Nothing better than a little mid-summer smack talk between fans of two of the biggest rivals in football. Carson Wentz or Dak Prescott: Who is better? Who will be more successful? With both guys entering just their second year in the league it’s unfair to give either one of them the title quite yet.
But one thing’s certain, Dak Prescott was light years ahead of Carson Wentz last year when evaluating both quarterbacks.
When comparing both player’s stats, Dak Prescott leads in almost every category.
Rushing Touchdowns: 6
Total Passing Attempts: 459
Average Passing Attempts Per Game: 28.7
Yards Per Attempt: 8.0
Completion Percentage: 67.8%
Interceptions Percentage: 0.9%
Yards Per Game: 229.2
20 + Yard Completions: 38
40 + Yard Completions: 8
Quarterback Rating: 104.9
Rushing Touchdowns: 2
Passing Attempts: 607
Average Passing Attempts Per Game: 37.4
Yards Per Attempt: 6.2
Completion Percentage: 62.4%
Interceptions Percentage: 2.3%
Yards Per Game: 236.4
20 + Yard Completions: 39
40 + Yard Completions: 6
Quarterback Rating: 79.3
When comparing the two, you’ll notice that Dak Prescott won more games, threw for more touchdowns, a higher completion percentage, less interceptions, a lower interception percentage, a higher yards per attempt percentage, more 40+ yard completions, and a much higher quarterback rating.
What did Carson Wentz lead in?
Wentz did throw for more yards on the season, 115 more to be exact, on 148 more passing attempts than Prescott… Take that for what it’s worth. Wentz also had more attempts per game, more yards per game (seven more yards than Dak), and just one more 20+ yard completion.
So when we look at the two players, statistically it isn’t even close to who was the better quarterback between the two last year.
But comparing stats is a very lazy way to evaluate players. The truth is in the film as well, and while I’d love to sit down with everyone and break down the entirety of both player’s seasons, but that simply can’t be done.
What I can do, that is the next best thing in my mind is compare the two quarterback’s games against teams both teams played.
Wentz VS Cleveland Browns
The Eagles won their first game of the season against the 1-15 Cleveland Browns 29-10.
Wentz had a very solid rookie debut going 22 of 37 for 278 yards and two touchdowns. Wentz had a 59.5 completion percentage and had a 101.0 QBR.
Prescott VS Cleveland Browns
Prescott also defeated the Browns in week nine, defeating them 35-10. Prescott was great in this game playing in enemy territory. He finished the day 21 of 27, 247 yards and three touchdowns.
Prescott had a 77.8 completion percentage and a WHOPPING 141.8 QBR.
Wentz VS Chicago Bears
Wentz backed up his impressive rookie debut with another good performance against the Chicago Bears.
The Eagles won 29-14 playing in Chicago and Carson completed 21 of his 34 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. He completed 61.8% of his passes and had a QBR of 86.6.
Prescott VS Chicago Bears
Prescott again played great against the Chicago Bears in week three, going 19 of 24 for 248 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. Dak had a great completion percentage at 79.2% and a 123.6 QBR.
Wentz VS Pittsburgh Steelers
Three weeks in a row Wentz had impressive performances. This one was probably his best of the season.
Playing at home, Carson Wentz threw for 301 yards on 23 completions and tossed a pair of touchdowns to defeat the Steelers, 34-3. He ended the night with a 74.2 completion percentage and a 125.9 QBR.
Prescott VS Pittsburgh Steelers
Unlike the Eagles, the Cowboys had to play the reigning AFC North Champions on their own turf. Prescott still didn’t bat an eye and went out and won the game 35-30.
Dak finished the day 22 for 32, throwing for 319 yards and two touchdowns. Both rookies played tremendous games against the Steelers.
Wentz VS Detroit Lions
Wentz was handed his first loss in an away game against the Lions, losing 23-24. He still didn’t have a bad day at the office, going 25 for 33 (75.8%) for 238 yards and two touchdowns.
Wentz threw a big interceptions (his first of the year) on the final drive of the game that would hand the team its first loss of the season.
This is where things started going downhill for Carson Wentz.
Prescott VS Detroit Lions
One of Prescott’s most impressive games of the season came in week 16 at home against the Lions.
The Cowboys won the game 42-21 in one of Dak’s and the team’s most dominant performances of the 2016 season. Dak finished the night 15 of 20 for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Prescott was just about perfect that night, completing 75.0% of his passes and raking up a season high 148.3 QBR.
Wentz VS Minnesota Vikings
One of Carson Wentz’s worst performances of the 2016 season came against the Minnesota Vikings, though it didn’t result in a loss for the Eagles.
He finished the game throwing 16 completions on 28 attempts (57.1) for only 138 yards and one touchdown, while throwing a pair of interceptions.
