The Patriots managed to pull out an ugly win last week vs the Houston Texans. New England cannot expect to have the same success if they keep giving the ball away. Dallas (4-1) has been rolling on both sides of the football.
The Cowboys are back. Prescott continues to make plays from the pocket with a 13:2 touchdown-interception ratio. The offensive line is one of league’s best as the backfield has become a two headed monster. Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard have combined for 777 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns, while averaging 5.85 yards per attempt in only five games. The Patriots’s run defense could be in for a long night. Defensively, Micah Parsons is one of PFF’s highest graded linebacker’s in the NFL and cornerback Trevon Diggs currently leads the league in interceptions (6). Dallas is becoming a powerhouse of a team, how can the Patriots grab their first home win of the season?
Protect The Ball
Last week, the Patriots lost the turnover battle. It nearly cost the team the came and quite frankly, it should have. Damien Harris’ fumble at the goal-line cost the team six as Mac Jones’ interception led to a Houston score. Had New England played anyone else, they would have lost. Those two turnovers led to a 14-point swing collectively. With Mac Jones throwing to the league’s INT leader, he will need to take care of the football in order to win this game.
Feed Jakobi Meyers
Patriot fans may still be upset with Meyer’s big drop vs Houston. It would have been Mac Jones’ largest completion of his career and it was wide open. Like it or not, Jakobi Meyers is the Patriots’ best receiver. He leads the team in yards, catches, targets, and it hasn’t been close. Although Dallas’ secondary has created a lot of turnovers, they have given up a lot to receivers, especially in the slot. The Cowboys rank dead last in opponent passing yards per game (311). Slot receivers such as Chris Godwin, D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, and Kadarius Toney have all recorded over 100 yards vs Dallas. It’s gotta be a week for Jakobi Meyers to eat all night long.
The Patriots continue to be tentative and stagnant in the red-zone. Whether that is due to a lack of trust in Mac Jones or the offense, the team can’t keep running the ball inside the 20. The play-calling has been solid, but in the red-zone, it has to change. On a positive note, the Patriots have gone back-to-back weeks with a red-zone passing touchdown to tight ends. This is an area New England needs to build upon. Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry have excelled in red-zone targets and scores in their career. In 2 weeks, they have 3 touchdowns in the red-zone collectively, which is good. The Patriots have to look their way more once they get in scoring range.
Get Jonnu Smith Involved
The Patriots need Jonnu Smith to be one of the focal points in this passing attack. He is arguably the most dynamic and versatile talent this offense has, he just hasn’t shown it yet. Smith’s ability to move like a running back after the catch is special. Given his red-zone success in 2020, he should be a perfect matchup in a Josh McDaniels offense. The timing has been off and perhaps so has Jonnu’s confidence. The Patriots need to get Smith featured. Going from at least five targets in the first four weeks to two targets in week 5 is not enough.
The Patriots kickoff at 4:25pm on Sunday.
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)