The New England Patriots are back after a week off to travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in a Sunday evening game.
This game might get ugly just because the Cowboys are certainly asking for it. The Pats probably already thought Jerry Jones was one of the “powerful owners pushing Roger Goodell to uphold Tom Brady’s suspension,” and now you add Greg Hardy and Jerry Jones comments on top of that, you get nice bulletin board material for the Pats. Also, a report today came out that the Cowboys banned filming from reporters or anyone at their open practice yesterday, with the Pats coming up on Sunday. It’s like they are begging to get beat by more than 30 points.
Here are the three players for the Patriots that are key to New England winning on Sunday.
1. DT Akiem Hicks
There is a reason the Patriots traded for him and it’s called run defense. He’s a huge guy who can help plug up the holes for the middle of the Patriots defense, something they really need. Hicks, Branch, and Brown all need to do their job on Sunday to stop the Cowboys rushing attack behind the best OL in the NFL. The Cowboys are a run first and often team, so taking the run out will win the game for the Patriots.
2. TE Rob Gronkowski
The Cowboys are 25th against the pass and tight ends, so obviously Gronk could go crazy against Dallas. That will be huge because when the big guy is rolling the offense is hard to stop.
3. OL Nate Solder
Solder has a big job Sunday, keep Greg Hardy off of Tom Brady. It’s easier said than done. If he keeps Hardy at bay, Brady should have time to slice and dice the Dallas defense.