NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott became the NFL's punching bag following a 2022 season in which he co-led the league in interceptions with 15 alongside Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills. Prescott also stood as the first player to lead or co-lead the league in interceptions despite missing five or more games, after missing five with a thumb injury on his throwing hand.

Fast forward to 16 games into the 2023 season, and Prescott is on the verge of making history with positive vibes as he enters the final week of the regular season with +1600 odds to win NFL MVP, the second-best in the league behind Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Prescott earned that favor by leading the NFL in passing touchdowns with 32 entering entering Week 18 while only tossing eight interceptions, a stark contrast to his 23 touchdown passes to 15 interceptions in 2022. 

"At that time last year, I knew this is who I am, just as I talked about then," Prescott said. "Some things were tough, balls weren't going exactly the way I wanted to, some crazy bounces here and there, and some tight throws that weren't working in my favor. And then your occasional bad interception, which is still happening this year. For me, it's just about staying true to myself, keep working and not allowing other people's opinion, critics really, affect my game or the way that I approach this."


Comp Pct



Pass Yards/Att



Pass YPG264.85th
Pass TD321st




Passer Rating 






His 1.4% interception rate is the third-lowest in the league this season, trailing two passers who have missed games with injuries in Texans rookie C.J. Stroud (1.1%) and the Steelers' Kenny Pickett (1.2%). Besides 2017, when Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott served a six-game suspension, and last season when fighting through the thumb injury, Prescott has posted interception rate figures lower than his career figure of 1.9%, which is tied for the eighth-best in NFL history. 

"Probably one of the most important statistics in quarterback play," Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday about interception rate. "[A figure of] 1.7 or less will win it annually for you, if you're looking for a benchmark or a goal."

Prescott's head coach agreed that 2017 and 2022 were outliers and that this season falls in line with type of quarterback Prescott really is. 

"I think so," McCarthy said. "I think if you go back and look at his history I think that would be accurate."

Should Prescott hold on to sole possession of the NFL lead in passing touchdowns (32), he would become the first player in the Super Bowl era -- since 1966 -- and just the second in league history (along with Hall of Famer Bob Waterfield in 1945-1946) to jump from the NFL's interception leader to passing touchdown leader in consecutive seasons, according to NFL Media researcher Dante Koplowitz-Fleming

Dak doing so feels likely for a couple reasons. First, he faces the worst defense in the NFL on Sunday at the Washington Commanders in Week 18, the worst scoring (30.0 points per game allowed) and total (385.8 total yards per game allowed) defensive units in the NFL. Second, one of his top competitors, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, who is right behind Prescott with 31 passing touchdowns, isn't playing Week 18 with the No. 1 seed already secure for San Francisco.

Commanders defense this season

NFL Rank

PPG Allowed



Total YPG Allowed



Yards/Play Allowed



TD-INT Allowed



Passer Rating Allowed 



* T-worst ranked scoring defense by Washington in Super Bowl Era (Finished last in 1994)

That leaves just Packers quarterback Jordan Love, whose 30 passing touchdowns are the third-most in the NFL, as the primary threat to Prescott's historic rebound claim to fame. Love and the Packers host the Bears in Week 18, looking to clinch a playoff spot with a victory. Love will be going full throttle on Sunday. 

Prescott can also make Cowboys team history like teammate CeeDee Lamb, who re-wrote Dallas' single-season records for catches (122) and receiving yards (1,651) after they had both belonged to Hall of Famer Michael Irvin since 1995. He can become the first Cowboys quarterback to lead the NFL in touchdown passes exclusively in a single season. Hall of Famer Roger Staubach tied for the NFL lead in 1973 with Roman Gabriel as they both had 23 passing touchdowns. Should the milestone come to fruition, the team will ensure it's celebrated. 

"Well, I'll say this, I mean, I think anytime -- we went through this on Monday with CeeDee, actually Wednesday with CeeDee," McCarthy said Thursday. "Anytime you stand up and say, 'This is the [one of the] greatest season[s] in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, I mean that carries a tremendous amount of weight, credibility and value. So yeah, definitely. I'm all about winning but you do want to recognize individual performances. Our organization has incredible history, incredible tradition of Hall of Fame players, all of that so to have that type of year we definitely will recognize it."

However, Prescott pumped the breaks on focusing too much on his individual accomplishments this season given a rash of quarterback injuries around the league that claimed Aaron Rodgers (Achilles), Joe Burrow (wrist), Kirk Cousins (Achilles), Justin Herbert (finger), Deshaun Watson (shoulder), Anthony Richardson (shoulder) and Daniel Jones (torn ACL) to name a few. 

"It's numbers. It's stats. It's part of it," Prescott said. "That's why I don't get caught up in that stuff. A lot of great quarterbacks were injured this year, unfortunately. I just worked to be my best each and every day and make sure the guys around me are [working too]. Numbers are numbers, I don't get caught up in them."  

While Prescott reiterated the Super Bowl being the priority for the Cowboys this season, he has more than earned the opportunity to stop and smell the roses at some point on Sunday in Washington for a historic display of perseverance following the ugliest season of his eight-year career in 2022.