has dominated in all but one game. They’ve been the difference makers. There have been many questions surrounding their offense. There were passes that Brady normally connects on that he missed. To his defense though, his protection hasn’t been the same on the offensive line. The Patriots have lost a few offensive linemen. Outside of Julian Edelman and James White, they don’t have that consistent weapon. When you don’t have protection or chemistry with the receivers, things will be difficult. They’ll look to be the first team to ten wins with a win on Sunday.

Cowboys Player to Watch: Michael Bennett– I have a strong feeling he’s had this game circled on the schedule. He was traded to New England in the off-season. On October 21st, he was traded to the Cowboys for a draft pick in 2021. The move came at the perfect time to replace Tyrone Crawford who was put on injured reserve. I have a good feeling he’ll be vocal in helping the defensive gameplan. Talk about a potential revenge game. He’s a crucial piece of what they can do on Sunday.

Patriots Player to Watch: Danny Shelton– The big guy in the middle. He’s their “Vince Wilfork”. He’s that clog in the middle for the Patriots defense. He’s one of the more athletic 340-pounders I’ve seen in a while. He uses his frame to his advantage. He’s a strong guy that uses power, leverage, speed, and strength. Good luck trying to run up the middle, he’s right there to stop it. If he gets by you, he can get a sack. He’s very versatile as an interior defensive lineman.

Final Analysis: This calls for a good matchup. Two first-place teams get set to square off. This is also the first matchup between Dak Prescott and Tom Brady. New England, of course, will do everything to shut down Amari Cooper and Zeke. This is why they got Randall Cobb. He’s a veteran that knows how to work in space to get open. I see the Cowboys forcing Brady to throw the football over the top. Keep that spy in the middle of the field, rush four, drop six back in coverage and make him uncomfortable. The battle I’m looking forward to seeing is Gilmore on Cooper. A good receiver against the top cornerback in the NFL. Defense could ultimately decide this game. I wonder how the Patriots defense will try to keep this Cowboys offense in check. Probably man across the board, the safeties deep and making Dak beat them with his legs.

Prediction: Patriots 23 Cowboys 20

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