Quarterback Dak Prescott has had a sensational rookie season, including leading the Dallas Cowboys to 11 consecutive wins. That’s something Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Tony Romo never did. But Prescott had his worst game of the season last week against the New York Giants, a 45.4 passer rating in a 10-7 loss. This will be the first time we see how Prescott responds to a bad game. He’s checked every box so far this season; this is an opportunity to check another one.
Ezekiel Elliott is the odds-on favorite to win the league’s Most Valuable Player Award with three games left. He leads the league in rushing and has scored 12 touchdowns on the ground. He still has an outside chance to break Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards set in 1983. But Elliott found himself on the sideline for the final two series against the Giants, a head-scratching decision considering Elliott is the Cowboys’ best home-run threat. Elliott said the right things about the situation, but it’ll be interesting to see how the team handles it going forward.
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Wide receiver Dez Bryant had one of his worst games in recent memory against the Giants. He was involved in all three turnovers against the Giants. He slipped on a route that led to an interception; he got re-routed on another interception; and he fumbled the ball away. Bryant seemingly had hit his stride going into that game and must get back on track against Tampa Bay.
The Cowboys recorded multiple sacks and takeaways for the first time against the Giants, although that wasn’t enough to get a win. Still, it’s a positive sign for the Cowboys, and they must continue to excel in those two areas if they want to make a Super Bowl run. It helps that linebacker Sean Lee is playing at a high level. He set a franchise record with 22 tackles last week against the Giants, and already has 156 tackles on the season.
Finally, home field?
The Cowboys haven’t been a great team at AT&T Stadium, nor has the stadium ever really become a hostile environment. But the Cowboys have a chance to win their sixth consecutive game at the stadium, which would be their longest win streak since the stadium opened in 2009. For a team that controls its bid for home-field throughout the playoffs, establishing a strong home-field advantage down the stretch could be significant.