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Pats keep Cowboys out of the end zone — 5:33 p.m.

Jonathan Jones, who has returned from a stint on the sidelines,  showed great technique a moment ago knocking away a possible touchdown pass on a key third-down play, forcing the Cowboys to settle for a 30-yard field goal. It’s 14-10 New England with 6:39 to go in the first half.

Cowboys get the ball back — 5:26 p.m.

A pair of bad back-to-back plays for New England: First, a James Ferentz penalty nullified Jakobi Meyers’ first career touchdown reception. On the next play, the Dallas pass rush got to Mac Jones, knocking the ball out and forcing the turnover. A tough series of events for an offense that had been playing well to this point in the afternoon. Dallas gets the ball at its own 48 — it’s 14-7 New England with 10:05 to go in the first half.

Big interception for Dugger — 5:17 p.m.

HUGE stand there by the New England defense, as Kyle Dugger picked off a tipped ball in the Dallas end zone, giving the ball back to the Patriots — after a nice return, New England will get the ball at its own 25-yard line with just under 13 minutes left in the first half. A bend-but-don’t-break special there for New England.

In other news, cornerback Jonathan Jones (ribs) is questionable to return. Without Joejuan Williams (healthy scratch) and Shaun Wade (concussion) in the lineup this afternoon, it’s a very dicey situation for the New England secondary, as special teamer Justin Bethel — who tipped the ball that led to the Dugger pick — is now the Patriots No. 3 corner.

First quarter is done — 5:10 p.m.

Patriots are up, 14-7, but the Cowboys are driving:

Mac Jones: 4-for-4, 65 yards, 1 TD

Damien Harris: 2 carries, 25 yards

Rhamondre Stevenson: 2 catches, 25 yards

Dak Prescott: 13-for-14, 161 yards, 1 TD

Amari Cooper: 3 catches, 42 yards

Zeke Elliott: 6 carries, 9 yards

Flag day for Cowboys — 5:04 p.m.

The Cowboys have been flagged for five penalties with just under two minutes left in the first half. I’d make a joke about a Cowboy shooting himself in the foot, but it’s almost too obvious.

Pats’ offense red-hot early — 4:56 p.m.

Rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson got that series started with a pair of impressive catches, one for 13 and another for 23 yards. Trevon Diggs picked up a DPI, and given a golden situation, Jones found Hunter Henry for a 20-yard touchdown. Another red-zone touchdown! The extra point was good, and it’s 14-7 with 4:50 to go in the first quarter. I’m not sure this pace is sustainable for the Patriots — they’ve run seven plays and have two touchdowns — but it’s an excellent start on offense, regardless. Overall, Jones is 4-4 for 65 yards and a touchdown, while Stevenson has two catches for 36 yards and Damien Harris has two carries for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Dallas answers to tie the game — 4:48 p.m.

Good example of the quick-strike abilities of the Dallas offense there. A super-aggressive series of plays from the Cowboys — who got back-to-back first downs to get the series started — took just seven plays and went 75 yards in 3:37 to tie the game at seven. Prescott went 6-for-6 on that drive, finding five different pass catchers along the way. (Overall, Dak is 8-for-8 for 98 yards and a touchdown so far.) Easy to see that the comfort level in this one for the Patriots’ defense is going to be pretty close to zero from start to finish.

Strong start for New England — 4:40 p.m.

Not sure the Patriots could have had a better start, getting top-notch contributions in all three phases. First, the defense got a terrific fourth-down stop, setting up the offense with good field position at the Dallas 34-yard line. Mac Jones and the Patriots then punched it in after three plays; Damien Harris had a gain of 21 yards, and Jonnu Smith caught a 9-yarder right after that. They topped it off with a direct snap to Harris for a 4-yard touchdown — a red-zone touchdown! Nick Folk delivered the extra point, and it’s 7-0 with 10:20 to go in the first quarter. Excellent beginning for New England.

Pats stop Dallas on fourth down — 4:34 p.m.

Not a great start for J.C. Jackson, who yielded a pair of early completions, but that was mollified by a pair of impressive stops right after that. First, Matt Judon (and others) held up Zeke Elliott on third-and-short, and Dont’a Hightower (and others) stuffed Elliott on a fourth-and-short play. Good start for New England, which will now take over at the 34-yard line.

Pats defer, will kick — 4:24 p.m.

New England will kick it off. Time for football

Official Price Prediction — 4:11 p.m.

As far as this afternoon is concerned, I think Dallas wins — just barely. A late field goal, an untimely turnover, or something similar. The Patriots will play well — and slow the game down, much like they were able to do against the Buccaneers — but will come upon just short. New England has a small margin for error this afternoon, and the only way the Patriots can pull it off is to get some sort of special teams magic. (blocked punt, return for touchdown, etc.) Ultimately, we’ll see a Mac Jones touchdown pass and a Matt Judon sack, but I still think the Cowboys win, 23-20.

How will Pats handle OL today? — 3:59 p.m.

According to those at the stadium, the Patriots’ starting offensive line in warmups looks like this:

LT: Justin Herron

LG: James Ferentz

C: David Andrews

RG: Ted Karras

RT: Yodny Cajuste

That’s the same group that started against the Texans last week. If they roll out together to open the game, it’ll be the second time all season the Patriots have had any sort of game-to-game consistency up front. (They had the same lineup for Games 3 and 4 earlier in the season.) In addition, I’m curious to see just how much time usual starters Mike Onwenu (left guard) and Isaiah Wynn (left tackle) see in their return from the COVID-19 list.

Jerry Jones is in the house — 3:50 p.m.

A few stats to look for this week — 3:43 p.m.

