The New England Patriots are set to host the Dallas Cowboys in one of the most interesting matchups of the 2019 NFL season. Sunday afternoon’s contest will pit the league’s No.1 offense against the No.1 defense.

New England leads the NFL in yards per game allowed and opponents’ yards per play entering Week 12. The Patriots have surrendered a league-best 10.8 points per game, giving them nearly a five-point edge over the San Francisco 49ers’ second-ranked defense.

Only the Baltimore Ravens have scored more than 14 points against the defending Super Bowl champions. New England’s Week 9 trip to Baltimore is the one blemish on the team’s record. The Ravens won 37-20, enhancing Lamar Jackson’s MVP candidacy.

Baltimore is first in the NFL with 34.1 points per game and second in total offense. The Cowboys are the lone team that averages more yards per game than the Ravens. Dallas is also first in yards per play.

The Cowboys improved their offensive numbers with a 35-27 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 11. The Patriots did the same with their defensive numbers by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 17-10 on the road.

Returning home for the first time since Week 8, New England is a 6.5-point favorite over Dallas, according to the early betting line at OddsShark. Sunday’s total is 46. 

It’s been 25 months since a visiting team won at Gillette Stadium. Including the playoffs, the Patriots have a 20-game winning streak in Foxborough. New England has won nine straight home games by double digits. 

The Patriots are 4-0 at home this season, winning each contest by at least two touchdowns. 

None of those teams are as good as Dallas. New England has dominated a weak schedule, blowing out the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns at home.

The Cowboys should give the Patriots their toughest test of the season in New England. Becoming the first team in two years to beat the Patriots at Gillette Stadium is another story. 

Don’t expect Dallas to match what Baltimore did against New England’s defense at home. Jackson threw for 163 yards, using his ability as maybe the greatest running quarterback in NFL history to upset the Patriots. 

Dak Prescott has been the NFC’s second-best quarterback in 2019. He won’t have that same kind of success against the best secondary in football.

Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts after carrying the ball against the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth quarter during the Wild Card Round at AT&T Stadium on January 05, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Opposing quarterbacks have a 49.2 passer rating against New England. Carson Wentz completed just 50% of his passes for 214 yards when the Eagles hosted the Patriots in Week 11.

The New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers have the best opponents’ passer rating of any team Dallas faced over the first 11 weeks. Those games are Prescott’s worst of the season, during which he threw two touchdown passes and four interceptions. The Cowboys totaled 34 points in losses to the Saints and Packers.

Prescott has played better than Tom Brady this season. The six-time champion has his worst passer rating in six years. A banged-up offensive line and a lack of playmaking wide receivers haven’t helped. 

Brady could be primed to have his best game of the last month.

Starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn is expected to be activated from injured reserve. New England has sorely missed his presence with Brady constantly under pressure. 

Dallas’ overall defensive numbers are above average. The Cowboys rank seventh in both yards and points allowed per game. Dallas is ninth in opponents’ yards per play.

But it’s becoming more clear with each week that Dallas’ defense isn’t very good.

The Cowboys made backup quarterback Jeff Driskel look like a competent starter as he posted a 109.3 passer rating and helped the Lions score 27 points in Week 11. Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings had their way with Dallas in a 28-24 Week 10 victory.

Dallas gave up 14 points per game through the first four weeks of the season, facing three of the NFL’s worst teams and the Saints without Drew Brees. Teams have scored 23.5 points per game against the Cowboys over the last six contests. 

New England might not look like an offensive juggernaut Sunday, but Brady and Co. will do enough to support the NFL’s top defense.

Prediction: New England over Dallas, 26-17