Have no fear, Andy Dalton is here! The Dallas Cowboys will be taking on the Kyler Murray led Cardinals tonight and Cowboy nation is nervous as this is the first game that Andy Dalton will be starting after the gruesome Dak Prescott ankle injury.
Much has been said from all the “experts” and analysts about how the Cowboys will be facing a huge drop-off from Dak to Andy. This take might be highly overstated.
It seems people forget that Andy Dalton made the playoffs four years in a row leading a Bengals team on which Dalton’s best weapons may have been Mohamed Sanu and T. J. Houshmandzadeh.
If you compare Dalton’s first 48 starts with Dak’s first 48, there is somewhat of a difference in favor of Dak, but keep in mind that Dak has had one of the best offensive lines and best running backs in the league for the majority of his career.
Clearly Dak Prescott is more mobile, there’s no question about that. However, Dalton does have 13 more passing TDs in his first 48 starts than Dak, as well as more passing yards, and Dalton accomplished this playing with a far inferior passing threat on the Bengals and a defensive-minded head coach with Marvin Lewis.
If you paid close attention to the previous game when Dak got injured, Dalton came in and led the Cowboys to a solid win and he was making some big boy throws throughout the game. These weren’t check-downs, they were solid, precise, high-velocity throws.
It also seems that the general public would seem to agree according to the movement in the betting line for tonight’s game. The Cowboys opened up as +2.5 underdogs when the line was first released. As of this morning, the Cowboys are now -1 favorites against the Cardinals, meaning that the line has been moved a whole 3.5 points in favor of the Cowboys by the betting action coming in on Dallas.
Andy Dalton clearly isn’t Dak Prescott. He without a doubt has a lower ceiling and is an older, less-mobile quarterback than Dak. However, is Andy Dalton a highly-competent quarterback who is capable of leading a team like the Cowboys to the playoffs with the offensive powerhouse that they’ve given him? Yes.