•Nick Folk enters this week’s game with 299 career field goals and needs one more to become the 35th NFL player to reach 300 career field goals. He would become the fifth active kicker to reach 300 career field goals.

•Matthew Judon can become the seventh New England player with a streak of at least five straight games with a sack and the first Patriots player to do so since Chandler Jones accomplished the feat in 2015.

•If Jakobi Meyers completes a pass this week, he would become the first wide receiver in franchise history to complete more than two passes in a single season. Julian Edelman completed two passes in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and Harold Jackson completed two passes in 1980.

•If Mac Jones completes 70 percent of his passes against Dallas, he will become the first rookie quarterback to ever complete 70 percent of his passes in five of his first six games.

Our team is in place — 3:30 p.m.

You guys say New England will win a close one — 3:28 p.m.

How will Pats fare today as a home underdog? — 3:22 p.m.

For the most part, the line for this one has stayed consistent, as Dallas has been anywhere between a 3.5-point and a 4-point favorite, which feels a little much. I think there’s the very real chance this week that the Cowboys beat the Patriots, but fail to cover. With the exception of the Saints game, New England has been in every game it has played this year, and this afternoon will be no different. The over/under is anywhere between 50 and 50.5, and despite the fact that it’s a near-perfect day weather-wise (which should lend itself to offense), I think we’re still looking at the under. A few betting stats, courtesy of our pals at Odds Shark (love that first one):

New England is 13-2 against the spread in its last 15 home games as an underdog.

Dallas is 5-0 against the spread this season.

The total has gone under in five of Dallas’ last five games when playing on the road against New England.

Dallas are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games against New England.

And a little more info from this morning from our buddy Patrick Everson:

No weather issues in the forecast — 3:15 p.m.

Looking at an amazing day for football — per weather.com, temps will be in the high 50s to low 60s, with partially cloudy skies and almost no chance for precipitation. There should be a decent gust of wind from the west, but that appears to be the only wrinkle in the forecast for today’s game.

No surprises among Cowboys inactives — 3:10 p.m.

Wynn, Herron among the actives for Patriots — 3:05 p.m.

The following players are out for today’s game against the Cowboys:

Guard Shaq Mason (abdomen) was ruled out on Friday. Mason, who remains one of the most durable linemen in the league over the last few seasons, will miss his second consecutive game. I’d expect the Patriots to lean on some combination of Ted Karras and James Ferentz at the guard spot, both of whom did well to stabilize an offensive line that was wracked by injury last week in Houston.

Cornerback Shaun Wade (concussion) has had a lousy stretch of luck to open his New England career. Initially, he took multiple healthy scratches, but a head injury has left him sidelined this week. Jalen Mills, who has been slowed by a hamstring issue (he was limited all week), should continue to get the bulk of the reps opposite J.C. Jackson, but Wade’s continued absence leaves them a little thin at corner.

Cornerback Joejuan Williams wasn’t on the injury report all week, which means he’s a healthy scratch. Not a great sign for Williams, especially when you consider just how thin the Patriots are at cornerback. As is the case with Wade’s absence, this likely means that Mills is feeling better than expected.

Running back J.J. Taylor (groin) has had his issues with ball security (he fumbled in the rain against the Bucs), which led to a healthy scratch. But he popped up on the injury report as a limited participant on Friday, and was listed as questionable. It likely means more Brandon Bolden in the running game than initially expected.

Linebacker Ronnie Perkins (ankle) has been a healthy scratch on multiple occasions this season, but an ankle issue left him questionable all week, and inactive for today’s game against the Cowboys.

Tight end Devin Asiasi will take another healthy scratch — the youngster is still in the long shadow of veterans Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

Among the notables who are active include running back Damien Harris, who missed practice Wednesday and was limited on Thursday and Friday with a rib issue, as well as offensive linemen Justin Herron (back) and Isaiah Wynn. Wynn returns after being placed on the Covid-19 reserve list Oct. 5 and returning Saturday. Wynn has not practiced in several days, so It’ll be interesting to see how many snaps he might get this afternoon. Bottom line? After a rough start, New England’s tackle position could finally be starting to build some depth.

Pregame reading list — 2:40 p.m.

Best way to get gameday started:

Nicole Yang: Patriots get Isaiah Wynn back, but have more shuffling along offensive line with Trent Brown and Shaq Mason unavailable

Nicole Yang: Patriots patchwork offensive line still in a state of flux

Chad Finn: Cowboys-Patriots looks like a mismatch, but this season has not been predictable

Ben Volin’s Sunday Notes: Russell Wilson’s injury leaves the struggling Seahawks at a crossroads

Jim McBride: Kendrick Bourne gives Patriots a welcome boost of energy on practice field

Khari Thompson: Four Cowboys to watch against the Patriots in Week 6

Nicole Yang: The Cowboys are explosive on offense. The big question: Can the Patriots contain them?

Jim McBride: Brandon Bolden has stepped in to give Patriots backfield a steady veteran presence

Jim McBride: Numbers don’t tell the story of Dont’a Hightower’s contributions to Patriots

Jim McBride: Presto! Texans’ trick play went up in smoke against alert Patriots

After a wild week of baseball, it’s time to get back to football. This afternoon, we’ve got the Patriots hosting the Cowboys, with kickoff set for 4:20 p.m. It promises to be a compelling game, as Dallas looks to get to 5-1, while New England is hoping to improve to 3-3 on the year. We’ll have all the action here, including the usual pregame fun — inactive analysis, the latest betting information, updates from the stadium, news from around the league, a prediction that’s guaranteed to be wrong, and much more. So grab a coffee and let’s get started.


Christopher Price can be reached at christopher.price@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.





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