One of the key matchups in Sunday's Week 12 game between the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys will be passes outside the numbers.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has shredded defenses on throws outside the numbers in 2019. The Patriots are the best team in the league at defending these passes.

NFL Research tweeted a few interesting stats Tuesday that highlight the importance of this matchup:

Prescott is playing at an MVP-level this season, and he's performed at a particularly high level over the last three weeks with 1,202 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions over that span. The Cowboys' success, in a lot of ways, rests on his shoulders.

The Patriots will be Prescott's toughest test of the year so far. Here's where New England's pass defense ranks in several statistical categories:

    NFL Rank
TD Allowed 4 1st
Yds Allowed/Game 152.6 2nd
Interceptions 19 1st
Sacks 37 2nd
Yards/Attempt 5.3 1st
QB Completion % 53.6 1st
QB Rating 49.2 1st

The Cowboys are in a tight race with the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East title, and they enter Sunday's matchup at Gillette Stadium with a slim one-game lead over their division rivals. It's hard to imagine the Cowboys leaving Foxboro with an upset win if Prescott doesn't play well, so it'll be exciting to watch how he handles going against the league's best pass defense on the road.

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