On the opening Sunday Night Football game of the season, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-3 and lost their starting quarterback Dak Prescott for a significant amount of time. Prescott left the game in the fourth quarter after his hand hit pass-rusher Shaq Barrett and he was replaced by Cooper Rush, who did not initially make the team’s 53-man roster after cutdowns and was only recently promoted to the active roster.
Rush completed 7 of 13 passes for 64 yards and a passer rating of 67.5 in place of Prescott. Quickly, word got out that Prescott’s injury was to his thumb and was considered serious. After the game, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones told a media scrum that Prescott “would be out several weeks.”
According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, sources indicate that Prescott will be out six to eight weeks following a surgery that he is expected to undergo on Monday. That puts his return right around when the Cowboys will head to Lambeau Field in Week 10.
Eight weeks from now should push Prescott to Week 9, Dallas’ bye week, before the Cowboys’ road trip to Green Bay. In the meantime, the Packers will be in the final leg of a stretch that will see them play in five stadiums in five weeks over two countries.
While the NFC East race has opened up for the non-Cowboys teams, that doesn’t mean Green Bay is off the hook in their matchup. They have been in this position before, though, and have seen what a recently-injured quarterback knocking off the rust looks like. Last year, then Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson returned from a finger injury that cost him Week 6 through Week 8 of the season to play the Packers in Week 9. Wilson went 20-of-40 for 200 yards and three interceptions in a 17-0 Green Bay win.
Not only could the Week 10 matchup mark the return of Prescott under center for the Cowboys, but it will mark Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy’s return to Lambeau Field. Despite the fact that he has coached in the NFC over the last two NFL seasons, McCarthy — who helped lead the Packers to Super Bowl XLV as their head coach — has yet to play Green Bay in his tenure with Dallas.
The Packers are 8-1 in their last nine games against the Cowboys, including two playoff wins. They are currently 20-17 all-time against the franchise, including the postseason.