Patriots

Devin McCourty becomes first Patriots player since Ty Law with five interceptions in first seven games

Devin McCourty becomes first Patriots player since Ty Law with five interceptions in first seven games

Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins got into the Jets backfield untouched, quarterback Sam Darnold panicked and immediately threw it toward slot receiver Jamison Crowder. The pass was wildly overthrown, and Devin McCourty came down with his fifth interception of the 2019 season. 

With his latest pick, McCourty became the first Patriots player since Ty Law in 1998 to record five interceptions in his first seven games of a season, according to NFL Research.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer finished the 1998 season with a league-leading nine interceptions to earn himself a First-Team All-Pro selection. If McCourty keeps up his level of play at the safety position for this dominant Patriots defense, it'd be hard for him not to secure a similar honor at season's end. 

The New England defense will probably feature multiple All-Pro selections when it's all said and done for 2019, but are there any Defensive Player of the Year candidates in this unit? Perhaps McCourty is their best shot. 

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How Patriots defense could struggle with Amari Cooper, Cowboys' receivers

How Patriots defense could struggle with Amari Cooper, Cowboys' receivers

The New England Patriots will face one of their toughest opponents of the season in the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon.

While the offense continues to struggle, frustrating Tom Brady, the defense has been a game-changer throughout the campaign -- helping New England eke out a 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend. 

The only time the defense really struggled this season was when it allowed 37 points to the Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore Ravens in Week 9. With a similar offensive style to the Ravens, Dallas could potentially shred the Patriots defense if given the opportunity.

Wide receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin have combined for 141 catches, 2,149 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. 37-year-old tight end Jason Witten also has 41 receptions for 371 yards and two TDs.

None of those receivers would be having such great seasons if it weren't for quarterback Dak Prescott. The 26-year-old's 3,221 passing yards lead all NFL quarterbacks, and his 21 touchdowns rank second behind Russell Wilson -- he'll be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than the receivers.

The combination of speed and skill the offense brings to the Cowboys' lineup has caused Patriots' cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino to take notice. 

“These guys can keep you up at night,” Pellegrino said of Dallas' wide receivers on a Tuesday conference call. 

And it's no surprise as to why Dallas ranks first in total yards per game and sixth in scoring. So, the Prescott-led Cowboys could potentially cause New England some problems -- and Pellegrino alluded to that. 

“We’ve got Cooper, Cobb, Gallup and then you’ve got Austin,” Pellegrino said. “Starting with the coaching staff over there, they’ve done a great job with these guys – the OC, [Kellen] Moore, and the wide receiver coach, Sanjay [Lal]. ... We’ve got our work cut out for us this week and we’re excited for the opportunity to go against these guys. It should be a good challenge for us.”

Although they pose a challenge, the Patriots also have a few notable players with some pretty impressive stats on the defensive side of the ball. Devin McCourty is tied for first in the NFL with five interceptions, while Jamie Collins and Stephon Gilmore (among others) are tied for fifth with three. 

It's clear that Sunday's matchup will be a good one -- especially considering the two are leading their respective divisions. 

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NFL rumors: Patriots activate Isaiah Wynn in huge boost for offensive line

NFL rumors: Patriots activate Isaiah Wynn in huge boost for offensive line

The New England Patriots offensive line is about to receive a huge boost.

UPDATE (Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 5:06 p.m. ET): The Patriots have made Wynn's return and Gunner Olszewski's move to injured reserve official.

--End of Update--

Talented left tackle Isaiah Wynn has been activated to the 53-man roster, the Boston Globe's Jim McBride reported Tuesday. ESPN's Mike Reiss reported earlier in the day the Patriots planned to place rookie wide receiver Gunner Olszewski on injured reserve to create a roster spot for Wynn's return.

The Patriots had until Wednesday to activate Wynn.

Wynn played very well early this season before suffering a foot injury in New England's Week 2 victory over the Miami Dolphins. He went on injured reserve immediately after, giving the Patriots another injury to overcome along the offensive line.

The second-year left tackle returned to practice on Oct. 30. Wynn, who was one of two first-round draft picks made by the Patriots in 2018, missed all of his 2018 rookie season with a torn Achilles.

The Patriots will host the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's Week 12 matchup at Gillette Stadium.

Phil Perry's Week 11 Patriots report card>>>

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