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Breaking down where the Cowboys stand ahead of their Divisional Round matchup against the 49ers

It is time for this week’s Cowboys stock report, and after the Buccaneers game things appear to be mostly positive.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Super Wildcard weekend came and went, and to the surprise of some, the Dallas Cowboys came away with a victory over the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers squad. Taking things a step further, it wasn’t only a victory but a total destruction of Tampa Bay. The scoreboard may not suggest this due to the final score being 31-17, but the Cowboys played a whale of a game on Monday night. This performance was a far cry from the week prior, when the team played arguably its worst game of the entire season. That certainly played a factor in many picking the Buccaneers to win coming into the game.

The coaches and players both deserve credit for this gameplan being executed to near perfection. This type of effort most certainly restored the faith in how far this team could actually go, and when they play like that, they will be very tough to stop. With so many great performances on Monday, the stock up portion could go in a multitude of directions. The stock down part of the equation was much easier to decipher because for the most part, the team played well.

On that note, it’s time to dive into this week’s stock up and stock down.

Stock up: Dak Prescott

What a difference a week makes for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. In Week 18, he played arguably the worst game of his career when he completed just 38% of his passes for only 128 yards. He did have the lone touchdown of the game, as he completed a throw to CeeDee Lamb just before halftime. That drive was the only positive aspect about Prescott’s performance in the final regular season game. Some pundits had Prescott towards the bottom of their quarterback rankings amongst the teams that made the playoffs. Quite the overreaction by those folks as even after Week 18 as Dak Prescott was still amongst the elite quarterbacks in the game. One awful performance, doesn’t flip the narrative.

What great players do after a bad game is bounce back. This past Monday night, Prescott bounced back. His play wasn’t just good, it was great. He played probably the best game of his career, and did it while leading his team to victory against the greatest of all time, Tom Brady.

Dak’s stat line looks like this, 305 yards passing with four touchdowns, and a completion percentage of nearly 76%, and a rushing touchdown. If that isn’t an elite performance by an elite player, then what is? On the other hand, the legend himself, Tom Brady threw for more passing yards with 351, but it took double the attempts to accomplish this feat. Brady also only completed 53% of his passes and made a terrible throw inside the Cowboys five-yard line that led to a Jayron Kearse interception.

Stock down: Special teams

As noted above, Dallas played as good of a game as you could ask for and did it in a postseason game. That’s about as good as it gets considering the magnitude that playoff football brings. Although the offense and defense put forward their best performance of the season, there was one area that simply has been very underwhelming as of late and that is the special teams unit. The last two games have been down right awful for this group. Unlike Dak Prescott who bounced back in a big way from Week 18 to the Wild Card game, special teams still has yet to figure out all of their issues. Special teams coordinator John “Bones” Fassel certainly has his work cut out for him as of late.

There were slight improvements out of this group from Week 18, to the Wildcard game, as both Bryan Anger and KaVontae Turpin cleaned things up. Anger didn’t drop any snaps and booted the ball well. Turpin nearly scored on a kick return, and also didn’t have another game with a muffed punt.

However, the kicking department has been shaken up in a big way. Brett Maher, from Week 18 to Monday’s game, had missed five consecutive point after attempts. As a professional player, that typically calls for the team to replace you in a hurry. Maher did make his final attempt of last week’s game, which is certainly is a good thing. However, the team has brought in some insurance this week by adding kicker Tristan Vizcaino to the practice squad.

The pressure is now on coach Fassel, and Brett Maher, to fix these issues and do it in a hurry. Otherwise, This situation isn’t ideal, and let’s just hope that things can be remedied or the way that the season ends will not include holding the Lombardi Trophy.

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