Mike McCarthy is still trying to win over a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans in his third season with the team. This Sunday’s showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles presents Dallas’ head coach with a major opportunity to earn some brownie points. It would arguably be his biggest win so far since joining the organization.
If the Cowboys can go into Philly and take down the undefeated Eagles, especially with Cooper Rush at quarterback, it would be the signature win on McCarthy’s resume so far in Dallas. And really, even if Dak Prescott does make a shocking return it might still qualify. While the Cowboys did go 12-5 last season, it’d be hard to point to a single one of those victories and say it had the stakes of this week’s matchup.
A victory would not only be big on its own merit but would give McCarthy a stunning 9-0 record against our NFC East rivals going back to last season. His first year in 2020 was a disaster on almost every front, which included Dallas only going 2-4 in the rivalry games. But since then we’ve seen Mike get back to one of his trademarks from his days in Green Bay by dominating his division.
As head coach of the Packers from 2006 to the middle of 2018, McCarthy amassed an impressive 53-23-2 record against the rest of the NFC North. Green Bay won six division titles and finished second with 10-plus wins in three other seasons during that run.
Beating up the division matters
While Jason Garrett certainly had his faults, handling business within the division was rarely one of them. The Cowboys’ previous head coach beat up on the Commanders, Eagles, and Giants plenty during his tenure but would then get exposed by stronger competition in the playoffs.
There’s still healthy debate on just how stiff the competition in the NFC East is in 2022. Despite their undefeated record, Philadelphia’s competition has been less than stellar and they’ve only squeaked out wins against mediocre teams like Arizona and Detroit. The 4-1 Giants are even more suspect, especially after watching them firsthand in their loss to the Cowboys.
Proper evaluation of teams really can’t happen until much further in the season, or even after it’s all said and done. But based on what we know going into this Week 6 battle between Dallas and Philly, you have two hot teams colliding in what will be a supercharged primetime atmosphere.
In a way, Cooper Rush’s involvement would help the Cowboys to play without the same anxiety this week. A loss can be easily chalked up to Dak Prescott’s absence while getting QB1 back would almost assuredly turn up the pressure on Dak, McCarthy, and the rest of the team to live up to heightened expectations.
That said, whether it’s Prescott or Rush under center for the Cowboys on Sunday night, a victory under these circumstances would be the biggest moment yet in Mike McCarthy’s time as Dallas’ head coach. Not only would it extend his current streak of dominance over the NFC East but would give the Cowboys a strong claim to being the best team in the entire conference.