The Dallas Cowboys and breakout rookie Dak Prescott can atone for their only loss of the season — and win their division — when they play the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football.
What is becoming a dream season for the Cowboys (11-1) started with a mildly disappointing 20-19 home loss to New York. In that game Prescott was forced into starting because Tony Romo fractured a vertebra in a preseason game. Since the opener, all Prescott has done is win.
The Giants (8-4) overcame an early three-game losing streak by winning six in a row before a confidence-sapping loss at Pittsburgh last week. Now they have to defend their home field to have any chance at winning the NFC East.
If New York does so, it’ll almost certainly be due to a big game from Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. Manning is having a pretty good season himself, and Beckham has more than 1,000 yards receiving along with 8 TD catches as his primary deep target.
Dallas cornerbacks Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown can make their impact by limiting him, though Victor Cruz is likely to be more involved after a silent game Sunday against Pittsburgh in which he wasn’t thrown to once.
Against a tough Giants rushing defense, the Cowboys’ other rookie star, Zeke Elliott, could be vulnerable. And that could put the game in the hands of Prescott, who has improved since a so-so performance in the opener, but fumbled twice last week on Thursday night.
If Prescott can bounce back to his usual performance level this season — he’s had a QB rating over 100 in 10 games so far — the Cowboys could be the first team to clinch a division title this season.
Players to Watch
Dallas QB Dak Prescott. It’s the biggest game of the rookie’s career, and a division title and playoff spot is right in front of him.
Dallas C Travis Frederick. The Cowboys entire offensive line did an excellent job run blocking last week. If they can win one-on-one matchups against the Giants’ fearsome front, Prescott could have an easier day than expected.
Giants DE Olivier Vernon. Has seven sacks in five games. No one has blocked him since October.
Giants RB Rashad Jennings. The Giants’ run game has been barely there most of this season, but Jennings was productive against Dallas in the opener, and could be a wild card Sunday night.