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Big Facts: Cowboys struggled vs. No. 1 overall picks


The Cowboys are looking to get to 7-3 this weekend with a road game in Carolina before a three-game homestand in Dallas. The Panthers have just one win this year but nothing seems to be a guarantee in the NFL these days.

Heading into Sunday's game, here are 10 interesting facts surrounding the Panthers, the Cowboys and their matchup in Carolina.

  1. Sunday's game will be a showdown of two quarterbacks with opposite trends right now. Dak Prescott ranks third in the NFL with 20+ passes with 38 this year. Rookie Bryce Young ranks last in the NFL in average per reception. Bryce Young ranks 32nd in the NFL in average yard per reception at 5.4 yards. Dak is averaging 8.1 yards a completion.
  1. Cowboys have not defeated a rookie quarterback who was the No. 1 overall pick since defeating Jim Plunkett and the Patriots back in 1971. Since then, they've lost five straight games – Michael Vick (2001), David Carr (2002), Carson Palmer (2003), Eli Manning (2004) and Jameis Winston (2015).
  1. Only 16 players in NFL history have recorded at least 7.5 sacks in their first five seasons. Carolina's Brian Burns is closing in on becoming the 17th. He currently has five sacks this year, including a sack in every other game this season. He did not record a sack in last week's loss to the Bears.
  1. Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Brooks, one of four players on the roster from South Carolina, grew up in Harrisburg, N.C., just 20 miles from Charlotte, where the Cowboys will play Sunday. Brooks is coming off a career-best game in which he caught four passes for 39 yards.
  1. The Panthers currently have two players on their active roster who have played for the Cowboys, including backup quarterback Andy Dalton, who spent the 2020 season in Dallas. Dalton started 9 of his 11 games played that year in relief of Dak Prescott. Carolina also has starting safety Xavier Woods, a 2017 draft pick of the Cowboys who played four seasons in Dallas. After a one-year stint with the Vikings, Woods is in his second season with the Panthers.
  1. While the Cowboys have lost two playoff games in Carolina, they have a much-better success rate in regular season games, owning a 5-1 record. Their only road loss in this series occurred in the 2018 season opener, losing 16-8. Overall, the Cowboys own a 10-5 record over the Panthers in the regular-season.
  1. Something has to give in the third quarter. The Cowboys have dominated the scoring in all other quarters this year except for the third, where the combined score is 39-39 in nine games this year. Meanwhile, the Panthers have been dominated 54-19 in the third in their nine games.
  1. First eight games of the regular season, Brandin Cooks had 165 combined receiving yards, with no more than 49 in a single game. In the last game alone, Cooks had 173 yards, the second-most of his career. He jumped his per-game average from 20.6 to 37.5 in one game.
  1. Micah Parsons is coming off the first game of his career in which he did not record a single tackle. He also saw a three-game streak end for both sacks and tackles for loss.
  1. The Cowboys have yet to have the same starting five offensive linemen start a game for three straight games. However, with no players on Friday's final injury report, it appears the Cowboys could have their first stretch of O-line consistency from left to right of Tyron Smith, Tyler Smith, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin and Terence Steele.

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