NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS FACTS
This is the fifth time in the series that the two teams have met while in first place of their respective divisions. In such matchups, the ledger is an even split: 2-2.
The Cowboys have been 2-2 13 other times in franchise history. 5/13 of those teams made the playoffs.
Since 1990, 104/209 teams that started 3-2 made the postseason compared to 44/205 teams that started 2-3.
The Patriots have been 3-0 eight other times in club history. 4/8 of those teams made the postseason.
Since 1990, 127/196 teams that started 3-1 made the playoffs compared to 93/239 teams that started 2-2.
Since 2000, the Patriots are 45-15 against the NFC with a 22-8 record on the road.
The Patriots are making their first appearance at AT&T Stadium. First-time visitors are 14-13.
Since 1996, the last time the Cowboys were defending Super Bowl champions, Dallas is 3-6 against defending Super Bowl champions.
Since 2006, the Cowboys are 2-5 against teams with undefeated records of 3-0 or greater. Their last win was on Dec. 19, 2009 at New Orleans when they beat a 13-0 Saints team 24-17.
The 2015 Patriots are the 17th team coming off a Super Bowl win to start 3-0. None of the Cowboys five teams were able to accomplish that feat.
The Cowboys are 1-2 against the Patriots in the month of October.
TOM BRADY FACTS
Brady has a 3-0 record against the Cowboys as New England’s quarterback, the best in club history. Here is how he compares to other Patriots quarterbacks:
Tom Brady: 3-0
Drew Bledsoe: 1-1
Matt Cavanaugh: 0-1
Tony Eason: 0-1
Jim Plunkett: 0-2
Steve Grogan: 0-2
Brady has a 95.4 passer rating against the Cowboys, though he has posted sub-100 passer rating games twice against Dallas.
In three career games against the Cowboys, Brady has fumbled twice and lost one and also thrown two interceptions.
This is the first time since 2007 and the third time in his career Brady has had three straight 100-plus passer rating games to begin a season.
Brady has not thrown a regular season interception since Dec. 21, 2014 against the New York Jets, a four-game streak. Brady’s longest streak is 11 games from Oct. 24, 2010 to Jan. 2, 2011.
Brady is 6-4 in his first game in stadiums built since the year 2000.
Brady is 2-0 against Rod Marinelli’s defenses with a 100 passer rating. On average, he goes 27/39 for 337 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and takes 2.5 sacks.
Since 2002 (and excluding 2008 since Brady missed the whole year), the Patriots are 40-16 when they surrender three or more sacks versus 111-28 when surrender two or less.
Brady is 11-4 against the NFC East, including playoffs. The only teams to have beaten Brady are Washington and New York.
Brady is 126-11, including playoffs, when he has a 90-plus passer rating.
The Cowboys are 1/15 teams that Brady has committed a turnover against the resulted in a touchdown. On Oct. 14, 2007, Cowboys defensive end Greg Ellis strip-sacked Brady, and defensive end Jason Hatcher recovered the ball and scored a 29-yard touchdown.
The last time Brady threw a pick-six was on Sept. 29, 2014 when Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah picked off Brady for a 39-yard touchdown.
Since 2012, Brady has had fewer multi-pick games (five) than Weeden has had zero-touchdown games as a starter (nine).
Brady will play his 213th game Sunday against the Cowboys, tying him with tackle Bruce Armstrong for the most in team history. Brady and Armstrong were teammates on the 2000 Patriots as Brady made his rookie debut and Armstrong played his NFL season.
BRANDON WEEDEN FACTS
The Patriots run a 4-3 defense. Weeden is 2-9 against 4-3 defenses and has a 74.2 passer rating. On average, he goes 22/36 for 259 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and takes three sacks.
Weeden is 0-2 against defending Super Bowl champs.
Weeden posted a 105.6 passer rating last week against the Saints. He has never posted consecutive 100-plus passer rating games.
Weeden is 0-11 when his teams fail to get 100-plus yards rushing versus 5-6 when they do.
Last week was the first game since Sept. 15, 2013 that Weeden did not commit a turnover as a starter. Weeden, starter for the Cleveland Browns, also lost that previous game, a 14-6 defeat at Baltimore.
Last week was actually Weeden’s second-highest passer rating of his career and his best as a Cowboys starter: 105.6.
