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There is a lot at stake for the Cowboys, but these two guys are auditioning for their future

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A couple of Cowboys have a lot on the line this Saturday.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys host the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday in what many expect to be a close battle. It would be great to see this team advance and make a deep run in the playoffs. The Cowboys have it in them to play well, but it’s going to take a strong game on both sides of the ball. There’s a lot to play for on Saturday, but the stakes are even higher for a couple of people who are looking to take the next step in their career.

Dak Prescott

It’s been a roller-coaster ride when it comes to watching this Cowboys offense. Sometimes they are flying down the field, but then other times they sputter. The performance of Dak Prescott has a big correlation to whether the team wins or loses which seems to make sense - he’s the quarterback. But it matches up pretty tightly with Dak as the Cowboys have won every game where he’s had a passing rating above 100 (8-0). Every game. Simply put, if Prescott can play a good game, the Cowboys just don’t lose.

Dak has an impressive 32-16 record over his first three seasons in the league. He’s had a winning record every year since coming into the league. There aren’t a lot of quarterbacks who can say that, but the QB lining up on the other side of the field on Saturday, Russell Wilson, is one of them. In fact, Wilson has helped the Seahawks have a winning record in all seven seasons he’s been in the league. It didn’t take long for Seattle to recognize what he meant to the organization. Before the final year of his rookie contract, the Seahawks gave Wilson a four-year, $87 million extension, averaging out to just under $22 million per season.

Prescott will be entering the final year of his rookie deal next season. Many aren’t sure if Prescott is the guy the team should bank on for the future. Both Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett believe in him as do many of his teammates who hold him in high regard, but for more fans to jump on board, it’s going to take more wins, particularly the really important ones.

Russell Wilson took the Seahawks to the Super Bowl in two of his first three seasons in the league and won the whole thing in 2013. What will Dak have on his résumé that he can use to sweeten the deal for his next contract? How much he demands will have a lot to do with his performance as a whole, including this Saturday in just his second career playoff game. Can he be the type of quarterback that can lead this team to victory? Outplaying a talented Russell Wilson will certainly help.

Kris Richard

It was disappointing to see linebackers coach/passing-game coordinator Matt Eberflus leave the Cowboys for the defensive coordinator job in Indianapolis. But it didn’t take long for fans to warm up to the new defensive backs/passing-game coordinator, Kris Richard. The Cowboys defense has continued to make strides this season after being a huge liability for several seasons and Richard is getting a lot of recognition for it. Here are the team’s points allowed and yardage comparison for the last two seasons.

These numbers are pretty comparable as both units played well. The growth of the Cowboys young corners plus the addition of strong linebacker play of Jaylon Smith and rookie Leighton Vander Esch have helped this defense become even stronger. But Richard has brought a lot of intensity to the defense and this attitude is infectious. It’s not surprising that his phone has been ringing after several head coaches have been fired already. He now has interest from three different teams that will interview him Sunday after the Cowboys playoff game.

Nothing would help his case more than a strong defensive effort by the Cowboys on Saturday against the Seahawks. The last time these teams met earlier in the season, it was Pete Carroll than won the battle against his former defensive coordinator as it seemed like he had a good feel for Richard. It would be great for the Cowboys to have a better showing, but also for Richard himself.