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Patriots Prepare for Shootout with Cowboys

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The New England Patriots will take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in a inter-conference battle at 4:15 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Last Time Out

The Patriots were able to overcome their January AFC Divisional loss to the Jets, beating New York 30-21 at Gillette. Dallas was on their bye last week, but blew a 24-point lead to the Detroit Lions in Week 4.

Recent History

Because both the Patriots and Cowboys play in opposite conferences, the Dallas-New England matchup occurs just once every four years. The last time these two faced off was in October 2007, where the Patriots roughed up the Cowboys’ secondary en route to a 48-27 win. New England also defeated the Cowboys 12-0 in 2003 on Sunday Night Football, the first game between Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells at the time.

Key Matchup – Offense
Tom Brady vs. Rob Ryan

The Patriots head into this afternoon’s contest having scored at least 30 points in 13 consecutive contests, matching the early “Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams from the early 2000s. The last team to hold New England under 30 points? Rob Ryan’s Cleveland Browns last season, a 34-14 New England loss.

In that game, the Patriots’ offense committed a trio of turnovers, which plagued them the rest of the contest. Tom Brady passed for 224 yards and two touchdowns on just 19/36 attempts as Ryan’s D confused the Michigan alum.

Key Matchup – Defense
Miles Austin vs. Devin McCourty

Despite the media love-affair with Dez Bryant, the presence of Miles Austin is the driving force for the Cowboys’ wideouts. Austin is Tony Romo’s premier target, emerging as a go-to candidate with solid hands over the past three seasons. In just two games this season, Austin has 14 catches for 233 yards and four touchdowns before injuring his hamstring against the 49ers in Week 2.

If Austin can break out, the Cowboys offense will have no issue against the maligned New England defense.

Prediction

This game should be a shootout between two of the league’s most explosive offenses. Expect Tony Romo and the Cowboys to hang tough, but the Dallas’ gunslinger is prone to at least one or two mistakes which could turn the tide in New England’s favor.

Patriots 38, Dallas 28

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