CHARLOTTE - Word on the street is, the 'Boys are back.
The proprietors of Jerry's World made a statement on Monday Night Football as they took over first place of the NFC East with a win over Philadelphia.
After a close loss to Tampa Bay on opening night, Dallas (2-1) has impressive wins over the Chargers and Eagles and has the NFL world talking about a potential return to the playoffs — where Dallas hasn't advanced past the divisional round since losing to Carolina after the 1996 season.
But it's early yet. So let's dive into what you need to know about this Cowboys squad.
DAK IS BACK
It's no secret that the Cowboys' success largely rides on the production and health of quarterback Dak Prescott. On Monday, Prescott played his first game at home since suffering a gruesome ankle injury against the Giants in Week 5 last season.
Prescott was masterful against the Eagles, throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns on 21-of-26 passing for a passer rating of 143.3. It marked the third-highest passer rating in a single game in his career.
This season, Prescott has completed 77.5 percent of his passes with a +10.0 completion percentage above expectation (via Next Gen Stats), second in the NFL behind Teddy Bridgewater.
Dallas has shown that they can adjust their game plan depending on what the defense gives them. In Week 1 against the tough Buccaneers run defense, Prescott threw 58 times (compared to just 18 rush attempts) and nearly led Dallas to victory in the closing minutes.
In wins over Los Angeles and Philadelphia, the rushing attack took over with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Pollard has been an important change of pace to Elliott, and the two backs have totaled 169 yards and 166 yards in the last two games, respectively.
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb makes the big, splashy plays for the Cowboys on the outside, but watch out for Dalton Schultz at tight end. Schultz led the team with six receptions and two touchdowns on Monday, his second six-catch game of the year.
Of course, Amari Cooper is always a threat for a big game, although he's averaged just 25.0 yards over the last two games after exploding for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the opener.
DEFENSE BASED ON DISRUPTIVE PLAYS
The Cowboys defense hasn't shut teams down across the board. In fact, they've surrendered 402.0 yards per game (26th) and 23.0 points per game (13th).
But they have been disruptive at the right times.
Their six interceptions and eight total takeaways are tied for the league high, as Dallas has now gone seven games with at least two or more takeaways, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Cornerback Trevon Diggs had a 59-yard interception return for a score last night. It marked Diggs third interception this season and his sixth pick in the first 14 starts of his career dating back to 2020.
While the Dallas front harassed quarterback Jalen Hurts into some tough plays on Monday, they've largely been unable to get production behind the line of scrimmage. Dallas ranks 28th with nine tackles for loss and is 29th with just four sacks.
Carolina is 5-9 all-time against Dallas, winning the last two in the series.