Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will get the start on Sunday when the Detroit Lions come to North Texas. It will be the first start for Prescott since suffering a Bennett fracture in the thumb of his throwing hand during the Cowboys’ Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Since going down with the injury, backup QB Cooper Rush filled in for Prescott, going 4-1 to keep Dallas competitive in the suddenly ferocious NFC East. Dallas is in third place in the division behind the 6-0 Eagles and 5-1 Giants. Rush had his worst game last week in the loss to the Eagles and failed to score more than one offensive touchdown in any of the five games.
On Thursday, Prescott was asked if he would be playing this week, to which he responded, “I am.” He added later that he would like to, but the decision was not up to him entirely. He was medically cleared early in the week and performed well in practice, giving head coach Mike McCarthy confidence that the star player is ready to return.
Only one player on the Cowboys roster will be inactive due to injury on Sunday. Matt Waletzko is suffering a shoulder injury and will not suit up. Prescott, receiver CeeDee Lamb, and tight end Dalton Schultz are still listed on the injury report, but all three players are expected to be available. Prescott will likely have more offensive weapons available than Rush did in most of his starts.
The Lions will come into the game missing several key players. On Saturday, the Lions announced that receiver DJ Clark would be moved to Injured Reserve, indicating he will miss a minimum of four games with an ankle injury. Clark said this week, after being seen in a walking boot at practice, that the injury isn’t that serious, and he expects to return this season.
The Lions have also ruled cornerbacks Bobby Price, and Ifeatu Melifonwo have both been ruled out of the game along with linebacker Charles Harris and defensive end Levi Onwuzurike, leaving the Detroit defense significantly short-handed.
The situation isn’t much better on offense for the 1-4 Lions. Receiver Josh Reynolds and running back D’Andre Swift are both listed as questionable for the game. Reynolds is dealing with a knee injury, while Swift has an injury to his shoulder that may prevent the back from being as impactful as the Lions are likely to need against the Dallas defense.
Detroit had hoped to have receiver Jameson Williams active by the game against the Cowboys, but he is still recovering from an ACL tear that has kept him off the field this season.
Detroit has one of the higher-scoring offenses in the league, averaging 28 points per game, but has not been able to finish tight contests. Much of the pressure will fall on the running game, which may struggle with numerous injuries along the offensive line that Dallas’ aggressive rushers will look to exploit, a tactic the team used successfully in the five starts since Prescott went down with an injury.