Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots Matchup Preview (10/17/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots Matchup Preview (10/17/21)

Believe it or not, the Cowboys are the last undefeated against the spread (ATS) team in the NFL. They lost their Week 1 matchup with Tampa Bay but easily covered the six-point spread, and have won four straight games since.

Meanwhile, the Patriots have been underwhelming. Despite their rookie quarterback being the betting favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year, the rest of the team has largely let him down. The Patriots are 2-3 straight up (SU) and ATS and are coming off a pathetic victory against Houston.

The Patriots opened as 4.5-point home underdogs, but that line was quickly bet down to 3.5 at most books. Meanwhile, the total opened at 48.5 but has been bet up over 50 since.

So, where does the value lie in this game?

Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots Betting Odds

I simply can’t ignore the sharp action that’s coming in on the Patriots.

Although the Patriots are pulling just 21% of the tickets on Sunday, that represents about half of the betting handle. The line is going to continue to move New England’s way, and I love catching over a field goal with the Patriots at Gillette.

The Dallas defense is fraudulent. They lead the league in interceptions but have allowed the eighth-most yards and the second-most passing yards, all while ranking in the back half of the league in PFF’s rush defense and tackling grades. If the Josh McDaniels-Mac Jones regime is anything, it’s careful with the ball, and New England should be able to string together drives as long as the running backs don’t keep fumbling the football.

Meanwhile, the biggest strength of the Patriots is their secondary. While that unit laid an egg last week against Houston, they still rank eighth in Football Outsiders’ passing defense DVOA, and I’m looking for a bounce-back week for them against Dak Prescott and Co.

I’ll take the home underdog in this spot.

My Predictions: Patriots +3.5 (-110 at Fox Bet)

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, October 17
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
TV Coverage: CBS

Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots Live Stream

Where can you watch Cowboys vs. Patriots online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Cowboys vs. Patriots Free Online Now.

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Dallas Cowboys: Tyrone Smith (Q)
New England Patriots: Damien Harris (Q)

Dallas Cowboys Analysis

There are several storylines to work through when it comes to the 4-1 Dallas Cowboys.

Second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs has been stealing the spotlight. He’s now recorded six interceptions through his first five games, and he grades out as PFF’s 12th-best cornerback. While some of his interceptions can be characterized as lucky, he’s allowed less than a 50% completion rate when targeted this year, and he’s added four pass break-ups to his interception total.

There’s also the return of Dak Prescott. He’s the clubhouse leader for Comeback Player of the Year, as he’s third among qualified quarterbacks in completion percentage (73.9%) while averaging close to nine yards per attempt.

By EPA per play and expected completion percentage, Prescott has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league so far this season.

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Prescott has a bevy of weapons he can throw the ball to. But the most dangerous weapon is his backfield, which has finished third in rush DVOA so far this season. The backfield is anchored by Ezekiel Elliot. But the more dangerous weapon has been Tony Pollard, who leads all running backs in rush yards over expected per attempt (1.53 per NFL Next Gen Stats).

The defense ranks high in all the advanced statistics, but as I write above, I believe they’re overvalued. Diggs’ interception luck will regress eventually, and this team still ranks just 25th in PFF’s tackling grades. There are a lot more points that will be scored on this defense as the season progresses.

Dallas Cowboys Depth Chart

QB: Dak Prescott
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott
RB2: Tony Pollard
WR1: Amari Cooper
WR2: CeeDee Lamb
TE1: Dalton Schultz

New England Patriots Analysis

Jones looks great. He’s easily the best of all the rookie quarterbacks this season. However, the Patriots’ offense ranks among the lowest in the NFL in almost every important advanced stat. This team is not being efficient with the ball on offense.

There are a few reasons for that, but the offensive line is the biggest. This unit was supposed to be the strength of the team, but it’s been a liability.

The injuries have been a problem, as the five guys they trotted out for the Houston game felt like a Jeopardy answer:

But even when this unit was healthy, it still didn’t produce. The line ranks 29th in adjusted line yards, and the running game is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry behind it while getting stuffed at the highest rate in the NFL.

As such, they’ve had to lean entirely on Jones, who’s completing over 71% of his passes, and usually with four guys in his face. It’s amazing what composure this rookie has shown despite all the frustrating offensive issues — ranging from fumbles to injuries to penalties to doinked field goals.

However, Jones doesn’t grade out very well in efficiency metrics. which I chalk up to a combination of a poor offensive line and McDaniels’ play-calling. The calls have been super conservative, wherein most of his looks are either behind the line of scrimmage or in-between the sticks. But he also hasn’t had a lot of time to throw, which means he has to get it out quickly to his hot read.

All-in-all, Jones is averaging only 6.5 yards per attempt, and he’s 23rd in EPA per play.

The defense continues to perform well in the passing game, posting the eighth-best Defensive Passing Success Rate in the NFL. But the front seven has been questionable, and that unit’s been very weak in the run game at times.

One player that hasn’t been weak at all is Matt Judon, who has been far-and-away New England’s best player. He’s recorded seven sacks and 12 QB hurries on the season, both stats that rank among the best in the NFL.

New England Patriots Depth Chart

QB: Mac Jones
RB1: Damien Harris
RB2: James White
WR1: Jakobi Meyers
WR2: Nelson Agholor
WR3: Kendrick Bourne
TE1: Jonnu Smith
TE2: Hunter Henry

Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots Daily Fantasy Picks

In DFS lineups, I’m going back to the well and looking at Jakobi Meyers.

As mentioned, the Patriots cannot get a rush game going. As such, they’ve dropped back at the fourth-highest rate in the NFL (65.6%), and Meyers has gotten the majority of those looks. Meyers leads the team in targets (46), receptions (31), and receiving yards (302) this season.

The Cowboys have allowed the second-most passing yards in the NFL through five games, and Jones-to-Meyers should be a very common look Sunday afternoon.

Week 6 Matchup Previews
  • Bills @ Rams
  • Saints @ Falcons
  • Browns @ Panthers
  • 49ers @ Bears
  • Steelers @ Bengals
  • Eagles @ Lions
  • Colts @ Texans
  • Patriots @ Dolphins
  • Ravens @ Jets
  • Jaguars @ Commanders
  • Giants @ Titans
  • Chiefs @ Cardinals
  • Raiders @ Chargers
  • Packers @ Vikings
  • Buccaneers @ Cowboys
  • Broncos @ Seahawks
Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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