Patriots vs. Cowboys: Five Matchups To Watch


Here are five matchups to watch in Sunday’s Patriots vs. Cowboys clash.

1. Nate Solder/Sebastian Vollmer vs. Greg Hardy

Hardy has been in the news recently for other reasons, but there is a football game to be played this Sunday, and in the past, Hardy has been one helluva problem for opposing offenses to deal with. Hardy has 34 career sacks, including 15 in the last real season he played back in 2013, so for Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, keeping Hardy away from Tom Brady will be key.

2. Jason Witten vs. Patriots’ LB’s

I expect the Patriots to stack the box and try to get after Brandon Weeden in this game, and with Dez Bryant sidelined, Jason Witten has been Weeden’s go-to target. If the Pats can stop the run and pressure Weeden, covering Witten in important 3rd-down situations will be huge for Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower, so hopefully they are up to the challenge. I’ll also add Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung may be asked to cover Witten at times as well.

3. Cowboys OL vs. Patriots Front Seven

This should be a fun matchup to watch, because they are two of the best individual units in the entire league. The Pats rank second in the NFL in sacks per game, and while they have struggled against the run, they really haven’t tried to stop it. And when they have, like two weeks ago versus the Jaguars, they completely shut them down, holding them to less than three yards a carry. New England needs to stop the run game once again this week, and Dallas needs to get it going to take some pressure off of Brandon Weeden. It should be fun to watch.

4. Dion Lewis vs. Sean Lee/Robert McClain

We aren’t sure if Sean Lee will be able to go this week, but we do know that the Cowboys get Robert McClain back from his suspension, and he will likely be tossed right into the fire in trying to cover Dion Lewis, who is off to a scorching start in 2015. The Patriots’ offense is revolved around Gronk and Edelman, but having a guy like Lewis who can easily beat linebackers in the pass game is vital, as frequently he will bust open big plays with his quickness, and convert key third downs against bigger, slower ‘backers.

5. Stephen Gostkowski vs. Dan Bailey

It wasn’t a good weekend for NFL kickers last week, but luckily for us, we get to see two of the best in the game go at this Sunday. I doubt this game comes down to a last second field goal, but if it does, both sides are in good hands.