The Dallas Cowboys lost Dak Prescott for the season, but veteran backup Andy Dalton is ready for the challenge of leading them to the playoffs
If the Dallas Cowboys are going to make it to the playoffs in 2020, they’ll need to do it with Andy Dalton leading the potent offensive attack.
The Dallas Cowboys have been one of the stories of the season thanks to their wild games and ability to make incredible comebacks which unfortunately for them have mostly fallen short this season. They did so thanks to their high-powered offense and their young QB Dak Prescott who was on pace for a record-setting season.
Prescott’s season was cut short due to a nasty ankle injury that would ordinarily sink the Cowboys’ playoff hopes but for the first time in several years, they have a veteran backup that stepped up and lead them to victory. Andy Dalton was signed this summer by Dallas for precisely this sort of occasion.
Prescott had not missed a start in his career so far but as every coach knows, every team is just a snap away from needing to rely on their backup quarterback. Thanks to the Bengals drafting Joe Burrow first overall, the Cowboys now have a starting caliber QB as their replacement.
In nine years with the Bengals, Dalton has a 70-61-2 record and helped lead Cincinnati to the playoffs for five straight seasons from 2011 to 2015. He left Cinci as the leading touchdown passer in franchise history and was just 1,200 yards from being the team’s all-time leading passer.
Dalton has two seasons of over 4,000 passing yards and four seasons with over 25 touchdowns in his career. He’s not going to be throwing for 400 yards a game the way Prescott was, but he also may possibly be a little more careful with the ball.
Prescott was setting records for yards and touchdowns but he was also a bit reckless, throwing 4 interceptions in 5 games and losing 3 fumbles over that same span. As much as he was responsible for the incredible comebacks, he was partially responsible for putting the Cowboys in that position in the first place.
Andy Dalton has not been the most cautious QB in his career, but he has the experience and know-how to take care of the ball and utilize the incredible weapons he has around him.
The Cowboys have the best receiver group in the NFL and two talented running backs that can help shoulder the load so if Dalton plays within himself, the Cowboys can still continue their march to the playoffs.
Dalton and the Cowboys also have the added benefit of playing in perhaps the worst division in the NFL so an 8-8 record could be enough to win the NFC East. They have 2 division matchups over the next 4 weeks and could put themselves in pole position for the division crown going in to their Week 10 bye.
Dalton won’t have a top tier defense to lean on as he did at times in Cincinnati but he has an arsenal of weapons that can help make up for that deficiency. If he takes care of the ball and gets it into the hands of Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott then he and the Cowboys will be just fine.