Cowboys Betting: Should Tony Romo or Dak Prescott Start?

tony-romo-dak-prescottIf you were to guess before the 2016 season where the Dallas Cowboys would be without Tony Romo at this point, what would your answer have been?

3-3? 2-4? Maybe event 1-5?

Certainly not 5-1 with the best record in the NFC East right now. Dallas has more than exceeded expectations with fourth-round rookie Dak Prescott leading the team.

In Dallas’ latest triumph – a 30-16 victory over the Packers at Green Bay – Prescott was 18 of 27 passing, with 247 yards and three touchdowns. He did have an interception and two fumbles, but those have been easily overlooked in another winning effort.

Prescott’s play and the Cowboys’ record have many considering the unthinkable: should he start even when Romo is healthy after Week 8? Let’s answer this question by looking at both sides of the equation.

The Case for Dak Prescott

Contrary to last season, when Dallas went 1-12 with a mix of starters in the absence of Romo, they’ve stayed in contention without their franchise quarterback. And a good deal of praise can be given to Prescott for this.

dak-prescottHe boasts a 70-percent completion rate, the best interception rate for QBs with six starts, a 103.9 passer rating, and he’s throwing for nearly 250 yards per game.

The Prescott hype has reached such epic proportions that even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones – an avid Romo fan – couldn’t commit to who’ll start in Week 8.

“I think we’ll look and see how we do,” said Jones. “It is two weeks away, and Tony is getting better. I was talking to a guy that was catching his balls and he pulled his shirt up and showed me his bruises on his ribs. [Romo’s] throwing with some velocity out here. I’d hate to end up here with two winning quarterbacks and a tough decision as to who’s going to win the game.”

Prescott does one thing very well when he’s on the field: minimizes mistakes and plays within the Cowboys’ system. Prescott is playing behind an excellent line, and he knows that he doesn’t have to do too much.

As ESPN’s Ian O’Connor points out, another thing going in Prescott’s favor is that he’s 13 years younger than Romo, bigger, stronger, and healthier.

The Case for Romo

The case against Tony Romo is easy because, over the last two seasons, he’s only started 3 of a possible 22 games. But the good news is that an MRI shows his vertebrae has healed; the only question now is when he’ll be in game shape.

As for Romo’s numbers when on the field, nobody can argue against him here.

tony-romo-cowboysThe 36-year-old quarterback has the third-best career passing rating (97.1) in NFL history, the fourth-highest career completion rate (65.3%), and 247 TD passes against just 117 interceptions.

Many point to Prescott’s outstanding 103.9 passer rating so far, but Romo has surpassed this 57 times in 127 career starts. This is all the more impressive considering the cupcake schedule that Prescott has faced so far.

One could easily argue that there wouldn’t be a quarterback controversy if Dak hadn’t faced six teams with a combined 11-18 record. It’s not hard to see Romo, with his career numbers, also producing a 5-1 record in this situation.

Who Should Start?

The answer shouldn’t be based on who’s won up to this point, but rather who can take Dallas the furthest down the stretch.

Credit Prescott for what he’s done up until now, which is put the Cowboys in a position to win the NFC East. But outside of a road game against Cleveland in two weeks, and a home meeting with Tampa Bay on Nov. 18, things only get tougher from here.

Dallas has one of the best, if not THE best, offensive lines in football. Their strength is in clearing holes for Ezekiel Elliott, who’s helped revive the run game in Dallas.

In this situation, you need an experienced quarterback who can make clutch throws when needed to keep the pressure off the running game. Prescott has done this so far, but will he continue to do so against the likes of Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Baltimore?

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