After an injury scare during the week, New England Patriots future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady is expected to take his usual place under center when the AFC East leaders host the Dallas Cowboys, who occupy the NFC East top spot, on Sunday. The game matches the top defense in the NFL, which belongs to the Patriots, against the league's top defense in terms of yardage allowed. But the Cowboys will also be faced with the daunting task of ending New England's 20-game winning streak at home, as NESN.com reported.
Despite the Patriots coming in as 5.5-point favorites at home, according to the sports betting news site Covers.com, the matchup between two of NFL's most historically successful franchises — as well as two of the most widely disliked teams — will receive a rare Sunday afternoon national television broadcast. Only one other game, the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans, is scheduled in the late afternoon time slot. Fox Network will broadcast the Cowboys vs. Patriots game in all markets.
The Patriots defense has allowed opponents a mere 10.8 points per game through the first 10 contests. The Pats offense averages 28.7, good enough for 5th in the NFL — and a 9-1 record.
Dallas, at 6-4 behind fourth-year quarterback Dak Prescott, has put up a league-best 4,446 yards. But they have been able to turn those yards into just 286 points, placing the 'Boys 6th, overall just one point behind New England.
Watch a preview of the nationally televised Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots showdown, courtesy of NBC Sports, in the video below.The Patriots rank an uncharacteristic 8th overall in passing yardage, with 268.9 per game. That compares to 312.7 for Prescott's high-flying Dallas aerial attack.
A rash of injuries to the receiving corps has led to speculation that the Patriots would mend fences with wayward receiver Antonio Brown. But recent reports have indicated that New England has closed the door on reacquiring Brown, who was released after less than two weeks with the team amidst a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations.
The Sunday game will mark only the 13th meeting in the history of the two legendary franchises, starting in 1971, according to Pro Football Reference. The Cowboys won the first seven games between the teams.
New England has won the last five, starting with a 13-6 win in December of 1999, when current Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll was in charge of the Patriots, and Drew Bledsoe was the team's starting quarterback.
The Patriots and Cowboys next met in 2003, Brady's third season. The Pats won that one as well. In fact, the Cowboys have never defeated the Patriots since Brady took over as quarterback, and Bill Belichick as head coach.