Patriots-Cowboys Picks: Is Bill Belichick Vs. Mike McCarthy X-Factor?

Perhaps the Patriots' only edge comes on the sideline


October 15, 2021

The following is a collection of expert betting analysis surrounding the New England Patriots’ Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys from VSiN contributors.

The Patriots defense is in for a wake-up call this week. Through five games, New England has only allowed 5.1 YPP but has faced Tua Tagovailoa, Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston, Tom Brady (in the rain) and Davis Mills. By opponent, the Patriots have faced offenses that rank 31st, 30th, 24th, sixth and 29th in yards per play.

The Cowboys bring a top-three offense to Foxboro this week, as Dallas has had at least 24 first downs in every game; New England has had 24 first downs in one of its five games. The Cowboys are second in the NFL with 5.3 yards per carry. This will be the first offense the Patriots have faced that is higher than the league average of 4.2 YPC. Oh, and the Cowboys are also fifth in adjusted net yards per pass attempt.

Even with a weak schedule to this point, the Patriots have only outgained the opposition by 11 total yards, with the same number of plays on both offense and defense. New England has nine turnovers in five games and the Cowboys have forced 12. There is nothing that really adds up in a positive way for the Patriots in this matchup.

Dallas’s defense certainly has problems, but New England has no explosiveness to its offense with a lack of skill players and a rookie quarterback that has performed well but has been given a vanilla game plan. Using Warren Sharp’s Explosive Play Rate, the Cowboys are No. 1 in the league and the Patriots are 26th.

Maybe we’re buying a little high on Dallas here, but it is deserved. This just might be the best team in the NFC and the Patriots look like a below-average team again this season.

Pick: Cowboys -3.5
–Adam Burke

Bill Belichick is 0-3 at home, but the Patriots coach is not in this predicament because of his rookie quarterback. Mac Jones has looked poised in his five starts and outplayed Tom Brady in the 19-17 loss to the Buccaneers in Week 4. Belichick’s defense has been a bit disappointing, and New England’s new-look offensive line and running attack are not performing to preseason expectations. Meanwhile, everyone is praising the Cowboys, who are 5-0 ATS and riding high off three straight home wins. Prescott is leading a high-powered Dallas offense that will be difficult for the Patriots to control. In the past, this was the type of spot to back Belichick and count on him to scheme his way to a win. Is that outdated thinking? Maybe. Are the Patriots simply not that good? Perhaps.

This line was inflated to 4.5 and has come back down to a reasonable number, but it still seems like the right time to make a play on New England. Belichick has an obvious coaching edge against Mike McCarthy.

Pick: Patriots +3.5
-Matt Youmans

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While the Cardinals are the only unbeaten team this season, the Cowboys are the only team that has covered every game (5-0 ATS). Nevertheless, they may have gotten a little fat and happy at Jerry World with three straight home wins over Philadelphia, Carolina and the New York Giants, teams with a combined 6-9 record heading into Week 6.

On the other hand, the Patriots have not been fat and happy at home; they are 0-3 in Foxboro this year, the first time since 1993 that has happened. New England had to come back from a 22-9 deficit to pull out a victory at lowly Houston, but did hold the Texans to just a TD in the second half. In addition, the Patriots had four starters on the OL out due to COVID-19 and all are expected back here.

Dallas ranks second in the league in both total and scoring offense, but New England was able to hold Tom Brady and Tampa Bay’s No. 3 overall offense to just 19 points and 381 yards on 74 plays (5.1 YPP).

You are starting to have to pay a premium laying Dallas now, even with the line dropping from 4.5 to 3.5.

Pick: Patriots +3.5
–Wes Reynolds

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