FOXBOROUGH, Mass.: Ezekiel Elliott didnt need to suppose lengthy this week about what he remembered maximum about Dallas final consult with to New England in 2019.
It used to be a like a typhoon, Elliott recalled of the sport performed in rainy, windy prerequisites and integrated temperatures that dipped into the 30s. I had the massive seashore towel in my pants, so I may just stay my palms dry. I take into account dressed in like 5 or 6 other pairs of gloves.
New England slogged out a 13-9 win that day in a matchup of the Patriots top-ranked protection and Cowboys top-ranked offense, keeping Dallas with no landing for the primary time that season.
It used to be the beginning of a three-game dropping streak for the Cowboys, who misplaced 4 in their ultimate six on how one can lacking the playoffs at 8-8. New England completed 12-4, however had been knocked out within the wild-card spherical in what became out to be Tom Bradys ultimate recreation with the Patriots.
A lot has modified two years later.
Excluding Brady being long gone, New England (2-3) may be within the unfamiliar function of underdog because it tries to keep away from its first 0-4 get started at house beneath Invoice Belichick. The Cowboys (4-1) have the NFLs second-ranked offense this time, are armed with a rejuvenated Dak Prescott and glance as supplied as theyve ever been to overcome the Patriots for the primary time all through the Belichick technology.
Patriots linebacker Donta Hightower mentioned the 3 pillars in their protection are to be bodily, get after the quarterback and prevent the run.
All 3 include added demanding situations this week reverse a large Cowboys offensive line, a quarterback in Prescott who has probably the most fastest releases within the league and a two-pronged assault at operating again with Elliott and Tony Pollard.
Hightower mentioned he hasnt noticed any hesitancy in Prescott coming off final seasons ankle damage.
I feel hell do no matter it takes, Hightower mentioned. If he must run for a primary down, I feel hell do it. I feel hes very assured in the place hes at and I feel his play undoubtedly presentations that
New England has gained the final six matchups total, with Dallas final victory within the sequence coming in 1996. The Cowboys havent gained in New England since 1987.
File apart, Dallas trainer Mike McCarthy expects to stand any other well-prepared Patriots group.
There is not any punches pulled whilst you play those guys, mentioned McCarthy, who’s 1-3 towards Belichick. This can be a taste of play our guys will embody, however they do a very good task of looking to scheme towards the stuff you do easiest.
Dallas defensive finish Randy Gregory is on the most productive three-game stretch of his off-and-on occupation with 4 QB pressures in every of the previous 3 video games, consistent with Sportradar. His earlier easiest overall over 3 video games used to be 10. Each his sacks got here in the second one of the 3 video games.
Whilst Gregory trails one Dallas rookie in sacks (Micah Parsons leads the group with 2) and is tied with any other 2021 draft select in Osa Odighizuwa, his affect is apparent with the Cowboys looking forward to big-money go rusher DeMarcus Lawrence to go back from a damaged foot.
That is simply the 3rd time in Gregorys seven seasons he has been to be had in the beginning of the season. Substance-abuse suspensions sidelined him the opposite 4 instances. And its the primary time he has performed via 5 video games with out lacking any time for accidents.
So far as my self assurance is going, I believe like its proper the place it must be, mentioned Gregory, who has been nursing a sore knee between video games. Theres portions of my recreation Ive nonetheless set to work on. Theres a part of my frame that dont really feel proper. However my play at the box, Im now not in point of fact stunned about it. I feel Im going to pattern upward.
DALLAS AND THE 201
The Cowboys averaged 201 yards speeding in step with recreation for 3 weeks sooner than beating the Giants 44-20. They hit that quantity precisely towards New York as Elliott put in combination consecutive 100-yard video games for the primary time since 3 instantly in 2019.
Dallas is moment within the NFL in speeding at 173 yards in step with recreation after you have simply 60 within the opener, a 31-29 loss to Tremendous Bowl champion Tampa Bay when Prescott threw for 403 yards.
The O-line, theyre mauling guys up entrance, mentioned Elliott, who’s 3rd within the NFL with 452 yards and averaging 5.3 yards in step with raise, the most productive via 5 video games within the two-time speeding champions occupation. You were given the receivers mauling DBs, too. Everyone seems to be doing their phase, and had been reaping the advantages.
Patriots kicker Nick Folks enters the week one box objective shy of turning into the thirty fifth participant in NFL historical past to succeed in 300 for his occupation. He will be the 5th lively kicker to hit the milestone, becoming a member of Robbie Gould (403), Mason Crosby (355), Matt Prater (329) and Justin Tucker (302).
AP Sports activities Author Schuyler Dixon in Arlington, Texas, contributed to this file.
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