FRISCO, Texas – A quarter into the NFL season, rookie Dak Prescott is directing the league's second-ranked offense.
The Cowboys lead the league in rushing touchdowns (8), and Prescott has already set a rookie quarterback record with a passer rating over 100 in three games – all wins.
It's a balanced attack that, despite Tony Romo's injury absence since late in preseason, has led to a three-game winning streak and a 3-1 record. The Cowboys will return to AT&T Stadium this Sunday looking for their fourth straight victory – a streak reached only three times since 2007.
To do it, Prescott and the offense must find ways to score against arguably their toughest challenge to date.
"The Bengals, they're a great defense," Prescott said Wednesday. "Schematically they're not too complicated, but they've got a great, great front seven, probably the best front seven we've seen so far this season. So it'll be a good challenge. We look forward to it."
Cincinnati's defensive line features Pro Bowlers Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, and returning linebacker Vontaze Burfict gives the defense another elite playmaker. Back from a three-game league suspension in Week 4, he helped the defense hold the Dolphins to 222 total yards and eight first downs in a 22-7 win. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked five times.
The Bengals have an active secondary, too – their defense had the fourth-most takeaways last year (28).
Prescott has credited his offensive line for protecting him and creating holes for the second-ranked running game. He has been incredibly efficient, too – he has the second-most pass attempts without an interception in league history to start a career (132).
"Good fortune," he said. "There was one dropped on the third play of the game (last Sunday against San Francisco)."
The Cowboys know they must continue avoiding big mistakes Sunday against the Bengals.