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Gut Feeling: Staff Picks For Cowboys-Patriots


The Cowboys are one of the NFL's hottest teams – winners of four straight games, including the last three at home.

But it's back on the road this week and to a place they haven't won since 1987.

The Cowboys haven't had much success at all against Bill Belichick, who has led the Patriots to six Super Bowls over the last two decades.

The staff gives their 'gut feeling' for this Week 5 matchup between the Patriots and Cowboys.

Rob Phillips: The Bucs' defense has been the toughest matchup for the Cowboys' offense so far. New England is arguably right there with Tampa Bay because you really have no idea what Bill Belichick will do from a tactical standpoint. I'm very curious to see what he does, because the Cowboys haven't shown many weaknesses in five games. Carolina gave them some trouble for a half with weird looks and blitzes, and obviously left tackle Tyron Smith's neck issue is something to monitor leading up to, and after, kickoff. But Dak Prescott has been outstanding against pressure this year. Ultimately, I just go back to what I've said the last three games: can the Patriots outscore the Cowboys over 60 minutes? (They're averaging 19.2 so far.) If the Cowboys limit turnovers and don't let the Patriots' terrific special teams impact the game, I think they'll win a relatively low-scoring contest, something like 27-21.

David Helman: I spoke very briefly with Zack Martin about the 2015 version of this game this week, and it's all I've been able to think about since. If you can think back that far, a depleted Cowboys team put up a hell of a fight against the reigning champs, but they just couldn't keep pace in the end and the Patriots wound up winning by 24. New England is scrappy enough and well-coached enough to keep this stressful for three quarters. Whether it's with great defense or a special teams break or two, I bet it'll be within a touchdown late in the game. My thing is that the Cowboys just have too much firepower. Over time, I trust Dak Prescott to find the weak spot, and I don't think Mac Jones will be able to keep up. I'm thinking the Cowboys wind up winning this game by a score of 31-13, but it won't be indicative of how close the game was for the first 50 minutes.

Nick Eatman: This is a very unique situation that I can't recall happening too often before. Just looking at the matchup on the field – with the actual players – this looks like a potential blowout. The Patriots just don't have enough talent or names that you would think could hang with the Cowboys at this point. New England is starting a rookie quarterback and the Patriots have only beaten the Jets and Texans – who also have rookie QBs. The fact that the Saints, who are the most puzzling team in the league right now, went up to Foxboro and basically whipped the Pats, makes me think the Cowboys could do the same thing. The only thing that prevents a pause here is Bill Belichick, arguably the best coach in NFL history and one of the best in any sport. But he's not playing. Obviously, he never has during this extraordinary two-decade run. But he's had better players, and a much better quarterback. The Cowboys are averaging 34 points a game and the Patriots are around 19. Because it's in New England, I'll take a field goal from Dallas and add one to the Pats. But that still gives me the Cowboys winning in a weird one, 31-22.

Kyle Youmans: There's a potential that this would be the lowest scoring game since Week 2. The Cowboys could tie the franchise record streak with 35-plus in four straight games. But they'll have to find success against a physical Patriots front to do so. This will be a defensive dog fight early, but the Cowboys will reverse some bad history with a strong second half and pull away for their first win in New England since 1987. Cowboys win it 30-13.

Mickey Spagnola: History is not on the side of the Cowboys in this one. Neither is experience, what with the young Kellen Moore calling plays for the Cowboys against the Patriots experienced defensive wizard Bill Belichick. But most times this comes down to the players, and face it, the Cowboys have much better offensive players than the Patriots, and if this Cowboys defense keeps improving, the Cowboys should go into Foxborough, Mass., and win their first game since the one I witnessed in person in 1987. I like the Cowboys to nearly hit their offensive average, 30-20, Cowboys.

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