Wentz also fumbled three times in this game and had a rough quarterback rating of 52.4. Minnesota’s defense was very stout the first few months of the season and definitely gave the rookie a lot of problems.
Prescott VS Minnesota Vikings
Like Wentz, Prescott wasn’t himself that Thursday night in Minnesota. Prescott did manage the game well and was able to finish the game with the win. Dak threw only 18 passes all night, completing 12 of them (66.7%).
On those 12 completions, Prescott threw for 139 yards and one touchdown. Prescott used his legs more in this game, rushing six times for 37 yards. Prescott also had the fumble bug in this game, putting two on the ground.
Wentz VS Green Bay Packers
The Eagles and Cowboys had two totally different outcomes in their regular season matchups against the Green Bay Packers.
Wentz struggled again in this game against the mediocre defense of the Green Bay Packers. Wentz went 24 for 36 (66.7%), throwing for 254 yards and no touchdowns. Wentz did have a rushing touchdown on four attempts for 33 yards.
The Eagles lost this game, 27-13, and any chance of making the playoffs.
Prescott VS Green Bay Packers
Another game that went the opposite direction for the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys. Dallas won the game 30-16 in the tough conditions at Lambeau Field thanks to the rookie quarterback himself and some help from the defense.
Prescott finished the day with a 66.7 completion percentage, completing 18 passes on 27 attempts and tossing three touchdowns in the victory. Prescott did throw his first interception of the season against the Packers, but that had little effect on the game.
Wentz VS Cincinnati Bengals
The wheels finally fell off of the Wentz wagon in week 13 when the struggling Cincinnati Bengals crushed the visiting Eagles 32-14. Wentz was asked to do a lot in this game and was obviously not up to the challenge.
Wentz finished the game 36 of 60 for 308 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Both his completion percentage (60.0%) and his QBR (58.2) where one of the lowest of the entire year for the rookie.
Prescott VS Cincinnati Bengals
Dak Prescott walked all over the Cincinnati Bengals in their week five match up. The Cowboys won the game 28-14 while Dak had yet another solid day at the office. Prescott finished with 227 yards on 18 completions and had an impressive completion percentage (75.0%) and QBR (117.9).
Wentz VS Baltimore Ravens
Wentz was handed his fifth consecutive loss in week 15 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens won a close game, 27-26 and Wentz struggled yet again, going 22 for 42 (52.4%) and throwing his 14th interception on the season. This game was another one of his worst from a completion percentage and quarterback rating aspect.
Prescott VS Baltimore Ravens
This was a game the Cowboys’ coaching staff put on Dak’s shoulders and he responded perfectly. Dak went out and played one of his best games of the season after the Baltimore Ravens were focused on stopping the run.
Prescott threw for 301 yards on 27 completions and also tossed three touchdowns in the 27-17 victory. He had a 127.2 quarterback rating and another great completion percentage of 75.0%.
Wentz VS NFC East Opponents
I lumped all the NFC East games the two quarterbacks played into one section to save you some time. Carson Wentz went 2-4 in divisional games in 2016.
The Washington Redskins swept the Eagles in the two games they met in. Wentz went 11 of 22 for 179 yards and a 50.0 completion percentage when playing at FedEx Field. At home, Wentz was more on his game. He went 32-46 (69.6%) for 314 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Carson Wentz split the series against the New York Giants, losing on the road in week nine and winning at home in week sixteen. Wentz, again played much better at home than on the road, a common factor in his rookie season. In the road loss, Wentz completed 27 passes on 47 attempts for a completion percentage of 57.4% and a QBR of 64.5 and also threw two interceptions in the game.
At home Wentz wasn’t great but did manage the game well, going 13 of 24 for 152 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Wentz was finally able to win a game after losing five straight.
Different team, same story. Wentz was able to win his home game against the Dallas Cowboys in week 17, but couldn’t get the job done at AT&T in week 8. Throwing for 245 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles week seventeen win, Wentz was able to get the season finale win against mostly Cowboys backups.
While he couldn’t get the job done on the road, Carson Wentz did play good against the Cowboys at AT&T stadium in week eight. Going 32 for 43 (74.3%) throwing for 202 yards and one touchdown, Wentz played a solid game against Dallas. But Dak Prescott is the one who came out on top finding Jason Witten wide open in the end zone to win it for the 2016 NFC East Champions.
Dak VS NFC East Opponents
Dak lost three of his games to NFC East opponents, sweeping the Washington Redskins, splitting the series with the Philadelphia Eagles, and getting swept by the New York Giants.
