Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott will be back in action this week after missing the last five games with an injury.
The 29-year-old fractured his right thumb in the Cowboys’ season-opening loss. He underwent surgery on September 12, was medically cleared earlier this week, and began practicing full-out on Wednesday.
In his absence, backup quarterback Cooper Rush’s success at the helm was a welcome surprise for Cowboys fans. He led the team to a 4-1 record, with the sole loss coming in Week 6 against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
Against the Eagles, Rush’s limitations and inexperience were revealed, as he threw three interceptions and the win-streak was broken. But until that loss, he had 839 passing yards, four touchdowns, and 121 pass attempts without an interception.
He kept the team afloat in a highly competitive NFC East, exceeding all expectations in his first stint as a starter.
There was rarely a shred of doubt that Prescott would take back over as soon as he was healthy. In addition to his contribution on the field, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy noted his leadership and energy as huge benefits to team morale.
The question is what will the adjustment period be like, considering it’s been five weeks since he last took the field?
The Cowboys’ offense will have to readjust to working with Prescott as opposed to Rush. Prescott himself will likely need to work out some kinks that naturally occur with injury recovery. This would be a prime game for Dallas to shift emphasis to the rushing game, utilizing running backs Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard.
Prescott’s anticipated return falls on a home matchup with the Detroit Lions. He is 3-0 in his career against Detroit, with eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
The last-in-their-division Lions enter the contest fresh off a bye week, posting a dismal 1-4 record.
The Lions have had success finding the end zone this season, scoring an average of 28 points per game. But they have struggled immensely on defense.
Despite playing just five games so far, they have surrendered the most points of any team in the league, with opponents averaging 34 points per game.
To compare, the Cowboys defense allows an average of just 16.3 points per game. Ultimately, the Cowboys defense could prove too strong for the typically high-scoring Lions.
To see Prescott’s return, tune in on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Another quarterback set to return on Sunday is Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa.
Just under a month after suffering a head injury that led to a change in the NFL’s concussion protocols, Tagovailoa could feature against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since the injury, he said he was unconscious after being thrown to the ground during that September 29 game and doesn’t remember what happened to him immediately after his head struck the turf.
“Getting carted off – I don’t remember that,” he said on Wednesday. “But I do remember the things that were going on when I was in the ambulance and then when I arrived at the hospital.”
The Kansas City Chiefs travel to the Bay Area to face the San Francisco 49ers. This is the first meeting between these two teams since the Chiefs took home Super Bowl LIV.
Kansas City boasts one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes, while San Francisco has one of the league’s top defensive units.
The game will also feature the two tight ends with the most career receiving yards per game in NFL history: the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce (71.1) and the 49ers’ George Kittle (65.8).
The 49ers already made headlines this week for a blockbuster trade, acquiring running back Christian McCaffrey from the Panthers. The trade was announced on Thursday.
McCaffrey flew to San Francisco on Friday to become acquainted with his new teammates and program. It would require a very quick turnaround for McCaffrey to play on Sunday, so it is uncertain the extent to which he will be utilized on the field.
To watch how it all plays out, tune in on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.
Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce has totaled over 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each of his past three games.
The fourth-round pick out of Florida ranks second of all rookies this season with 469 scrimmage yards. With at least 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders this week, he would become just the fifth rookie since 2000 to record 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in four-or-more consecutive games.
The Texans and Raiders face off on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.
Here’s how to catch these teams and others across the league in action, from wherever you are.
Australia: NFL Game Pass, ESPN, 7Plus
Brazil: NFL Game Pass, ESPN
Canada: CTV, TSN, RDS, NFL Game Pass on DAZN
Germany: NFL Game Pass, ProSieben MAXX, DAZN
Mexico: NFL Game Pass, TUDN, ESPN, Fox Sports, Sky Sports
UK: NFL Game Pass, Sky Sports, ITV, Channel 5
US: NFL Game Pass, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, Amazon Prime