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Dak Prescott will start, but Mark Sanchez expected to get most reps in Cowboys vs. Eagles

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Darren McFadden should expect some burn, too.

Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

It’s that time of year where we question whether certain teams should or should not be resting their starters, and the Dallas Cowboys have been at the center of that discussion.

On Thursday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that Mark Sanchez would be active on Sunday against the Eagles, and receive the majority of playing time at quarterback. Rapoport also indicated that Ezekiel Elliott might be having a light workload with Darren McFadden also getting the majority of reps. McFadden came in for Elliott this past Monday night against the Lions in the second half.

A week after two starting quarterbacks — Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota — broke their legs, the decision to ease up on starters in the final week shouldn’t be too surprising. Besides, the Cowboys don’t even benefit from a win since they’re already the NFC’s top seed. As Rapoport mentioned, left tackle Tyron Smith will be out this week, as well, adding to the inclination to lighten the workload for his starters.

During the week, Prescott and Elliott were strongly against the idea of the Week 17 game being meaningless.

“No game is meaningless,” Prescott said. “There’s quality reps against a quality opponent that’s in our division that we’ll play for years to come that I’ll face off against. So any reps that I can get against a good team to make myself better to get some momentum going into the playoffs, I’ll take it.”

Elliott spoke a similar tone in talking to reporters on Wednesday.

“You guys say ‘meaningful games,’” Elliott said. “Every game is meaningful. It may not matter if we win or lose, but it matters in the total grand scheme of things. We’re trying to stay sharp so we can go into these playoffs like a high-octane machine. We’re not looking at them as games that aren’t meaningful. Every game is meaningful.”

Prescott and Elliott also indicated that they would be preparing for the week just as they did for the first 16 weeks of the season. Both said that they had not been informed of lesser playing time or any change in the game plan. The team has had a great rhythm, and that’s something that Jason Garrett has said he doesn’t want to disrupt.

Surely Prescott wouldn’t mind seeing Sanchez get in the game and do well. Sanchez has been a good mentor this season for Prescott, as indicated by Prescott himself:

It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sanchez would get the nod over Tony Romo, especially after what Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, via ProFootballTalk.

“I hear this stuff about rust,” Jones said. “Well, Romo doesn’t look rusty at practice, I’ll tell you that. He’s out there practicing against some pretty good guys. Romo has had huge numbers of experience, he’s seen everything that an NFL defense can throw at him. And so you don’t have to worry about the number of repetitions.

“All of that said, it’s better not to have a risk with him and to keep him available to us during the playoff.”

Even so, Romo is expected to get some reps and is likely to see the field in the first time in over a year:

It sounds like the Cowboys have found a plan that is going to touch on every aspect of what they want to accomplish heading into the postseason. As long as there’s no injuries, everybody’s happy.