Dak was great in the series against the Washington Redskins. Combining for 487 yards, one passing touchdown, and two rushing touchdowns in his two meetings with the Redskins. Dak posted two 70.0%+ completion percentages and two 100+ quarterback rating against the Redskins in each of his matchups as well.
We have to say Prescott had a split series against the Philadelphia Eagles because he did start the week 17 matchup. In the final game of the season in Philly, Dak threw eight total passes before putting on his baseball hat and watching the rest of the meaningless game from the bench.
In the game that mattered, Dak may have made the play of his life in overtime in week eight. Dak struggled a lot in the first half of the game, but things started to heat up for the Cowboys’ rookie quarterback in the second half. Prescott was almost perfect in the second half and was able to pull out the game-winning drive in overtime to win the game 29-23.
The only team that seemed to have Dak Prescott’s number last year was the New York Giants, and rightfully so. The Giants spent loads of cap space in rebuilding their defense and it worked.
The Giants had Dak’s number last year
Prescott was 25 of 45 for 227 yards in his first game against the Giants. Prescott played a decent game in week one against the Giants but fell short in his NFL debut. In their second meeting, it was a similar result for Prescott. 17 of 37 for 165 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and posted his worst quarterback rating of the year (45.4).
The first argument we’ll hear to defend Carson Wentz is he didn’t have the offensive weapons that Dak Prescott had. While there is some truth to that, it wasn’t all Prescott’s supporting cast that led to his success and it wasn’t Carson Wentz’ supporting cast that led to his failures.
Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott both had great offensive lines in their rookie years. Both offensive lines are top five to top ten offensive lines in the NFL, so that argument gets cancelled out.
ProFootballFocus.com currently has the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line ranked number one heading into the 2017 season.
Where are the Dallas Cowboys?
With the departure of Ron Leary via free agency and the retirement of Doug Free, PFF is expecting the Cowboys OL to drop off quite a bit in 2017.
The running backs where the biggest difference between the Carson Wentz-led offense and the Dak Prescott-led offense.
It’s no secret that Ezekiel Elliott was one of, if not the best running back in the NFL last year and that helped the team, but more importantly Dak Prescott out a lot.
Elliott finished the year with 1,631 yards on 322 carries (5.1 YPC) and scored 15 touchdowns. He also added 32 catches for 363 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles didn’t have a true bell-cow back last year and used more of a running back by committee style.
Ryan Mathews led the backs with 661 yards on 155 carries for a 4.3 yards per carry average and also had eight rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood also got their fair share of carries out of the backfield, combining for 750 yards on 171 carries and three rushing touchdowns between the two players. Darren Sproles had 427 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns.
When you compare the names between the two teams: Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Jason Witten sounds like a much better lineup than: Jordan Mathews, Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, Zach Ertz, and Trey Burton, but their stats weren’t as lopsided as you might think.
The Cowboys’ leading receiver in yards was Cole Beasley with 838, the Philadelphia Eagles’ leader in receiving yards was Zach Ertz with 816.
Cole Beasley hauled in 5 touchdowns to match with his 838 yards, and Zach Ertz hauled in 4 touchdowns to match with his 816 yards.
Where there was difference between the two teams was the leaders in touchdowns.
Dez Bryant led the Cowboys in receiving touchdowns last year with eight, while Zach Ertz led the Eagles with his four. Where it balances out is in receiving yards. The Eagles had six different players with 300+ receiving yards in 2016, compared to the Cowboys’ five.
Also we seem to forget that Dez Bryant missed three games due to an injury that held him out of the San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Green Bay games.
Dak Prescott posted quarterback ratings of 114.7, 117.9, and 117.4 in the games his number one receiver missed in 2016.
In the two games that Zach Ertz missed in 2016, Carson Wentz also posted impressive quarterback ratings (86.6 and 125.9).
When we take an overall look back at both Dak Prescott’s and Carson Wentz’ rookie seasons, there isn’t much difference between the team’s supporting casts. Philadelphia’s defense had a lot more talent on the field than the Cowboys defense, along with a great offensive line to protect Carson Wentz.
What does separate the two supporting casts was the running game.
Ezekiel Elliott was huge for Dak Prescott’s success, but Dak Prescott was a success story of his own. Dak Prescott’s numbers were right up there with some of the NFL MVP candidates and deserve just as much credit as anyone else on the Cowboys roster or coaching staff.
It’s still to be seen if Carson Wentz can have more success in his second year as the Eagles starting quarterback, but one thing’s for certain: with all the new weapons he has (Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, Mack Hollins, LaGarrett Blount, and Donnell Pumphrey) there should be no more excuses for the former North Dakota State quarterback entering year two.
There’s no way of saying who will have the better career between the two players, but right now there is no question who the better, more successful quarterback is, and Dak Prescott is the answer.