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Mailbag: Chess Match Against The Pats?


The Patriots have always been very good at taking away an opponent's strength. Do y'all think they will continue the trend of shutting down our run game and let Dak fly, or will they flip the script and try to stop the pass? Love reading these every day, thank you both! - BRIAN NICHOLS / CARROLLTON, TX

Rob: That's why this matchup is so delicious. It's Bill Belichick, and you never know exactly what Bill Belichick will do. The Pats haven't really shown a weakness on defense, but their biggest strength is probably the secondary. Confidence in their DBs could mean they devote more hats to stopping the run. Then again, that recipe hasn't worked against Dak Prescott the last two games. The Cowboys have shown they can be a pick-your-poison offense. No better test than Sunday.

Lindsay: Great question, Brian, and I've been thinking and talking to people about this all week. There's no doubt this Cowboys offense is a double-edged sword in 2019. Think Bill is going to make sure to stop the run, and trust Stephon Gilmore and the rest of his talented secondary to match up and run with Dak's receivers.

How do you rate D-Law through 10 games? Aren't Michael Bennett and Robert Quinn giving him enough opportunities to make plays given their stellar performance this season? - TREVOR D'MELLO / EDINBURGH, UK

Rob: Lawrence has been very productive this season, too. The sack total (4.5) doesn't jump out, but he's leading the defense in pressures (24), tackles for loss (6), forced fumbles (2) and fumble recoveries (2). After missing virtually all of camp, I do think it took him a few games to sharpen his technique and find a rhythm with his line teammates. But the effort is always there, and the production is rising.

Lindsay: I think it's the other way around: Lawrence is giving Bennett and Quinn opportunities. As far as rating him, I don't judge D-Law's productivity based on his sack number. He's never been a huge sack tally guy (except for 2017, with 14.5) and he leads the team in pressures, which are a massively underrated stat, in my opinion.

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