Cowboys vs Patriots Week 6 Picks and Predictions: Dallas Rumbles Through New England

The Cowboys have one of the NFL's best run games, while the Patriots have one of the worst run defenses. Combined with Dallas' ball-hawking defense against rookie Mac Jones, our NFL picks don't see many points being scored — or New England winning.

Last Updated: Oct 12, 2021 2:04 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Tony Pollard Dallas Cowboys NFL
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The Dallas Cowboys hit the road for the first time since mid-September when they visit the New England Patriots in Week 6.

With Dallas at 4-1, and that lone loss coming against the defending Super Bowl champs, the NFL betting odds opened as low as Cowboys -3 and were bombarded with action on the road team, moving this spread as high as -4.5. New England captured its second win of the season in Houston last Sunday but needed to dig itself out of a 22-9 second-half hole to do so.

Get our free NFL picks and predictions for Cowboys at Patriots on Sunday, October 17.

Cowboys vs Patriots odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Dallas opened as low as -3 when Week 6 odds hit the board Sunday night and that instantly got bet up to -3.5. Action continued to come in on the Cowboys, pushing this spread to -4 and as high as -4.5 at some shops at time of writing — and it wouldn’t be surprising to see bookies push this through the dead number of -5 and hit -6 if money on America’s Team remains steady heading into kickoff. The total opened at 48 points and has climbed to 49.5. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Cowboys vs Patriots picks

Picks made on 10/12/2021 at 1:04 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Cowboys vs Patriots game info

Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Date: Sunday, October 17, 2021
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET

Cowboys at Patriots betting preview


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Key injuries

Cowboys: Michael Gallup WR (Out), Dorance Armstrong DE (Out).
Patriots: Trent Brown T (Out), Shaq Mason G (Out), Shaun Wade CB (Out), Ronnie Perkins DE (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 8-1 in the Patriots' last nine home games. Find more NFL betting trends for Cowboys vs. Patriots.

Cowboys vs Patriots predictions

The best of the number is long gone for the red-hot Cowboys and while this road trip — and the approaching bye in Week 7 — make a little hesitant to lay the points, we can’t deny what Dallas is doing on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Cowboys’ attack is a puzzle... for even a brilliant defensive mind such as Bill Belichick.

Dak Prescott is making a push for MVP by using everyone around him, connecting with three different targets — Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and TE Dalton Schultz — for 24 receptions or more while finding other threats like Cedric Wilson, TE Blake Jarwin, and RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard for at least nine catches apiece. Those latter two have also combined for the second-best rushing offense in the NFL, rolling up almost 173 yards per game.

New England was able to weather the storm against the Bucs scoring prowess in Week 4, but that was a huge emotional matchup for a stop unit that ranks eighth in Pass Defense DVOA but 22nd against the run. The Cowboys’ mighty offensive line boasts a run block win rate of 75 percent (third in NFL) which is boosting the production to 5.3 yards per carry and a Rushing Offense DVOA ranked No. 3 at Football Outsiders.

As for Dallas’ defense, it’s time we start counting on those takeaways as a weekly occurrence. Interceptions and forced fumbles can often be tough to count on, but the Cowboys keep creating those game-changing plays and enter Week 6 with a league-high 10 interceptions. 

That’s bad news for a rookie QB likely pressed into passing more to keep pace with the Dallas offense. Mac Jones and the Pats offense have coughed the ball up nine times in five games — third-most in the league — including five INTs from the first-year passer.

New England’s defense is going to need some help from the offensive side of the ball. The Patriots will attempt to put Prescott & Co. on ice with a short, clock-chewing playbook and Jones will be very hesitant to throw much longer than 10 yards with the Cowboys’ ball-hawking secondary on the prowl.

Jones has an average of just five air yards per completion for a passing attack ranked 23rd in DVOA, completing 17 passes of 20 yards or more but not a single one of 40-plus (the only team in the NFL without at least one home run). Injuries to the offensive line will compound those issues, with less time in the pocket to allow bigger strikes to develop.

Beyond those game-changing takeaways, Dallas' defense is not great. It got let off the hook with New York losing its top QB, RB, and WR in Week 5 and has allowed 6.3 yards per play to foes so far in 2021. New England will grind out first downs and inch its way up the field, while keeping cautious of the Cowboys defensive playmakers.

Zeke may get the spotlight for this Dallas run game but Pollard has been just as productive on the ground — and through the air.

Pollard enters Week 6 off an impressive effort versus New York, collecting 103 total yards of offense. On the season, the Memphis product has 325 yards rushing along with 93 yards receiving but has just one touchdown on his resume.

Elliott is expected to play through a sore back and a tender knee in Week 6, however, if he’s at all slowed or protected, Pollard will pick up the slack against a New England defense that ranks dead last in red zone run defense DVOA.

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