Weeden’s top-5 passer rating performances in his career as a starter have all been losses.
The last time Weeden put together two consecutive games without a turnover was in 2012 during Weeks 7-8 with the Cleveland Browns.
Weeden will be making his first start against the Patriots as a Cowboys quarterback. Here are the records of other Dallas signal callers:
Roger Staubach: 3-0
Danny White: 3-0
Troy Aikman: 1-1
Quincy Carter: 0-1
Tony Romo: 0-2
Weeden is 0-2 against the AFC East as a starter.
A lost Sunday would be the first time since the first five games of Weeden’s rookie season with Cleveland that he has had a three-game losing streak.
JASON GARRETT FACTS
With last week’s loss, Garrett untied himself with Bill Parcells to take sole possession of the most 2-2 starts in club history with four.
Garrett is 15-12 against Super Bowl-winning head coaches.
Garrett has a 9-6 record against the AFC with a 7-1 record at home.
Garrett is 0-1 against the Patriots all-time. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches:
Tom Landry: 6-0
Barry Switzer: 1-0
Chan Gailey: 0-1
Bill Parcells: 0-1
Wade Phillips: 0-1
Jason Garrett: 0-1
Garrett has never undergone a three-game losing streak since taking over for the Cowboys on Nov. 8, 2010. It would be just the third time since 2006 the club underwent a three-game skid, including playoffs.
Garrett is 15/24 on challenges. For 2015, he is 1/3, having lost his last two.
Garrett is actually a part of the Bill Belichick coaching tree. From 2005-06, Garrett was the quarterbacks coach under Nick Saban, head coach of the Miami Dolphins. From 1991-94, Saban was the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns under head coach Bill Belichick.
BILL BELICHICK FACTS
Bill Belichick’s first game as a head coach came against the Cowboys. Belichick’s Browns lost 26-14 in old Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
Belichick has a 4-1 record against the Cowboys.
3/5 of Belichick’s teams that started 3-0 made the playoffs. The only ones that didn’t were the ’02 Patriots and the ’93 Browns.
Belichick is 13-8 when coming off a bye week.
Belichick is 8-2 against quarterbacks from the 2012 draft class with all of that record coming against Andrew Luck (4-0) and Ryan Tannehill (4-2).
The Patriots have been 3-0 four times under Bill Belichick. 3/4 times they have improved to 4-0 ('04, '07, '13). The only time they did not was in 2002.
Belichick is 39/99 on challenges for his career though he is currently lost the past five challenges over a three-season span.
Belichick is 1/3 Super Bowl-winning head coaches to have been a defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. The other two are Bill Parcells and Tom Landry, also Cowboys head coaches.
Since CBS took over the AFC package, the Dallas Cowboys are 20-13 on that network. Overall, the Dallas Cowboys are 287-189-6 on CBS.
Since the AFC went to CBS in 1998, the Cowboys have won their full complement of AFC home games on CBS five times: 2002, 2006, 2008, 2011-12, and 2014.
The Cowboys are 17-8 when Jim Nantz calls their games, playoffs included.
Dallas is 18-14 when Phil Simms calls their games, including postseason.
