With Peyton Manning retiring, there's no longer a great quarterback rivalry in the NFL. But according to one Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, Carson Wentz vs. Dak Prescott has the potential to turn into an annual must-see affair.
Jordan Matthews played up both rookies this week, saying they could soon be in Tom Brady and Manning's class. Though it's a bit too early to make a true judgment on that, the numbers don't lie: this is a rookie quarterback matchup of historical proportions. Sunday's game between the 5-1 Cowboys and 4-2 Eagles will be the first contest since the 1970 merger in which the combined winning percentage between two first-year QBs is .750 or better. This will be the first time in 110 meetings that the Eagles and Cowboys are both starting rookie quarterbacks.
Oh, and to make matters even more compelling, the two teams are within one game of each other at the top of the NFC East.
Though Wentz's performance has slipped over the last couple of weeks -- he's posted a 63.8 QB rating in the last two games -- he's still enjoying a successful season. The No. 2 overall pick is completing 63.8 percent of his passes overall and has thrown for eight touchdowns with just three interceptions.
Wentz was named the Eagles' starting quarterback after the team traded away Sam Bradford, but also because of his stellar play in the preseason. Coincidently, Prescott played really well in the preseason too, but he needed an injury to Tony Romo to start for the Cowboys Week 1.
When Romo first went down with a broken back, the Cowboys insisted he would get his job back. In fact, they were singing that tune as recently as Oct. 10. "Tony is our No. 1 quarterback. We're going to have the luxury of being able to, I think, see them both," Jerry Jones said, per NFL.com’s Kevin Patra. "I don't want to presume that Dak is going to be necessarily healthy, I don't want to presume anything like that. But I welcome the opportunity of having Dak playing at this level and Tony back in excellent health. It's going to be really special for the Cowboys."
But then, the Cowboys won again with Prescott. The next week, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that Romo "may not be ready" to play after the bye week, appearing to leave the door open for Prescott to start Week 9. At that stage, if the Cowboys are still at the top of the division, it would be difficult for Jones to pull Prescott from the starting job.
After struggling in his debut against the Giants, Prescott has posted a passer rating north of 100 in each of the last five games. During that span, he's completed nearly 69 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and just one interception while throwing for 1,486 yards. The Cowboys are likely tied to Romo financially until 2018, but few teams would even consider removing a quarterback who's playing as well as Prescott right now.
If the Cowboys can defeat the Eagles Sunday, Prescott's case to stay in the starting lineup only gets stronger. But if Dallas loses, and Prescott struggles against an aggressive Philadelphia defense, then it probably becomes less likely that Romo sits after his return. He's thrown passes during practice this week and seems close to returning. The best thing for the Cowboys' season would be a win Sunday. But the best thing for Romo's future in Dallas might be for the Cowboys to lose. It's an odd situation indeed.