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The big question is: Can the Patriots stop the Cowboys?

The big question is: Can the Patriots stop the Cowboys?

FOXBOROUGH Where do you begin when assessing the Dallas Cowboys' high-flying, explosive offense?

Matthew Judon, the Patriots outside linebacker, said Wednesday that the team is No. 1 or 2 in almost every category. Theyre scoring a lot of points. Are they the No. 1 in scoring?

The Cowboys are actually ranked second in the NFL in scoring, scoring 170 points through five games. With 172, only the Buffalo Bills have more than them.

However, Judon is right: Dallas ranks at the top of the league in several important metrics, including touchdowns (tied first, 21), total yards (second, 2,198), rushing yards (864), third-down conversion percentage ( second, 51.6), and average yards per play (third, 6.5).

This is probably our biggest challenge to date, Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo stated.

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Kellen Moore, the Cowboys offensive coordinator, made his intentions clear during the first team meeting of the offseason when, according to running back Ezekiel Elliot, he told the group that their goal is to be the leagues No. 1 offense.

The week has been off to a wonderful start.

Dak Prescott, who suffered a season-ending compound fracture and dislocation to his right ankle last year, is playing some of his best football of career. In completion percentage (second, 73.9), quarterback rating (third, 116.9), and passing touchdowns (tied third, 13), hes among the league's top performers this season.

The guy throwing the ball has a lot of resilience, as you can tell, coming back from what he went through last year, Patriots linebacker Donta Hightower said. Hes been fantastic, inside the pocket, outside the pockets, making decisions and stuff, said Brown.

Judon stated, Hes good at reading defenses, and here getting the ball out of his hands quickly. I dont know if its Dak making his wide receivers look good or wide receiving receiver Dan Dakar making Da Ketch look great, but it is working.

Prescotts weapons are aplenty, with wide receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, tight end Dalton Schultz, and running backs Elliot and Tony Pollard among them. The offensive line, which is anchored by two veterans in guard Zack Martin and tackle Tyron Smith, is also impressive.

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Cooper and Lamb both have over 300 yards of receiving yards, and Schultz leads the team with 26 receptions. Each has caught at least one pass of 30 yards or more.

Its fantastic to be on an offense so talented, Lamb said after their win over the Giants. We have so many offensive weapons and we feel like we can score from any angle. Anytime on the field its as if were in the strike zone.

The Patriots defense will have to bounce back against the Cowboys sooner than it did against them on Sunday, when rookie Davis Mills threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns.

Mills burned New Englands secondary on three plays of significant yardage: a 67-yard touchdown, sand-flicker touchdown and re-ception of 57 yards on fourth down.

The return of defensive back Jalen Mills, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury, will be crucial. Joejuan Williams, a third-year cornerback who is expected to play in the NFL in 2016, was eventually benched after giving up multiple major wins.

Cornerback J.C. Jackson and Mills, if available, will most likely be charged with controlling Cooper and Lamb. If the Patriots adopt a similar strategy as they did to restrict the Buccaneers to 19 points, each defensive back will shadow 'a receiver, la how Jackson played against Mike Evans, Jonathan Jones against Antonio Brown, and Mills against Chris Godwin.

Mills was once again limited during Wednesdays practice, as were safety Kyle Dugger (hamstring) and cornerback Joe (ankle).

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Jones said the Patriots needed to demonstrate greater awareness and will work to develop better situational football to eliminate Prescotts comments. Judon also stressed the importance of stopping the run and playing physical to make the offense as one-dimensional as possible.

The Patriots will have their work cut out for them in almost all areas of Dallas offense, according to the report.

[The Cowboys] have a terrific run game to complement the pass game, said outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick. You turn them on and are like, Oh, I love them. This is a problem, and thats causing it. This is a problem, and that is also he. So, how are we going to combat that, make it tough, and do what we need to do?

Coach Bill Belichick echoed his sentiments, saying, Were going to have to play our best game. Thats what were getting ready to do right now, said the Prime Minister.

Nicole Yang can be reached at

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