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Cowboys News: Why Dak Prescott And Ezekiel Elliott Are Shaking Up The MVP Race

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Over the past decade, it's become pretty predictable that Tom Brady and other mainstays would headline the MVP race. The Dallas Cowboys have a pair of rookies defying all of the NFL's favorite trends of the past.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady is still favored to win the 2016 NFL MVP, but a few young superstars are challenging him - Christian D'Andrea, SBNation.com
After 12 weeks, the NFL MVP race is sorting itself out.

Elliott has flirted with the top odds throughout a dynamite rookie season, but his success is dovetailed with the first-year quarterback who hands him the ball. The pair has pushed Dallas out to an NFL-best 10-1 record and established the Cowboys as one of the league’s most dynamic offenses.

Prescott’s Plan Play To Play, No Matter The Situation: "Stay Within The Moment" - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott's poise to stand and deliver is what has made this team so exciting to watch.

"I don’t really put too much into what that moment means more than I put into what I have to do on that one play," Prescott said. "I just kind of lock in on that. There’s a lot that goes into each and every play and I know if I focus on that and just try to do my job the guys around me will do theirs. And it usually works out the right way."

Beyond Passer Rating: Comparing Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, and Eli Manning - OCC, Blogging The Boys
A quick comparison of a few efficiency stats for the four NFC East QBs may yield some surprising results.

In today's pass-heavy NFL, the passer who can pass effectively while minimizing his mistakes is going to be the more successful player. In the NFC East this year, that player is Dak Prescott. He has the fewest interceptions per pass attempt, remains the most effective under pressure and is right up there in terms of accuracy and deep ball passing skills.

Having said all that, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see that Dak Prescott leads the team with the best record in the NFC East.

Cowboys on pace to set team record for fewest giveaways - Charean Williams, The Star-Telegram
The Cowboys rank second in the NFL in fewest giveaways with seven. Buffalo has six. Dallas is on pace to set a team record for fewest giveaways in a season.

"No question we have done an excellent job taking care of the football offensively, not only the quarterback but the guys carrying the football," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "That has given us a great opportunity to stay on the plus side of the ledger in turnover ratio. Typically that gives you a good chance to win. We need to take the ball away more. We haven’t done a good job. We haven’t done a good job of that the last three or four ball games. For the most part we have done a good job taking care of the ball. Quarterback decision-making, the guys blocking and protecting has been a real positive impact on our ability to secure the football. Taking care of the ball is a team thing. Everybody has a piece of it.

Rod Marinelli not about to panic about Dallas Cowboys defense - Todd Archer, ESPN
While the Cowboys aren't forcing turnovers or getting sacks, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said: "we believe in what we're doing."

"When you start throwing stuff in, you show the players you’re panicking. We believe in what we’re doing. I like poise. And I like to go out and work on our execution and teach. Everything that has kind of happened to us is teachable and correctable, so it starts with us as coaches and being good teachers and with poise."

How smart has Dak Prescott been about running the ball himself? - SportsDay
In the latest Candidly Cowboys podcast, Jon Machota and Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News discuss Prescott the runner.

"He reminds me of Michael Vick. When he starts running all the time, it completely changes the game. You can't run that way all the time during the regular season, because you'll get hurt. Dak wants to be known as a thrower first. He's been real smart about it. He never takes a big hit. He's like a linebacker. He's thick. He is crafty, mobile. He's not the fastest guy out there. Opposing defense have to be honest."

Scout's Eye: Vikings Boast Defensive Playmakers, & An Unheralded WR - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
With kickoff rapidly approaching against the Minnesota Vikings, here’s my breakdown of the three guys I’ll be watching closely for the opposition.

Simply put, Harrison Smith can do it all.

He shows the ability to play up or back. He’s very physical at the point of attack. He is always around the ball, mixing it up. He beats blockers to the point to make tackles. He fights through trash to get to the ball. He can jam the receiver at the line.

Cowboys @ Vikings: Previewing Minnesota’s Offensive Personnel - Joseph.Hatz, Blogging The Boys
A look at the offensive strengths and weaknesses of the Cowboys' Week 13 opponent.

The Vikings don’t have many significant threats at the skill positions following the Peterson injury. The Cowboys defensive game plan will likely center around a trio of Vikings receivers; 2015 fourth-round pick out of Maryland, Stefon Diggs, former UDFA Adam Thielen, and veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Cowboys defense doesn’t like ‘bend-but-don’t-break’ label - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford would prefer to be known as a ‘don’t break’ defense. The Cowboys are 21st in the league in total defense.

"That’s just something that’s a popular term in NFL football, bend-but-don’t-break defenses," Crawford said. "I don’t see us like that. I feel like we’ve done a really good job this year. … I feel we’ve done a good job most part of the year of just being a ‘don’t break’ defense."

Dez Bryant regrets postgame tussle with Josh Norman - Todd Archer, ESPN
Cowboys WR Dez Bryant didn't really want to talk about his dustup with Redskins CB Josh Norman, but admitted, "I wish I never did what I did."

"I’m really not trying to talk about that, but I wish I never did what I did, but that’s OK because it’s over with now," Bryant said Monday. "I’m not even focused on that. I’m not even fitting to open up another can. It’s all said and done. I wish I’d never done it. It happened. It’s over with."

Tony Romo's not the first QB Dak Prescott supplanted: 'He's never had a moment that was too big for him' - Brad Townsend, SportsDay
Football history is strewn with dethroned quarterbacks, two of whom now share a peculiar kinship with Tony Romo. Neither of them is named Drew Bledsoe. Or Brett Favre. Or Joe Montana.

They are Matt Smith and Tyler Russell. They are the guys Dak Prescott rather abruptly replaced in high school and college. Precursors, it turns out, to Prescott's shockingly rapid uncrowning of Romo. It happened to Smith at Haughton (La.) High School, then to Russell at Mississippi State. Both, like Romo, were entrenched starters until they got hurt.