By Alex MacDougall
BU News Service
The Patriots and the Cowboys are the two most valuable franchises in the NFL, with the Cowboys valued at $5.5 billion and the Patriots at $4.1 billion. Though the Cowboys are worth an extra billion dollars more, there is a crucial difference between them: The Patriots have been to the Super Bowl 10 times since 1996, while the Cowboys haven’t been there once in that same time span.
But history aside, this week’s matchup between the two teams, both occupying first place in their respective divisions, promised to be an intriguing matchup. The Cowboys have the top-ranked offense, carrying several offensive weapons such as Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliot and wide receiver Amari Cooper, while the Patriots wield the top-ranked defense in the league.
But the Patriots defense had a valuable ally to assist them in this game, which arguably led to their eventual victory. That would be the cold, dreary New England weather, with wind and rain permeating throughout the entirety of the game. It makes the ball slip and hard to pass and it clearly had an effect on the Cowboys, who were held without a touchdown for the game. Prescott only passed for 212 yards, while Cooper failed to catch a single ball. Patriots’ special teams also came up huge, blocking a punt which eventually led to a score, as well as Nick Folk making enough field goals to keep the Patriots ahead (though he also missed two).
Though the Patriots receiving corps have been diminished thanks to injury, newer players have stepped into their roles, with former undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers catching four balls for 79 yards and rookie receiver N’Keal Harry scoring the only touchdown of the game. Then of course, there was Julian Edelman, who led the team in receiving and came up with several crucial catches to keep drives alive and the Cowboys’ offense off the field.
Towards the end of the game, with the Cowboys trailing 13-9, they attempted a heroic late game drive, but were stifled by a tripping penalty and an Amari Cooper catch on fourth down which was later reversed to be a no-catch, giving the Patriots the ball back. Thus, the Patriots emerged from the blustering rain the victors of this matchup and a 10-1 overall record.
Next week, the Patriots take on the other team from Texas, the Houston Texans, who also have an impressive offense. But while this game was played at home under grisly weather, this game will take place in Houston, in the comfort of the indoor RNG stadium. Whether or not this will make a difference in how the defense performs, however, remains to be seen.