The Cowboys are 2-1 against the Patriots on CBS. Here is the breakdown by network:
CLETE BLAKEMAN FACTS
This Sunday’s referee is Clete Blakeman. The Cowboys have a 2-2 record when Blakeman referees their games. Here are the results:
2010 – JAX, 17-35 – L
2012 – PIT, 27-24 – W-OT
2014 – @Rams, 34-31 – W
2014 – PHI, 10-33 – L
The Cowboys have won the penalty battle 2/4 times with Blakeman:
2010 – JAX: 6/36; DAL: 3/20
2012 – PIT: 0/0; DAL: 8/61
2014 – Rams: 8/119; DAL: 3/15
2014 – PHI: 4/20; DAL: 6/42
Blakeman falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to home team winning percentage in 2015:
Ed Hochuli: 1.000
Bill Vinovich: 1.000
John Parry: .750
Carl Cheffers: .750
Terry McAulay: .750
Jeff Triplette: .750
Walt Coleman: .667
Tony Corrente: .667
Gene Steratore: .500
Clete Blakeman: .500
Jerome Boger: .500
Ron Torbert: .500
Walt Anderson: .333
Brad Allen: .333
Pete Morelli: .333
Craig Wrolstad: .250
John Hussey: .000
Blakeman is tied with two other referees for the highest rate of the home team having fewer penalties in 2015:
Terry McAulay: 1.000
Clete Blakeman: .750
Craig Wrolstad: .750
Bill Vinovich: .750
Brad Allen: .667
Walt Coleman: .667
Carl Cheffers: .500
Jeff Triplette: .500
Ed Hochuli: .500
John Parry: .500
Tony Corrente: .333
Pete Morelli: .333
Walt Anderson: .333
Jerome Boger: .250
Gene Steratore: .250
John Hussey: .000
Ron Torbert: .000
The Patriots are 1-3 when Blakeman referees their games. Here are the results:
2010 – @CLE, 14-34 – L
2011 – KC, 34-3 – W
2012 – @SEA, 23-24 – L
2013 – @CAR, 20-24 – L
New England has won the penalty battle 3/4 times with Blakeman. Here are the results:
2010 – CLE: 4/28; NE: 3/20
2011 – KC: 5/34; NE: 3/20
2012 – SEA: 4/35; NE: 6/80
2013 – CAR: 7/47; NE: 5/50
With Blakeman under the hood, the Cowboys are 2/3 on challenges with the opposition going 1/3. Replay Assistant is 3/9 with only one call benefiting the Cowboys.
The Patriots are 0/1 on challenges under Blakeman. Replay Assistant is 0/5 with four of those calls benefiting New England.
Cowboys tight end coach Mike Pope was a running backs and tight ends coach for New England from 1994-95.
Pope and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick famously worked together on Bill Parcells’ New York Giants from 1983-90. Pope coached tight ends as Belichick was a linebackers, special teams coach and eventually defensive coordinator.
Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson played for Bill Belichick twice in his career: once with the 1996 Patriots where Belichick was defensive coordinator, and then from 1997-98 when Belichick was defensive coordinator for the Jets.
Henderson was also a member of the Patriots from 1991-93, connecting him with running backs coach Ivan Fears, who was the receivers coach in his first stint from 1991-92.
Dallas strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik served in the same capacity for the Patriots under Belichick from 2000-10. Because of this, Woicik is also connected to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (assistant, various capacities: 2001-08), receivers coach Chad O’Shea (incumbent: 2009-10), tight ends coach Brian Daboll (assistant, various capacities: 2000-06), defensive coordinator Matt Patricia (assistant, various capacities: 2004-present), linebackers coach Pat Graham (2009-present), cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer (assistant, various capacities: 2006-present), safeties coach Brian Flores (assistant, various capacities: 2004-present), and strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash (assistant strength and conditioning coach: 2005-10).
Woicik is doubly connected to Fears through the University of Syracuse as well as the Patriots. The two worked together at Syracuse from 1981-89 where Woicik was the strength and conditioning coach and Fears was the receivers coach. With the Patriots from 2000-10, Woicik was again the strength and conditioning coach as Fears coach receivers and later running backs.
Daboll also has connections to Henderson with the Jets from 2007-08 where Daboll was the quarterbacks coach while Henderson was the secondary coach. From 2009-10, Daboll worked again with Henderson, who was again secondary coach, while Daboll was offensive coordinator. With the Browns during those two seasons, Daboll worked with running backs coach Gary Brown (running backs, 2009-12), linebackers coach Matt Eberflus (linebackers, 2009-10), defensive assistant Ben Bloom (defensive assistant, 2009-10), and assistant Keith O’Quinn (director of player personnel, 2009).
New England assistant special teams coach Raymond Ventrone has a myriad of connections to the Cowboys staff that came during his career as an NFL safety. His first is with Woicik from 2005-06 and 2007-08. His second is with Henderson with the Jets in the 2007 off-season where Henderson was Ventrone’s position coach. His third is again with Henderson with the Cleveland Browns from 2009-12. His fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh are also with the Browns in the same span, connecting him to Brown, Eberflus, Bloom, and O’Quinn.
The Patriots defense is fifth in the league with 13 sacks, but are second in the league in sack percentage with 11.4 percent per dropback.
The Patriots defense has a 90.2 passer rating for opposing quarterbacks, the 13th-lowest in the league.
The Cowboys have six sacks through four games, tied for the third-fewest through the team’s first four games to begin a season. One of the year’s 2015 is tied with is 2009, which turned out to be the fifth-most sacks in a season in club history with 43.
