Comparisons and debates about Quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz have raged since both entered the NFL in 2016. The perception war between the two passers, fueled by the rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, saw another major battle this past Sunday. Unfortunately, Prescott took the loss in this one.
Cowboys fans have delighted in Dak's success after he went in the fourth round of the same draft in which Wentz went second overall. Despite two days and 133 players between how they entered the league, Prescott has arguably been the consistently impressive player. The Eagles' biggest wins have come when Wentz was injured.
But this last game was a doozy when it comes to perceptions. Prescott's Cowboys went into Philadelphia with a chance to clinch the NFC East, and up against an Eagles team that was missing about half of its starters from the beginning of the year.
Instead it was Carson Wentz who played the hero, overcoming his lack of weapons to help the Eagles take control of the division. Now Philly controls its own destiny with a victory this week in New York, while the Cowboys have to hope for an Eagles loss and their own win over Washington to limp into the playoffs.
But even if Dallas somehow gets back into first place in the NFC East, what happened last week won't be easily forgotten.
Perception means a lot right now for Dak Prescott. He's entering what will likely be the most important offseason of his career; unrestricted free agency following his rookie contract. For some players, this is their one big chance at securing their future.
Overall Dak has put together a great season in 2019, from MVP whispers early in the year to talk of being a Pro Bowl snub in recent weeks. He's proven that he deserves to be in the conversation with Wentz and any other quarterback who's been given a long-term deal.
But last week was a big opportunity for Prescott to prove he's someone the Cowboys can rely on to win the crucial games. While neither Dallas or Philadelphia probably deserve to play in January this season, it was a playoff atmosphere this past Sunday.
Simply put, Dak came up short. Sometimes the Cowboys lose in spite of his great play, but Sunday saw several errant throws and a general lack of impact from Prescott. He was as much as a contributor in the loss as anyone.
The shoulder injury going into the game was a factor, for sure, but we've seen Dak miss those same throws throughout his career. Consistent accuracy continues to be his biggest weakness.
How you perceive Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz depends on your biases, and not just whether you root for the Cowboys or Eagles. What you like most in your quarterbacks' skill set, and whether your value team accomplishments over individual achievements, are major factors.
Unfortunately, last week's loss checked almost all of the boxes in Wentz's favor.
This war is far from over, of course. Prescott is likely to get a long-term deal from the Cowboys this offseason and will be dueling with Carson for years to come.
Hopefully, Dak Prescott wins the next battle.