On paper, the New England Patriots offense pales in comparison to the Dallas Cowboys'. But through the first three weeks of the 2023 NFL season, Mac Jones and Co. have a clear advantage in one important category.
While Dallas' red-zone offense has been a major issue, New England's has actually shown improvement over last year. As ESPN's Mike Reiss points out, the Patriots have scored touchdowns on five of their seven red-zone trips so far this season. The Cowboys have gotten inside the 20-yard line on 15 occasions, but they've only been able to score TDs on six of those possessions.
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The Patriots enter Week 4 ranked sixth in the NFL in touchdown percentage. The Cowboys are tied with the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints for 27th.
If the Cowboys' red-zone woes continue in Sunday's matchup, it could be the difference. That was the case in their stunning Week 3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals as they scored only one TD in five trips inside the 20.
But even with the edge in red-zone efficiency, the Patriots will face an uphill battle against a fearsome Cowboys defense. Their glaring lack of downfield passing has made getting to the red zone a chore. Their seven red-zone possessions through three weeks tie the Cardinals and Carolina Panthers for 30th in the league.
New England Patriots
The good news for New England's passing attack is it won't have to worry about two-time Pro Bowler Trevon Diggs. Dallas' ballhawk cornerback is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in practice last week. That's a big break for Jones, who will need to air it out far more than he has in order to keep up with the Cowboys' explosive offense.
Despite Diggs' absence, the Cowboys enter the Week 4 showdown as seven-point favorites, according to Fanatics Sportsbook. Kickoff on Sunday is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium.