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Game Preview: Patriots at Cowboys

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3-0) at DALLAS COWBOYS (2-2)
Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, 4:25 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium (80,000)

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The New England Patriots return from their bye week and will look to start the season with a 4-0 record for the eighth time in team history and for the first time since 2013. The Patriots have started the year with a 4-0 record three other times in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era (2004, 2007 and 2013).

Tom Brady will look to become just the third quarterback in NFL history with at least four 4-0 starts to a season in NFL history. Fran Tarkenton started 4-0 four times in his career and Peyton Manning now has seven 4-0 starts to a season.

The Patriots will make their first visit to AT&T Stadium, which opened in 2009. Since re-alignment in 2002, the Patriots have the best inter-conference record in the NFL, touting a 42-10 mark vs. NFC teams. Pittsburgh is second with a 37-16-1 record, while Indianapolis is third at 34-18.

The Patriots also have the best October record since 2000. New England is an NFL-best 45-16 in October since 2000, including a 27-4 mark at home and 18-12 on the road.

Dallas is one of eight teams that Tom Brady has an undefeated regular-season record against as a starting quarterback. Brady is 3-0 as a starter against the Cowboys.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

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TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ TV Channel 4 in Boston. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Phil Simms as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfson will work the sidelines.The game will be produced by Lance Barrow and directed by Mike Arnold.

NATIONAL RADIO:This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience on Westwood One Sports. John Sadak and Mark Malone will call the game.

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socciwill call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. Produced by Marc Cappello.

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys will meet for the 12th time in team history and the first since the Patriots beat Dallas, 20-16 on Oct. 16, 2011 at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots will travel to Dallas for the first time since 2007 and make their first ever visit to AT&T Stadium, which opened in 2009.

The Cowboys hold a 7-4 series lead, including 3-3 in Foxborough and 4-1 in Dallas.

The Cowboys won the first seven games of the series from 1971-1996, but the Patriots have claimed victories in the last four games. The Patriots first win against Dallas was a 13-6 decision at Foxboro Stadium on Dec. 5, 1999. The series dates back to 1971, when the Cowboys beat the Patriots in the first game ever played at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas.

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SERIES BREAKDOWN

Overall Record, 4-7

Record in New England, 3-3
Record in Foxboro Stadium, 1-3
Record in Gillette Stadium, 2-0

Record in Dallas, 1-4

Bill Belichick vs. Dallas, 4-1 (3-0 with New England)

Jason Garrett vs. New England, 0-1

PASSING PERFORMANCES
Tom Brady is scheduled to start at quarterback against Dallas for the fourth time in his career. He has a 3-0 record against the Cowboys.

PATRIOTS VS. NFC
The Patriots have been successful against NFC teams in recent seasons, compiling a 45-11 (.803) regular-season record against the conference since 2001. Including the postseason, the Patriots are 49-13 (.790) against the NFC with a 4-2 Super Bowl record since 2001.

The Patriots were 3-1 against the NFC last season, beating Chicago (51- 23) and Detroit (34-9) at home and Minnesota on the road (30-7) before losing at Green Bay (21-26).

The Patriots are 10-2 against the NFC East in the regular season since realignment in 2002. The Patriots only losses were a 20-17 defeat at Washington in 2003 and a 24-20 loss at home against the New York Giants. The Patriots have squared off against the NFC East in three seasons, finishing 3-1 in 2003, 4-0 in 2007 and 3-1 in 2011.

In addition to this week's game against Dallas, the Patriots will host the Washington Redskins on Nov. 8, travel to the New York Giants on Nov. 15 and host the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 6.

Taking a look at some of the connections between the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys.

CONNECTIONS

NEW ENGLAND TIES

  • Cowboys CB Byron Jones attended St Paul Catholic HS in Bristol, Conn., where he was a two-sport athlete in football and track and field. He later attended Connecticut from 2011-14, where he recorded 223 total tackles, eight interceptions and two touchdowns.
  • Cowboys offensive assistant Marc Colombo hails from Bridgewater, Mass., and played on the offensive line for four years at Boston College, where he earned All-Big East conference honors as a senior in 2001 playing both tackle positions for an offense that produced 4,361 yards and ranked in the top-20 nationally in rushing.
  • Cowboys G Mackenzy Bernadeau attended Waltham High School, before moving on to Bentley University in his hometown of Waltham, Mass., where he started 37 games before suffering a knee injury in the sixth game of his senior season. He is the second Bentley player to ever be drafted and the only one to make an NFL roster.
  • Cowboys strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik graduated from Westwood High School in Westwood, Mass., before attending Boston College where he earned a bachelor's degree in history. He continued his education at Springfield (Mass.) College where he earned his master's in physical education.

