Dak Prescott has a chance for a signature win at home to help his MVP legitimacy on Sunday night.
Let’s start with the obvious choice here. Quarterback.
On most teams, the quarterback is the obvious MVP of the team.
It makes sense. It’s the most important position on the field, but I have a problem with how heavily the NFL MVP award is weighted toward quarterbacks.
I tried explaining myself on Twitter/X a few weeks ago, claiming that there is at least an argument that could be made for another player besides Dak Prescott.
It didn’t go over well with people who didn’t understand where I was coming from.
All they heard was “Dak Prescott is not even the MVP of his own team, much less the NFL.”
Be that as it may, since that day, Prescott has been playing out of his mind.
After a slow start to the season and working out the kinks of a new offense, everything has changed.
Prescott finds himself second in NFL MVP odds behind Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts.
In 12 games this season, Prescott has racked up 3,234 pass yards on 70.1% completions with 26 passing touchdowns and just six interceptions.
He leads or is in the top three ranking of quarterbacks across the league in several categories including QBR (75.5) and TD: INT percentage (6.3%).
If we stretch those numbers over the final six weeks of the regular season, he will finish with 4,851 passing yards, 39 passing touchdowns, and nine interceptions.
Prescott has separated himself from his teammates when it comes to MVP performance.
NFL Rumors: Cowboys eyeing reunion with former LB after Shaq Leonard picked Eagles - Jerry Trotta, The Landry Hat
The Cowboys may not be done at linebacker after missing out on Shaq Leonard.
While there’s no reason to freak out over Leonard picking Philly, it still leaves the Cowboys worryingly thin at linebacker. You have to think the front office will reassess its options and possibly even explore signing a player outside the building.
According to 105.3 The Fan’s Bryan Broaddus, a name to keep an eye on in that regard is old friend Anthony Barr.
Name I heard was Anthony Barr. https://t.co/At3imVFAlF— BryanBroaddus (@BryanBroaddus) December 4, 2023
Cowboys Rumors: Dallas to sign Anthony Barr after Shaq Leonard picked Eagles?
Our guess is Cowboys fans won’t be thrilled by this, which is ironic because a number of fans celebrated when he signed with Dallas last year. He was seen as an ideal backup who could bring pass-rushing upside to the second-level of the defense.
When all was said and done, Barr racked up 15 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one sack, eight pressures and 26 run stops in 14 games (10 starts). He received a 59.7 grade by Pro Football Focus and really struggled in coverage, allowing 20 catches on 25 targets for 210 yards and a 115.0 passer rating.
Jake Ferguson had a season high in catches and yards against the Eagles in Philly, and is coming off a Thursday game where he caught the game-winning touchdown.
Are the Cowboys ready for their rematch with the Eagles next week? They have not lost since walking out of Lincoln Financial Field on Nov. 5 with a 28-23 defeat. They left that game with some confidence and have won four straight. Coach Mike McCarthy thinks beating Seattle after falling behind at home for the first time this season will be a benefit, saying: “We’re where we need to be right now.”
Stock up after the win: TE Jake Ferguson. The second-year player has stepped into the role previously occupied by Jason Witten and Dalton Schultz as Dak Prescott’s top tight end target. He caught six passes for 77 yards and the game-winning touchdown with 4:37 to play. When Prescott needs a big play, he is not afraid to go to Ferguson.
The Cowboys securing a double-digit win season for the third year in a row would also see them claim the top spot in the NFC East.
With that, the Cowboys can take hold of the top seat in the NFC East for the first time this season if they force a split series with the Eagles at AT&T Stadium this weekend, and the path towards possibly landing the No. 1 seed in the playoffs will become far less daunting.
Despite those things being true, head coach Mike McCarthy is keeping a level focus.
For him and the Cowboys, it’s not about nothing more than sticking to the game plan that’s led them to a four-game win streak and put them in position to do what could be done in Week 14.
“We wanna get to this 10th win,” he said on Monday. “We understand where they are.”
Having dominated the month of November with a 4-1 record, the sole loss being their first matchup with the Eagles, McCarthy is now faced with the most daunting portion of the Cowboys’ schedule — battles with the Eagles, Bills (road), Dolphins (road) and the Lions all within a four-game span.
They’ll know exactly who they are when they come out on the other end of it.
“I really do like the stretch that we’re getting ready to be on,” said McCarthy. “When you look at the teams that we’re getting ready to line up against and, obviously, Philadelphia is all that matters right now — this is an excellent opportunity for us to play in playoff-type games without playoff consequences.
NFL power rankings: 49ers jump Eagles at top; Packers, Colts keep rising as Chiefs, Steelers fade for Week 14 - Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
While this week’s power rankings are important, a much clearer picture of the NFC playoffs will be in view after the Cowboys and Eagles settle their season series.
NFL power rankings Week 14
1. San Francisco 49ers 9-3 (previous week: 2)
The 49ers have outscored their opponents 134-49 during their four-game winning streak after a bye, following a three-game slump. That’s almost 34 points per game as their offense is rolling with Brock Purdy locked into Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey at the same time. The defense is cleaning up again with elite complementary football, too.
2. Philadelphia Eagles 10-2 (1)
The Eagles’ major defensive liability vs. the pass was exploited in a big way vs. the 49ers. When their rush can’t get there and the stout run defense is positioned to wear down, they are doomed. Jalen Hurts and the offense can do only so much to bail out the team in consistent tough spots.
3. Baltimore Ravens 9-3 (4)
The Ravens got a much-needed bye to help them regroup for the stretch run in a tough AFC North and a tight playoff picture at the top of the conference. Lamar Jackson should adjust better in the passing game without Mark Andrews with increased trust in his wide receivers, while Baltimore’s defense will look to get stingier vs. the pass.
4. Miami Dolphins 9-3 (5)
The Dolphins did the expected with Tyreek Hill and ripped into the reeling Commanders pass defense for another high-scoring rout in Washington. They need to keep taking care of business vs. overwhelmed defenses with the Titans and Jets next.
5. Dallas Cowboys 9-3 (7)
The Cowboys’ defense had some breakdowns vs. downfield pass and power run to open Week 13 on Thursday, but Dak Prescott, Tony Pollard and their red-hot skill players made sure the offense wasn’t denied. Now they must raise their level again against a tough close stretch, starting with a first-place shot at the Eagles at home on Sunday night.
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