Dak Prescott's Hand is Fine, Says 'The Playoffs Start Now' - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Dak Prescott's Hand is Fine, Says 'The Playoffs Start Now'

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    Dak Prescott's Hand is Fine, Says 'The Playoffs Start Now'
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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 30: The right hand of quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys after a 38-14 win against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium on November 30, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Dak Prescott’s bruised right hand is just fine.

    There’s no swelling, several days of massages and ice have seen to that.

    He had no problem gripping the football or throwing it at practice Wednesday. As far as Prescott is concerned, it’s a non-factor.

    "No limitations,” he said. "It's not holding me back at doing anything. It's simply bruised. It’s fine - good to go.”

    Prescott: "The Playoffs Start Now"

    Prescott: "The Playoffs Start Now"

    Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott explains why the playoffs start now for the Cowboys and how they do not plan to take the struggling Giants for granted. 

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017)

    He wore a pad briefly on the hand during practice.

    "It felt great,” Prescott said. “There weren't any restrictions. It didn't feel like my hand was bothering me or any limitations on throwing the ball or anything.”

    That’s important because Prescott understands the Cowboys have no margin for error over the next 24 days as they try to make the playoffs.

    They have four games - two until Ezekiel Elliott returns from his NFL-mandated six-game suspension - and they must win them all.

    "The playoffs start now. It's as simple as that,” Prescott said. “It motivates me. I feel like it should motivate anybody in this locker room.”

    The Cowboys’ playoff journey starts Sunday on the road against the 2-10 New York Giants, which will probably wind up being a more difficult game than most folks think.

    First, Eli Manning returns after a one-game benching now that coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese have been fired.

    We all know Manning will play his best game after the embarrassment of last week because he needs to prove to the rest of the league, if not himself, that he’s still a good NFL quarterback.

    Unless the Giants have added more playmakers in the last week their offense remains awful.

    The reason this game will be tougher than most folks think is because the Giants’ defense was built to shut down the Cowboys.

    Literally.

    After the 2015 season, the Giants spent $200 million to sign defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

    They signed Olivier Vernon, so they could team him with Jason Pierre-Paul to make life uncomfortable for Tony Romo. Don’t forget, none of us knew Romo’s career would essentially end with a preseason game-injury prior to the 2016 season.

    They signed Jenkins to control Dez Bryant, and they added free agent Damon Harrison and drafted Landon Collins in the second round to control Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ running game.

    The result: The Giants have owned Prescott.

    They have made the games uncomfortable and he’s never really found a rhythm.

    He’s 1-2 but Dallas has scored just three touchdowns in 34 possessions, while failing to score more than 20 points in any of the games. Prescott has completed just 54.5 percent of his passes, while averaging 5.45 per attempt. He has a passer rating of 69.5

    Understand, he’s a career 63.5 percent passer who averages 7.35 per attempt with a passer rating of 97.3.

    “I think they’re going to play us the same way they’e played us for years,” Prescott said. “They have a game-plan specific to the Cowboys and they do some stuff they don’t do against everybody else and regardless of coaching and quarterback changes and whatever is going on they’re going to play us the same way.”

    Like what?

    “It’s just different when I watch them against us and when I watch them play other teams. At times, they’re aggressive. At times, they kind of sit back and play slow and make me be patient and beat them underneath.”

    The Giants have stopped the Cowboys from making big plays. In 125 pass attempts, Prescott has just six completions of more than 20 yards against New York and four of those came in their 19-3 win over the Giants in Week 1.

    Elliott has 68 carries against New York, but doesn’t have a run longer than 15 yards against the Giants, and Bryant has caught only four of the 23 passes directed his way for 61 yards and no touchdowns.

    And when Dallas has moved the ball, they’ve settled for field goals. Dan Bailey has eight in three games.

    Harrison, the 340-pound defensive tackle, makes running the ball between the tackles difficult. Alfred Morris had 127 yards on 27 carries against Washington last week, but it’s unrealistic to think Dallas will have similar success running against the Giants.

    For the Cowboys to beat the Giants on Sunday, they must get more production from what has been a pedestrian passing game. It should help that Jenkins (ankle) is out for the season, but Prescott has not thrown for more than 179 yards in the four games Elliott has missed.

    Now, Prescott is probably never going to be known as a guy who dominates games with his passing.

    But he can play better than he has without Elliott. So can his receivers. 
    They must.

    Or there will be some slow walking and sad singing at the end of Sunday’s game.