NFL Analysis


6 min read

Dak Prescott's Performance vs. Seahawks Puts Him at Front of MVP Race

Dak Prescott looking to throw the ball vs. the Seahawks
Nov 30, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws a pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If the NFL season ended today, Dak Prescott would be the MVP. 

Thursday night's 41-35 flag-filled shootout win by the Dallas Cowboys over the Seattle Seahawks captured Prescott's MVP status in totality. For four straight quarters, he was equal parts caretaker and heavyweight fighter. 

Prescott commanded the line of scrimmage with protection calls and pre-snap intuition. He made all the quick, boring throws that didn't feel like anything until suddenly the Cowboys were knocking on the door of the end zone. When he was pressured, Prescott found an answer late in the down.

Everything was in his control. 

Prescott also went for the jugular time and time again. No matter how tight the coverage, Prescott was relentless in attacking the Seahawks' defense down the field.

Some of those throws got wiped away because of penalties, so his aggression might not show in the numbers. However, you could feel his it during the course of the game — Prescott was just waiting for kill shots any time Seattle faltered in coverage for even a millisecond. 

Dak's MVP Night

Dallas' first touchdown of the evening was a clear example of Prescott's killer instinct. 

With the ball on Seattle's 15-yard line, WR CeeDee Lamb went in motion from left to right before the snap. The Seahawks responded by having Jamal Adams, playing as the nickel corner, follow Lamb across the formation, keeping their two-high safety shell intact. 

That let Prescott know all he needed to know. 

Lamb and the other receiver to his side, Michael Gallup, ran a Double Posts concept, a perfect Quarters coverage beater because the safety will always draw himself away to take the inside post.

The instant the safety squeezed inside, Prescott ripped a throw to Lamb between the safety and the corner, leading Lamb up the field so as to not let the cornerback undercut the ball. The read, decision, timing and placement of that throw could not have been more perfect. 

That pass is just a small taste of all the insane plays Prescott made against Seattle; he was in that zone all game. More importantly, Prescott has been in that zone for the better part of two months. 

Dak's Renewed Dominance

Since getting thrashed by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5, Prescott has been the best quarterback in the league by a country mile. It's not even close from a statistical perspective — as if Prescott's film doesn't speak for itself, anyway. 

Prescott has produced 0.34 EPA per play from Week 6 and on. That is the best in the league, and it's double that of Matthew Stafford and Lamar Jackson, who are roughly tied for second. It's triple that of Joe Burrow and Kirk Cousins, tied at fifth. Even Jalen Hurts, a fellow MVP candidate, is nowhere near Prescott in seventh place with 0.10 EPA per play. 

Of course, EPA is heavily influenced by explosive plays. A player could turn in an awesome EPA number while not necessarily being consistent down to down. That typically evens out over large sample sizes, but seven or eight games isn't a massive sample, so you might get some silliness. 

That's not the case with Prescott. 

During that above span, Prescott's 50.8 percent success rate is second behind Josh Allen. The only other quarterbacks above 50 percent are Patrick Mahomes (the GOAT) and Brock Purdy (playing with the Avengers). 

Here's where you see Prescott's command at the line of scrimmage and play under pressure bearing out in the numbers. Prescott is in control of the entire operation and knows where every little answer in the offense is, whether that's ways to escape the pocket, checkdowns, scrambles or whatever. 

Debunking Myths

If all of that isn't convincing enough, let's address the Prescott interception narrative real quick. Remember this offseason when all anyone wanted to talk about was his interceptions?

Well, if you can believe it, the interceptions have almost entirely gone away and Prescott is back to the same level of ball security he had been for most of his career before 2022. 

He has thrown just two interceptions since Week 6, which is good for a 0.8 percent interception rate. The only quarterback in the league with a lower interception rate is Kenny Pickett, who barely counts as a comparison point because Pickett does not try half as many difficult throws in a season as Prescott does in a single game. 

Prescott is explosive, efficient and conscious with the ball. What a combo. 

Now, I know the mental responses I'm getting to all of this: "You can't just leave out the game against the 49ers." That's fair.

Removing the "since Week 6" filter doesn't change a whole lot about Prescott's MVP case, though. 

For the entire season, his 0.21 EPA per play is still only second to Purdy's. No other quarterback even joins those two above 0.15 EPA per play — it's just Prescott and the "Super Offense" in San Francisco. 

Prescott does trickle down a smidgen when you sort by success rate. His 49.6 percent success rate ranks seventh. Though that's not as elite as this recent stretch, that's still better than Hurts, Trevor Lawrence, Jackson, Justin Herbert and C.J. Stroud, all of whom are exceptional quarterbacks in their own ways. 

Prescott has been a machine all season. He's just firing on all cylinders right now. 

MVP Race Isn't Finished

All that said, the MVP race is still far from over, and Prescott's journey to the finish line is no cakewalk. Thursday night's barnburner against the Seahawks was just the appetizer for a gnarly stretch of games to finish out the season. 

During the next month, the Cowboys play the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions (in that order). All four of those teams' quarterbacks and offenses will make Prescott go blow for blow. Moreover, at least two of those defenses — the Eagles and the Dolphins — will make Prescott work for every yard. 

The Eagles and Lions games are also on prime time, so America will be watching Prescott try and bring this award home. 

It's hard to see why Prescott would falter, though. He is playing his position at the highest level he has ever played. Nobody else in the league is producing like he is. The only reason to fade Prescott in his current form is because of the Cowboys' general misfortune and bad vibes since the 1990s, which isn't a serious reason to fade a player who is head and shoulders above his peers. 

The Cowboys' vibes aside, Prescott should be the leading man for the MVP award, and he will get every opportunity in the world to seal the deal.