The Patriots are back to work after a bye last week while the Cowboys lick their wounds from a second consecutive defeat. The NFL odds makers have NE as touchdown favorites but do we lay the chalk?
New England Patriots (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
The Patriots received an early bye week this year after dominating the competition since the season began. New England has torn through their early season schedule with victories at home against Pittsburgh and Jacksonville and a huge divisional road win in Buffalo. All of the Patriots’ wins were ATS covers and they now rank 1st in passing yards and tops in scoring, averaging 39.7 points per game. Tom Brady has been immense using the sure-handed Julian Edelman as his slot receiver and Rob Gronkowski as the big tight end who can do everything but fly this season.
Defense has not been much of an issue only because their offense has been so prolific. After losing shutdown corner Darrelle Revis and bruising defensive back Brandon Browner to free agency there was an expected drop off in the secondary which has proven prescient. However, the Pats did beef up their defensive line hoping to take the heat off their secondary and the sacks are coming. New England is ranked 5th in sacks registering a total of 13 over three games which is one less game (thanks to the bye week) than 28 of the other 32 teams.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS)
The Cowboys had high expectations before the season but when the starting quarterback gets his clavicle broken and the star wideout goes down with a foot injury it does not bode well for success. Dallas has lost their last pair of games and will be welcoming the high-octane and well-rested offense of New England without their own superstars to trade score for score. The mission falls to backup quarterback Brandon Weeden who saw his team lose a heartbreaker in the Big Easy on Sunday as they dropped a 26-20 overtime decision to the Saints.
Not only did the Boyz suffer another setback in the loss column but the injury bug continues to plague this team. Linebacker Sean Lee was lost to a concussion and running back Lance Dunbar reportedly tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee. It has been a war of attrition for Dallas and the wounded warriors will be returning no time soon and definitely not for this Sunday’s matchup against New England. The NFL odds makers are keenly aware of the staggering injuries and have made the visiting Patriots 7 ½ point road favorites.
The Patriots travel to Dallas well rested and on a high note. They have torched every defense they have played and have rewarded all who have backed them in their NFL picks with an undefeated ATS mark. As of this writing the Cowboys are tied for 16th in points scored (23.8) and tied for 18th in points allowed (25.2).
I realize it is never wise to lay points on the road but I am not convinced that Brandon Weeden will be able to get a whole lot of time in the pocket while the swarming New England blitz comes early and often. Of course the Patriots have been vulnerable to the rush but with Dunbar out the load will fall to Joseph Randle. Dunbar is more of a break-away back than Randle and if the Cowboys choose to grind it out they will be left behind by the air force of the Patriots.
NFL PIck: Buy the hook & bet the Patriots -7 (-120) at at GTBets