After dropping the first seven matchups to Dallas, New England has won two in a row.
The undefeated Patriots forced the Browns into four turnovers and scored more than 30 points for the fifth straight week in a 34-17 win. Just like New England, Dallas also improved to 5-0, but it did so in a much more dramatic way. Despite committing six turnovers, allowing three touchdowns on returns (two INTs and one kickoff) and trailing by eight with only 20 seconds left, the Cowboys still found a way to win. Nick Folk's 53-yard field goal as time expired gave Dallas an unlikely 25-24 victory at Buffalo.
Even though they are unbeaten, a win is still very important to the Patriots in the standings. With Indianapolis also unblemished, New England does not want to give ground in the race for homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. As the only undefeated team in the NFC, Dallas also could use a victory to strengthen its hold on the conference.
Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware vs. Patriots LT Nick Kaczur.
Aside from a much-improved receiving corps, the main reason Tom Brady is enjoying his best season so far is the impeccable protection the offensive line has provided. Brady has been sacked only three times and has rarely been pressured. Conversely, the Cowboys are 11th in the NFL with 12 sacks, and coach Wade Phillips makes getting to the quarterback a priority. Dallas' leader in sacks is Ware, who has four. The task of slowing down Ware's pass rush falls to Kaczur, a part-time starter until this season. Ware's ability to beat Kaczur could prove the differene. If he can hurry Brady from the blind-side and disrupt the timing of the Patriots' aerial attack, then Dallas' chances of knocking New England from the ranks of the unbeaten greatly increase.