The New England Patriots typically want to make opposing offenses beat them a certain way. There’s a wrench in that plan when it comes to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.
The Patriots defense doesn’t always look the same way every week, the 2023 version of New England still wants to make the opponent earn every single yard and finish every single drive. Taking away big plays down the field has long been a staple.
But here’s the thing: the 2023 Cowboys are just fine with that.
Three weeks in under new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and his West Coast-style system, the Cowboys have been willing and able to orchestrate long drives while also protecting the football. They lead the league in plays per drive at 7.7, with the fifth-lowest turnover rate (3.4 percent), according to Pro Football Reference.
Prescott has thrown just one interception so far, and that’s the Cowboys’ only giveaway so far this season, tying them with four other teams (49ers, Chargers, Packers, Seahawks) for the fewest in the league. Predictably, with a stingy offense and dynamic defense, the Cowboys lead the league in turnover differential (plus-6). If you’re curious, the Patriots are tied for 20th at minus-2.
So, how do the Patriots slow down an offense that can string plays together without turning it over? Would the Patriots defense take the usual approach against an offense that actually wants to play the way they want them to play?
There’s still a path for the Pats defense to do their thing in a quest to slow Dallas down. It just might look a little different than what they’ve shown so far in 2023. But they may have the personnel to pull it off.