The Dallas Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions and now take on the New England Patriots. With every game of the season there will be things to watch and pay attention to. Here are five things to watch for in week 12.
1. Will Dak Continue to Let it Fly?
This team was originally designed to run the football and control the clock, but that hasn’t been working. Dak Prescott has been throwing the ball all around the field. The Cowboys have passed for 312.7 yards per game, which leads the NFL. Against the Lions last week, he threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns to lead the team to victory.
For the Cowboys to continue to win, they need Prescott to continue to air it out. That might be tough this week as the Patriots’ defense is tough. New England allows the second-fewest passing yards per game in the NFL. Prescott will need to work throw it and make plays to pull off the upset.
2. Can Zeke Get Anything Going on the Ground?
As stated, the Cowboys haven’t been able to successfully run the ball a lot this season. They just gave Ezekiel Elliot a big contract, but he hasn’t been great this season. In the game against the Lions, Elliot rushed for just 45 yards. They’ll need to get him going later in the season if they want to win, so hopefully, it can start sooner rather than later.
Like the passing offense, the running offense could have a tough day against the vaunted New England defense. They rank 10th against the run this season and if Prescott struggles to throw the ball, Elliot might need to come back with one of his signature games.
3. Tony Pollard’s Usage
After a few weeks of not getting much playing time, Tony Pollard finally got a few snaps against the Lions. He was productive with two rushes for 12 yards to go with his four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. His presence provided a change of pace and a different dimension to the offense.
Because he is a good playmaker, the Cowboys have to find a way to get Pollard on the field more. That isn’t easy with Elliot being the starting running back, but they can give him a rest by putting Pollard in. Pollard could make a play or two that turns the tide of the game for the Cowboys.
4. Tom Brady’s Frustrations With his Offense
The Patriots have only lost one game this season, but Tom Brady is frustrated with his offense. He went on the radio saying that they need to work out a few things. In their last two games, they have scored 17 and 20 points respectively. That doesn’t mean things will stay that way, as Brady and Bellichick will want to correct their issues as fast as possible.
New England may be able to fix some of their issues against the Cowboys, who are struggling on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys allowed Jeff Driskel, a career backup, to move the ball and keep the game close. Brady will want to fix his issues and if Dallas played the way they did against Detroit, that will be easy.
5. Can the Defense Cause Turnovers?
One of the biggest issues with the defense is the inability to force turnovers. They often lose the turnover battle because the defense isn’t able to come up with big plays. Dallas failed to come up with a turnover against the Lions, which is one of the reasons Detroit kept it so close.
Forcing turnovers on the Patriots won’t be easy. Brady has just thrown five interceptions on the year and any running back that fumbles goes immediately into Bill Belichick’s doghouse. Dallas may need to force a turnover or two, as every possession will matter against the Patriots.