FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Hasn’t it felt like a while since the Patriots last played at home?
To be exact, it’s been four weeks since the team played in front of their fans when they beat Cleveland on Oct. 27. But for the first time this year, a visiting team will enter Gillette Stadium with a winning record.
The Dallas Cowboys, 6-4 and sitting atop the NFC East, own the NFL’s top offensive attack led by quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliot and wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The Patriots’ top-ranked defense will have to slow down an offense that can do damage in a variety of formations with a handful of different weapons. The Cowboys also thrive on third down. Whether it be short, intermediate or long situations, they’ve been able to convert when their backs are against the wall.
The key for New England is to jump out to an early lead. It’s been back-to-back weeks now that Tom Brady’s offense has been shut out in the game’s first 15 minutes. Climbing out of early holes is not an ideal situation for an offense that is still looking to find consistency while integrating new parts.
Sunday’s game is scheduled to start at 4:25 p.m. and will air live on Fox Providence. Beforehand, be sure to tune in at 11:30 a.m. for Eyewitness Sports’ New England Nation pregame show. Yianni Kourakis, Ruthie Polinsky, Morey Hershgordon and Andy Gresh will dissect the matchup and preview the game. Then, at 3 p.m., head to WPRI.com or your WPRI 12 app for New England Nation: Game Day Live. Yianni Kourakis and Ruthie Polinsky will be live from the field at Gillette Stadium, bringing you the sights and sounds of the atmosphere leading up to kickoff. After the game, watch the New England Nation Patriots Wrap at 11:15 p.m. on WPRI 12.
Below are some notes and quotes from this past week at Patriots headquarters leading up to Sunday’s game:
- The Patriots defense has allowed the least amount of yards per game in the NFL while the Cowboys offense has racked up the most yards per game.
- With 248 passing yards, Tom Brady will reach the 3,000-yard mark for the 17th time in his career, which is the second-most in NFL history behind Brett Favre’s 18.
- Tom Brady is undefeated against the Cowboys in his career (4-0). Dallas is one of five teams Brady has never lost to.
Tom Brady on what the Cowboys mean to him and represent in the NFL: “I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys and they’ve actually had a great winning organization. They’ve got a lot of great players in their history. Guys that I just, as a Niner fan, you’d play the Cowboys and every time they’d hand off to Emmitt Smith would be a 5-yard gain and you would pull your hair out – and throw it up to Michael Irvin and Troy [Aikman] was such a great player, and the defenses, Ken Norton and Prime Time [Deion Sanders]. I think the history of great players, the tradition – getting to meet Roger Staubach over the years has been – just such a cool guy. Someone to really look up to. And then what they’re currently doing with the team that they have, it’s one of the most talented teams in the NFL that are playing great on offense, defense, and it’s going to be a huge challenge for us. I love it, I love the opportunity to compete against great teams this time of year, as Thanksgiving approaches, and it means a lot for both teams. Every time we play at home it’s important to us but late in the year, we only have so many more chances left to go out there and put on a great performance and we’ll try to do that.”
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett on what he’s seen this year from the Patriots offense: “They’re just really, really good, and they’ve been really, really good for – what’s it, 20 years now? So, they’re fantastic. Obviously, their quarterback [Tom Brady], you can make an argument that he’s the best player that ever walked. What he’s done throughout his career, the productivity, his ability to win with a lot of different teams and a lot of different guys in a lot of different ways. He’s just been remarkable, and they’re a really good offensive line, they have good tight ends and good receivers, the runners. Everybody’s involved. They challenge you in so many different ways. They can run it, they can throw it. They make little plays, they make big plays. They just challenge you every time the ball is snapped, and it’s been that way for a long, long time.”
Bill Belichick on Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: “He’s super impressive. The way he’s going, might be more than that. Might hit six [thousand yards], I don’t know. This guy can throw the ball. He’s very accurate, he’s got great poise in the pocket, stands in there. He can extend plays and run if he has to, but he doesn’t do much of that unless he really needs to. He has great patience and poise, discipline in the pocket, gets his eyes downfield. He’s a very good intermediate-to-deep ball-thrower. He’s got good weapons, but he’s been super impressive. Just, great, great quarterback – sideline throws, inside throws, in-cuts, posts, over routes, flag routes, you name it. Possession passes on third down, best third-down team in the league, best passing team in the league, most big plays in the league – I mean, I don’t know where you want to start, they do it all. And he does it all. He runs options, he runs read zones, keeps the ball in critical situations, tough guy to tackle, makes tough yards when he needs them, so he’s really good.”