Opposing quarterbacks going against the Dallas defense have combined for a 92.7 passer rating, the 15th-lowest in the NFL.
Sean Lee has picked off Brady once before in the clubs’ Oct. 16, 2011 meeting at Gillette Stadium.
The Cowboys are 18-18 when Sean Lee plays versus 22-12 when he does not.
Linebacker Rolando McClain is making his 2015 Cowboys debut Sunday. In his only career game against the Patriots on Oct. 2, 2011, McClain recorded seven tackles and had a pass breakup as Oakland lost 31-19 to New England.
Dallas is 10-5 when McClain plays versus 5-2 without him.
Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr’s first game against the New England Patriots was on Sept. 7, 2008 with the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady blew out his knee after completing a 26-yard pass to receiver Randy Moss, who fumbled the ball. Carr recovered the loose football.
Carr has recorded seven tackles and a fumble recovery in his two career games against New England.
Carr hasn’t had an interception in the last 26 games, the longest drought of his career. The last time Carr intercepted a pass was on Nov. 28, 2013 against the Oakland Raiders on Thanksgiving.
In 2010, through a series of trades, the Cowboys ended up swapping their 27th pick overall for the Patriots' 24th pick overall. Dallas took receiver Dez Bryant and New England took defensive back Devin McCourty. The Patriots have never taken a first-round receiver since then while the Cowboys have taken two first-round defensive backs.
In the 2009 NFL Draft, the Cowboys took Oklahoma receiver Manuel Johnson with the 229 pick in the seventh round. Three picks later, the Patriots took Julian Edelman. Johnson was out of football after Sept. 3, 2011 while Edelman has been a stable receiving presence with New England since his rookie year.
Defensive end Greg Hardy is making his Cowboys debut Sunday against the Patriots. In his only career meeting against New England on Nov. 18, 2013 while with Carolina, Hardy sacked Brady once and recorded five tackles. He also earned a 15-yard facemask penalty. The Panthers prevailed 24-20.
This is the second time in Rod Marinelli’s career as a head coach and defensive coordinator that his defenses failed to produce a turnover through two straight weeks. The last time it happened was with the 2011 Chicago Bears from Week 13-14. The streak was snapped with a five-takeaway performance against the Minnesota Vikings in a 40-14 win.
For the eighth time in his career, Jason Witten leads the Cowboys in catches through the first four games.
Witten’s 25 catches lead all NFL tight ends with former Cowboy Martellus Bennett coming in second with 24.
Witten’s 25 catches are the second-most catches he has had through 25 games in his career. In 2008 and 2011, he had 27 each through the first four games.
The most catches Rob Gronkowski has had through the first four games are 19 in 2012.
Gronkowski has gone against the Tampa-2 six times in his career. On average, he catches four balls for 44 yards and a touchdown.
The last time Gronkowski played against the Cowboys on Oct. 16, 2011, he caught all seven of his targets for 74 yards.
Patriots backup tight end Scott Chandler was with the Cowboys for nine games in 2010 and was not targeted once. Since then, he has played in 77 games with Buffalo and New England, catching 188 passes for 2,169 yards and 18 touchdowns. Since 2011, six Cowboys reserve tight ends have combined for 81 catches for 729 yards and nine touchdowns.
Through the first four games, the Cowboys offensive line has surrendered eight sacks, the same number as last season. Since 2009, the line has given up an average of eight sacks through the first four games.
Dan Bailey has started the first four games with a perfect field goal percentage for the third time in his career. The past two times he has missed his first field goal in the team’s fifth game.
Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has not missed an extra point since the final game of his rookie year in 2006.
The Cowboys are 6-1-1 on 10/11. Here are the results:
1964 – NYG, 13-13 – T
1970 – ATL, 13-0 – W
1971 – NYG, 20-13 – W
1981 – @SF, 14-45 – L
1987 – PHI, 41-22 – W
1992 – SEA, 27-0 – W
1998 – CAR, 27-20 – W
2009 – @KC, 26-20 – W-OT
The Cowboys only have one birthday to celebrate on Oct. 11, and that is defensive tackle Henry Melton, who was born in 1986. Melton played all 16 games for Dallas, starting in three of them, and recording five sacks and 11 tackles.