Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott playing best football of career but MVP talk must wait

It started last week with edge rusher Micah Parsons showing support for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott by invoking his name into the race for NFL MVP.

“Open your eyes, people!’‘ Micah said on his “The Edge” podcast. “I think that Dak Prescott should be in the MVP conversation. If you’re looking at numbers, what he’s able to do, his efficiency, things like that, Dak Prescott is playing at an elite level.’‘

It continued with a few national analysts as well as Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones jumping on the bandwagon following last Sunday’s 49-17 victory against the New York Giants when Prescott passed for 404 yards and accounted for five touchdowns (4 passing and 1 running).

And now owner Jerry Jones is fully engaged in the conversation and is ready to fund the Prescott campaign.

Of course, Jones never met a Cowboys story he didn’t want to hype, good or bad. Just ask him.

So it was fitting that he jumped all over a question on his radio show regarding whether Prescott should be in the MVP race.

“I do. I certainly do,” Jones said on 105.3 the Fan.

The reason is simple.

Not only is Prescott currently playing the best football of his career but no one has been hotter than him over the last month with these numbers: 12 touchdown passes, 2 interceptions, 72.1 completion percentage and 125.1 passer rating.

And no quarterback has been better since the Cowboys 42-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, according to Pro Football Focus’s rankings: 92.8 passing grade (1st), 9.7 yards per attempt (1st), 12 passing TDs (1st), 10.7% big time throw rate (1st), 1.2% turnover worthy play rate (4th) and 67.1% of passing yards via air yards (1st).

He second in total passing yards with a bye week

In his last three games, Prescott has completed 72.7% of his passes for 1,082 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Prescott is the 11th player since the NFL merger to pass for at least 1,000 yards, 10-plus touchdowns, complete at least 70% of his passes and throw fewer than two interceptions in a three-game span.

Prescott has thrown for 300 yards and three touchdowns in three consecutive games, a new franchise record.

Prescott has three consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards, tying a franchise record for the most consecutive 300-yard games, set by Prescott himself in 2020 and Tony Romo twice (2007 and 2012).

His 138.3 passer rating against the Giants was a season-high and he has recorded a 100.0 rating-or-better in four consecutive games.

And his QBR against the Giants of 97.2 is the best single-game rating by a quarterback in the NFL this season.

“He’s put together a series of games that are the best of his career,” Jones said. “It’s the fact that he’s doing them back to back. Boy is he really in a position where it’s not only physical but it’s mental.”

While Prescott’s numbers speak for themselves, here’s another number come off ever louder for the hot quarterback and the Cowboys: Zero. The Cowboys have no wins over teams with a winning record in 2023.

The Cowboys have losses against the San Francisco 49ers (6-3), Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) and the Arizona Cardinals (2-7). Theirs wins: New York Giants (2-8) twice, New England Patriots (2-8), New Yorks (4-5), Los Angeles Rams (3-6) and Los Angeles Chargers (4-5).

The biggest knock on the Cowboys and their quest for a Super Bowl with Prescott at quarterback has been an inability to play their best in the playoffs when it matters most.

The Cowboys are certainly on pace to get another shot at it this year.

But no one will take them seriously until they start beating winning teams in the regular season.

And the same is true to for Prescott’s candidacy for MVP.

He should be in the conversation but it needs more substance.

What’s also true is that he will that that opportunity in the coming weeks. After Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers (1-8) and Washington Commanders (4-6), the Cowboys have a streak of games against the Seattle Seahawks (6-3), the Eagles (8-1), at the Buffalo Bills (5-5), the Detroit Lions (7-2), and at the Miami Dolphins (6-3) coming up.

And if Prescott stays hot and the Cowboys come out of that that stretch with a winning record he will not need Parsons to serve as his MVP campaign manager anymore. He will be a front runner heading into the final game of the season against the Commanders.

Until then, there is nothing wrong with pumping the brakes on the Prescott for MVP talk.

There is also nothing wrong with acknowledging that Prescott is playing as well as anyone and has never played better in a Cowboys uniform.

Prescott credits the changes the Cowboys made in the offseason, led by coach Mike McCarthy firing offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and taking over play-calling duties while injecting west coast principles into the offense.

He said what has as occurred over the last month is just a natural progression of the offense with McCarthy and new offensive coordinator Brian McCarthy.

“I credit them,” Prescott said. ”But for me, it’s just about being comfortable and being free. We talked about it going back to the offseason. The footwork and all the different things that we worked on and I feel like at this point so many games into the season, all that comes into play and its feels more natural. We’re this far in the season and I’ve listened to my feet and believed in them.

Everything is just coming together. That’s my point about this. It’s about us hitting our peak at the right time and just trying to grow. That’s where this offense is.”

It’s also where Prescott is.

McCarthy and Schottenheimer said Prescott is in total control.

He is on pace to surpass his career-high numbers of 2021 when set a franchise record with 37 touchdown passes to go with 10 interceptions.

It was during that season with Prescott lauded as an MVP candidate after leading the league a 110.8 quarterback rating passed for 20 touchdowns to five interceptions while spurring the Cowboys to an 8-2 start.

Prescott says he is playing better now than he did then because of the mental aspect that Jones mentioned. He has never been more confident, had more understanding or been in more control of an offense because of the teachings of McCarthy and Schottenheimer.

“I’ve never been a statistics guy,” Prescott said. “In that sense, it doesn’t matter. I can tell you that I’ve never been as confident, as free,and as connected with other guys on the offense play calling and just this whole system and what we’re trying to get after as I am now. Being able to communicate exactly what we’re trying to get what we’re getting after. Showing me looks and preparing me. But then, obviously, the work that me these guys have put in.

“It feels good honestly. Great chemistry. We’re just going to continue to build.”

And while the MVP talk is nice and will continue to build if Prescott and the Cowboys stay hot, that has never been the focus.

The moves in the offseason and Prescott’s play is about building the Cowboys into a team that will win in the playoffs and hopefully end a 28-year drought since their last trip to Super Bowl in 1995.

“This isn’t about me, rather than that. This is about this team,” Prescott said. “This is about us running our own race. We’re trying to build a better team to our best performance and best versions of ourselves each week.”