Mac Engel

Dak’s chance at universal acceptance: Do what he did against the Giants in the playoffs

In the words of the late screenwriter William Goldman, “Follow the money” when it comes to the Seahawks at Cowboys playoff game.

The Cowboys opened as 3-point favorites, but in short time that spread has dropped to 1.5 points. Those dumb enough to actually put real money down on an NFL game, otherwise known as the worst bet in sports, are taking the ‘Hawks.

So would I (Writer’s Note: My success betting is akin to the Washington Generals’ winning percentage against the Harlem Globetrotters, as my record is approximately 2 for 43,234 ... but tomorrow is a new day.)

The Cowboys can beat the L.A. Rams in the divisional round, but they could not have drawn a worse wildcard opponent than the Seahawks.

As much as the Cowboys have improved since their unwatchable 24-13 loss in Seattle in Week 3, the Seahawks have been on a similar trajectory. The problem is they were a better team to start.

If the Cowboys win their first playoff game since the ‘14 season, this will be an upset regardless of the betting line. And if they do win, people need to shut their trap about Dak.

Saturday is an NFL Wild Card game, but it is also Dak Prescott’s Shut Up game.

Regardless of the outcome on Saturday night, Dak is going to get Jerry Jones’ money at some point this year, but a win over Russell Wilson and the Seahawks and Dak buys himself a year of relative quiet from the mob that crushes him for every single flaw, both real and imagined.

Much like Tony Romo before him, no NFL player is more polarizing than Dak Prescott.

Regardless of the statistics, the win-loss record, the fourth quarter comebacks, or the fabled “It” gene he seems to possess, people see what they want when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback.

Thanks to analytics, there are enough statistics to support virtually any argument when it comes to Dak.

If it makes Dak feel any better, when Troy Aikman was winning three Super Bowls in the ‘90s, he had critics who were convinced his success was a result of the team that surrounded him.

What Dak must do is make the play he did in the waning seconds against the New York Giants in Week 17 in the playoffs.

Down by seven with less than a minute remaining, Dak faced a 4th-and-15; he should have been sacked but spun out of a game-ending sack to buy time and lofted a pass to a receiver who, in that moment, was not only covered but not even looking.

That is the play his critics crush him with; his either inability to see, or the lack of confidence, to make the play when it’s not there.

At the time Dak let go of his pass receiver Cole Beasely was not there, but he made an electric catch because the quarterback put the ball in a spot to make a play.

The pass was not perfect, but it was there to allow an NFL receiver to do what they can do.

On the ensuing two-point conversion play, Dak made a nice pass across his body for the game-winner to Michael Gallup.

Mr. and Mrs. Hater, you must give Dak credit for those plays.

They were the same plays Romo once made.

This is the play, or plays, Dak will have to make on Saturday against Seattle to advance to the NFC Divisional round in Los Angeles.

He has done it, and he passed for more than 300 yards in his only previous playoff game, that loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in his rookie year.

With their defense, the Cowboys can beat the Rams.

But Dak has to get his Boys past Seattle first. Do that, and he buys one year of relative quiet.

Do not, and he may want to plug his ears, avoid the Internet for a year, and move to the moon for a four months.

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