DALLAS TIES

  • Patriots CB Tarell Brown attended North Mesquite (Texas) HS, 20 minutes east of Dallas, where he was a three-year starter at CB and two-year starter at RB, rushing for 3,011 yards and 42 TDs in his final two seasons. Later, Brown attended Texas, where he finished his career with 169 tackles, three interceptions, one sack, one fumble recovery, two forced fumbles and 20 passes defensed. Also amassed 315 yards on 17 kickoff returns. As part of Texas' 2005-06 National Championship Team his senior year, Brown did not allow any TD catches and his main pass coverage assignments had just three catches for over 20 yards during his 11 starts.
  • Patriots TE Scott Chandler was an all-district and honorable mention and all-state as a senior at Southlake Carroll HS, 30 miles northwest of Dallas. Chandler helped his team to a 16-0 record and the Class 5A Division II state title by catching 68 passes for 1,203 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior.
  • Patriots LB Rufus Johnson played in 20 games with 19 starts in two seasons (2011-12) at Tarleton State, just under two hours outside of Dallas. Johnson finished his career with 96 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 15½ sacks, three passes defensed and one forced fumble.
  • Patriots DL Malcom Brown started 26-of-39 games over his threeyear career at Texas and finished with 165 tackles, 8½ sacks, 29 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six passes defensed. As a junior in 2014, Brown was a consensus first-team Big-12 and All America selection.
  • Patriots OL Marcus Cannon appeared in 49 games at Texas Christian, starting the final 36 contests that he appeared in – 24 at right offensive tackle and 12 on the left side.

FORMER COWBOYS

  • In 2009, Patriots TE Scott Chandler began the year with Dallas before being released at the end of training camp. He spent the majority of the 2009 season on the Cowboys practice squad.

FORMER PATRIOTS

  • Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft. He played for four seasons (1991-93, 1996) as a defensive back for the Patriots, including Super Bowl XXXI. - Cowboys QB Matt Cassel began his NFL career with the Patriots in 2005. During his final season with the Patriots in 2008, Cassel took over for the injured Tom Brady and led the team to an 11-5 record.
  • Cowboys strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik served as strength and conditioning coach for the Patriots from 2000-2010, where he helped the Patriots to three Super Bowl championships.

FORMER NFL TEAMMATES

  • Patriots WR Keshawn Martin and Cowboys FB Tyler Clutts were offensive teammates with the Texans in 2012.
  • Patriots LB Jon Bostic and Cowboys S Danny McCray were defensive teammates with the Bears in 2014.
  • Patriots DT Akiem Hicks and Cowboys CB Corey White were defensive teammates for the Saints for three seasons (2012-14).
  • In 2009, Cowboys safeties coach Joe Baker and assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia worked with Patriots pro scout Steve Cargile, when both coaches held their respective roles for Tampa Bay where Cargile played safety.
  • From 2009-11, Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson tutored Patriots special teams assistant Ray Ventrone when Henderson tutored the Browns defensive backs and Ventrone played safety. Cowboys defensive ends coach Ben Bloom and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus also worked on the Browns defensive staff in 2010.
  • Cowboys offensive assistant Marc Colombo started all 16 games at tackle for the Dolphins in 2011, where he was tutored by Patriots offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo who served in the same capacity for the Dolphins and Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll who held the role of offensive coordinator for Miami.

FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

  • Cowboys C Travis Frederick (2009-12) blocked for Patriots RB James White (2010-13) when they were offensive teammates at Wisconsin.
  • Tommy West, the father of Cowboys defensive assistant Turner West, was the head coach of Memphis for nine years and tutored Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski when he attended the school.

SCORING AT A HISTORIC RATE
The Patriots have scored 119 points through three games in 2015, setting a team record for the most points in the first three games of a season. The previous record was 115 points through the first three games of the 2002 season.

PATRIOTS OFF TO HOT START
The New England Patriots improved to 3-0 with their 51-17 win over Jacksonville. The Patriots are 3-0 for the ninth time in team history, and for the fifth time since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. The Patriots also started 3-0 in 1964, 1974, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2013.

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