Cowboys winning mental game, Elliott questionable for Sunday

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Cowboys players are frequently referring to “Chad” in their interviews these days: something he told them, something they worked on together. But there’s no one by that name on the roster or official football staff. So who is Chad? Turns out he may be the reason things just feel different in Dallas this season.

Apart from that peek behind the curtain, there’s plenty of pregame as the Cowboys get ready to travel to New England to face the Patriots. We’re looking at the injury reports, as both teams have some notable names who are suddenly in doubt. We’re spotlighting key matchups to watch: like the opposing units that will feature “power on power,” the Patriots defensive back who says he’ll be able to contain CeeDee Lamb, and the Cowboys’ passer who won’t be trying to throw in a hurricane this time around. All that, plus the Cowboys writers make their game picks, and details on how to follow along on Sunday. Here are the News and Notes.

Who is Chad? An inside look at the open secret that has completely changed Cowboys’ game prep :: Dallas Morning News

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The Friday before a Sunday game is STAA Day at The Star in Frisco, with Cowboys players focusing on “soft tissue activation and application.” It’s a well-being day; think hot tubs, yoga, compression therapy boots. And it starts with noted mental conditioning consultant Chad Bohling addressing the team. He’s worked with the club since 2014, and his role has only expanded since. The mental boost he providers players is one of the reasons, Dak Prescott says, that this season feels different in Dallas.

Cowboys’ Tyron Smith likely questionable, Trevon Diggs ‘game-time decision’ for Week 6 :: Cowboys Wire

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The ankle injury suffered by Diggs during the first half of the Giants win has now kept him out of two straight days of practice. He’ll reportedly be a “game-time decision” in Foxborough on Sunday. On the other side of the ball, a neck issue “showed up in practice” for Smith on Thursday, prompting a precautionary MRI. The results were “favorable,” according to the team; he’s classified as questionable. For what it’s worth, Jerry Jones said on Dallas radio that both players will be ready to go by kickoff.

Tyron Smith, Trevon Diggs, Ezekiel Elliott are questionable :: ProFootballTalk

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ProFootballTalk notes that running back Ezekiel Elliott is also listed as questionable for Sunday with sore ribs sustained from that pylon hit last week. As Charean Williams points out, though, “Elliott also was questionable last week with a knee injury but started and played 47 of 78 offensive snaps. He had 23 touches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.” Randy Gregory, Donovan Wilson, and Damontae Kazee also received the questionable designation. Dorance Armstong is out.

Patriots injury report: Shaq Mason out, seven players questionable :: NBC Sports Boston

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New England will be without guard Shaq Mason in Week 6, as he is dealing with an abdomen injury. Tackle Isaiah Wynn is already on the COVID list. Cornerback Shaun Wade is out; a handful of Patriots are questionable, including kicker Nick Folk, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, defensive back Jalen Mills, corner Jonathan Jones, and running back Damien Harris.

Cowboys pregame riffing: Bill Belichick’s challenge awaits for Cowboys’ offensive machine :: The Athletic

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The explosive Cowboys offense versus the stout Patriots defense is “power on power,” writes Bob Sturm. Look for New England to try to defend the Dallas run game on first and second downs, and then focus on stopping popular targets Amari Cooper and Dalton Schultz on third. The game may come down to how well the Cowboys defense can paint Mac Jones into “unenviable down-and-distance situations.”

J.C. Jackson believes Patriots ‘can match with any receivers in the NFL’ :: Patriots Wire

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The Patriots cornerback is confident that his crew can hang with Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, and Noah Brown on Sunday. They’ve allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards this season and the sixth-fewest receiving touchdowns. Of covering Lamb specifically, Jackson said, “He’s pretty good, but he’s got to deal with my strengths, too. That’s how I look at it.”

Dak Prescott’s last game vs. Patriots was a disaster, but these Cowboys are ready for the challenge :: Dallas Morning News

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Everyone remembers the rainy, windy conditions that wreaked havoc on the field the last time the Cowboys visited New England. “I know I didn’t have a great game at all, missing some wide-open throws because of [the weather],” Prescott said. “Ended up going to the glove late.” But the wardrobe change was too little, too late as the Cowboys fell 13-9. These Cowboys, though, are much better prepared… and Prescott is an entirely different quarterback now.

Gut Feeling: Staff picks for Cowboys-Patriots :: The Mothership

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The team scribes look into their crystal balls to forecast what will happen in Foxborough this weekend. All five have Dallas winning, but how it goes down varies from writer to writer. Most agree it will be close early before the Cowboys pull away thanks to a superior roster that not even Bill Belichick can slow down from the Patriots sideline.

How to watch, wager, live stream, listen to Cowboys-Patriots in Week 6 :: Cowboys Wire

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The two teams don’t play each other often, and it’s been forever since the Cowboys went to New England and posted a win. So Sunday afternoon’s late game on CBS could be one worth watching for historical significance. Mike Crum has the details on who gets it on TV and how to tune in if you don’t, plus wagering info as the Cowboys look to notch their fifth straight win.

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