Dak Prescott had his worst game of the season against the Giants in the opener, completing 55.6 percent of his passes and posting a 69.4 passer rating. In the 11 games since, Prescott has at least a 100 passer rating in 10 games and has put himself in the most valuable player discussion. Prescott continues to play at a high level and will be looking to show that his performance in the opener wasn’t an accurate display of his talents.
Much like Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott had his worst game in the opener against the Giants, rushing for just 51 yards. He has averaged more than one yard a carry better since that “average” opener, as he called it. Elliott is also in the MVP discussion, leading the league in rushing and posting 12 touchdowns. With another rushing score, Elliott will set the Cowboys record for most rushing touchdowns by a rookie.
Tight end Jason Witten saw his 130-game streak of consecutive games with a reception come to an end against the Minnesota Vikings. Witten’s lone target and reception was wiped away by a penalty on Elliott. But Witten is looking to start a new streak and has fared well against the Giants in his career, with 142 catches for 1,463 yards and 13 TDs in 27 regular-season games against them. Additionally, Witten is only 137 yards away from passing Michael Irvin (11,904) for most receiving yards in Cowboys history.
The defense forced a takeaway and had two sacks in the opener against the Giants, but those areas have remained issues for the unit all season. The Cowboys had three sacks against the Vikings, possibly a sign of better things to come on the pass rush front. And the special teams forced a turnover, snapping the team’s four-game takeaway drought. Those are two major areas of concern that the Cowboys must make strides in down the stretch.
The Cowboys can clinch their second NFC East title in three years by winning this game, and have an outside chance of clinching a first-round bye and possibly home-field advantage throughout depending on how the Seahawks and Lions fare. If either of those teams lose and the Cowboys win, Dallas will secure at least a bye in the postseason. Then the discussion turns to whether to play or rest healthy starters, and what to do with backup quarterback Tony Romo.