The Patriots are ready for their showdown with the Cowboys on Sunday, and they'll try to get a win in Dallas with some good pre-game news on the injury front.
Despite being listed as questionable heading into Sunday's contest, nose tackle Davon Godchaux (ankle) and DL Christian Barmore (knee) are officially active for the Patriots, as is cornerback Shaun Wade (shoulder). The Patriots inactives are as follows: CB Jonathan Jones (ankle), G Cole Strange (knee), WR Kayshon Boutte, and OL Tyrone Wheatley. Will Grier has been designated as the emergency third quarterback.
For Dallas, starting G Zack Martin and C Tyler Biadasz are officially active, giving the Cowboys four-fifths of their projected top offensive line after ruling out starting left tackle Tyron Smith earlier in the week. The Cowboys inactives are as follows: S Israel Mukuamu, CB Eric Scott, T Tyron Smith, WR Jalen Brooks, TE Peyton Hendershot, DL Villiami Fehoko.
Godchaux's status was in doubt after exiting midway through last week's win over the Jets due to an ankle injury. The Pats top run-stuffer was limited throughout the week in practice and questionable on the injury report but is good to go for Sunday's game, which is a big boost for the run defense. On Saturday, the team elevated DL Jeremiah Pharms from the practice squad, and Pharms will make his NFL debut on Sunday, adding another big body to the run defense. Last week, the Pats also played Barmore further inside, and he logged a team-high seven quarterback pressures in the win. Second-year DL Sam Roberts and rookie Keion White could also see more playing time on early downs.
With the Cowboys ranking eighth in expected points added per rush, Dallas has a legit rushing attack, and they want to win up front as a run-heavy offense. The Cowboys will have Martin and Biadasz back this week, adding another layer to the challenge for the Patriots run defense, making Godchaux's available all the more important.
The Patriots defense will need to control the line of scrimmage, with the offense working against a formidable Dallas defense led by superstar pass-rusher Micah Parsons. The expectation is that stopping RB Tony Pollard and the Cowboys ground game will be priority number one, so expect plenty of base defense from the Patriots this week.
Lastly, cornerback Shaun Wade (shoulder) is active for the Patriots after being a late addition to the injury report on Friday. The Pats already ruled out starting CB Jonathan Jones (ankle), setting up Wade to play a large role again as the third cornerback. With the third-year corner playing on the outside, rookie Christian Gonzalez will handle the other boundary corner spot, with Myles Bryant playing outside in base defense and the slot in nickel/dime packages. After earning Defensive Rookie of the Month honors, Gonzalez will likely match up against Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb in another heavyweight bout for the Pats first-rounder, who has been battle-tested out of the gate.
On the other side of the ball, quarterback Mac Jones will have his full contingent of playmakers around him on Sunday. However, the tinkering along the offensive line continues for New England.
The Patriots ruled out starting guard Cole Strange (knee) en route to Dallas, with rookie Atonio Mafl in line to start at left guard this week. Mafi is a good run-blocker with a solid base, but if the fifth-rounder struggles to protect his edges in pass protection, T/G Sidy Sow cleared concussion protocol and is also active as another option on the interior. In college, Sow primarily played left guard despite working at tackle in camp. New England's starting offensive line could look like this: LT Trent Brown, LG Atonio Mafi, C David Andrews, RG Michael Onwenu, and RT Vederian Lowe.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will likely target the two weaker links on the Pats O-Line (Mafi, Lowe), with Parsons moving around the front to expose those matchups. The Pats will need multiple bodies wherever Parsons is, and Jones can use a quick release while continuing to operate well under pressure. This season, Mac has the sixth-highest Pro Football Focus grade under pressure (73.3), a massive improvement from last season.
New England's game-day roster is set for Sunday's 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.