The best and worst case scenario for the Cowboys while Dak Prescott is out

Dallas Cowboys, Cooper Rush (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys, Cooper Rush (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

Week 1 could not have gone any worse for the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they dreadfully lose their game against the Buccaneers, but they lost their quarterback, Dak Prescott. Now, the Cowboys have a tall hill to climb in front of them.

Cooper Rush is expected to take over as the Cowboys’ starting QB and that does not sound like fun. But, we should give Rush the benefit of the doubt after he led the Cowboys to a victory over the Vikings last year in prime time.

Despite that dreadful feeling most Cowboys have about the season going forward, this team is only 0-1 and still has time to resurrect the season. Albeit different, Dallas also started last season 0-1.

So, where do we go from here? Let’s talk about the best and worst-case scenarios as they get set to play the next seven games without QB1.

The best-case scenario for the Cowboys while Dak Prescott is out

This is the one we all hope comes true. Rush takes over as the starter and proceeds to distribute the ball at a high level. CeeDee Lamb turns into the star we expected him to be and makes the most of the opportunities Rush gives him.

Lamb should be getting 10+ targets every game this season. In Week 1, he saw 11 but only recorded two catches. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has to find creative ways for Lamb to get the ball, instead of continuing to put a predictable game plan on the field again and again. Line him up in the slot, outside, or even the backfield. Make sure No. 88 gets a chance to show why he wears that legendary number.

Also, the Cowboys must continue to run the ball at a high level of efficiency. Ezekiel Elliott had 10 carries for 52 yards in Week 1. That 5.2 yards per carry against a good run defense in Tampa Bay was encouraging.

Tony Pollard needs to get the ball more as well, and not on horrifically bad trick plays. Dallas should feel comfortable giving Pollard the ball anywhere on the field and letting him create yards. The last thing the Cowboys want is Rush sitting in the pocket forever looking to throw deep balls, especially behind a young offensive line. Pollard should get the ball on quick passes and give him space to operate.

The defense looked very good in Week 1 and they are a reason for optimism over the next seven weeks. Micah Parsons can wreck any game and give the offense a short field at a moment’s notice. If they continue to keep teams under 20 points per game, they have a chance to win without Prescott.

So what would an ideal record be? If the Cowboys are 4-4 by the time QB1 is back, that would be great. More than likely they would still be in the running for the division and most definitely be in the Wild Card race.

America’s Team has some winnable games over the next seven as well. The Cowboys could definitely beat the Giants, Commanders, Eagles, Lions, and Bears. Dallas will have to find a way to win at least four of those five games and that would put them at 4-4 by the time No. 4 returns, giving hope for a return to the playoffs.

The worst-case scenario for the Cowboys while Dak Prescott is out

This is where the pain comes in. If the worst-case scenario were to happen, the Cowboys would be 0-8 by the time Prescott returns. It may seem far-fetched that the Cowboys will lose every game under Rush, but after what we saw in Week 1, nothing should be unrealistic.

For them to lose the next seven games, Rush would have to look like what we saw in the preseason. He was inaccurate and struggled to lead the offense on any positive drives. Plus, the weapons at his disposal will look how they did in Week 1.

They already have two teams in the next seven that they are extremally unlikely to beat in the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams. But, a struggling quarterback behind what turns into a bad offensive line would be a disaster.

The Buccaneers already showed that Dallas has a few weaknesses in their offensive line. But, if other teams continue to exploit those and the Cowboys don’t make adjustments, then they deserve what they get.

Also, if the offensive line makes their run blocking from Week 1 look like a mirage, the Cowboys’ offense will be in serious trouble. Not to mention, Dallas lost starting left guard Conner McGovern for multiple weeks to a high-ankle sprain.

For the defense, they have a bunch of good players on that side of the ball. But, the worst-case scenario would hit if injuries start to pile up. They already lost Jayron Kearse to an MCL injury and he will be difficult to replace. It’s hard to be a defense that carries all three phases of this team.

If the worst-case scenario happens, then Cowboys fans will be moving on to draft season before Thanksgiving even begins. Let’s hope for the former not the latter.

Next. The 5 Most Painful Losses in Cowboys History. dark