FRISCO, Texas – No doubt FOX will be pleased to hear this from Mike McCarthy ahead of the ratings dream known as Cowboys-Chiefs:
"If I was a fan, this is a game I'd watch on Sunday, especially with both quarterbacks," the Cowboys head coach said.
Honestly, though, the 3:25 p.m. (Central) matchup at Arrowhead Stadium doesn't need much promotion.
It's Dak Prescott. It's Patrick Mahomes.
It's the NFL's two highest-paid quarterbacks and two of the league's brightest young stars.
And they've got plenty of respect for each other.
At 26, Mahomes is already a Super Bowl champion, a Super Bowl MVP and league MVP. After a slow start, the defending AFC champion Chiefs (6-4) have won three straight games, most recently a 41-14 blowout win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football.
Prescott says he always tries to learn something from watching the great quarterbacks, including Mahomes.
"Just his competitiveness," Prescott said. "He never believes he's out of a game, thinks he can make every throw. And I think that's huge at this position just to have that confidence. I think it goes a long way in bleeding to your other teammates and those guys feeding off of that as well. He's a big-time playmaker. He's a great player. MVP obviously, Super Bowl MVP. Special talent."
Prescott, 28, has led the Cowboys to a 7-2 start, just a half-game behind the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers (8-2) for the NFC's best record. Through eight starts, he leads all starters with a 110.8 passer rating (20 touchdowns, 5 interceptions) and ranks second in completion percentage at 70.3, a career high.
"First off, he's a tremendous leader," Mahomes told the Kansas City media this week. "I think you can see that, even when you're just watching as a fan of him and of them. He's a tremendous leader, he's been a starter in the league for a long time now. He's athletic. You can see that by the way he played in college. And he can make a lot of big-time throws. They have a great offense over there. They have a great team over there. It'll be a great challenge for us going up against them this week."
The Cowboys have the better record heading into Sunday, but the Chiefs have home-field advantage and a championship
résumé. Prescott didn't call the matchup a measuring stick, but an exciting challenge "going into a hostile environment, playing against a great quarterback, a good offense, a great team, a team that has been the team of the last two years or the last few years, I'd say."
The offense has tried to simulate the Arrowhead crowd noise as best as possible in practice this week. The key, Prescott said, is handling their verbal and non-verbal communication.
"Make sure that we're all on the same page, all 11, because if we all are and we're communicating well, we're a tough group to stop," he said.
Prescott's assignment this week is the Chiefs' resurgent defense, not Mahomes. But there's no question who's headlining this Week 11 matchup.
"That's what everybody wants to see," Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup said. "Two great football players, great teams, great offenses, powerful defenses. It's going to be a battle. So just sit back, get your popcorn. It's going to be a good one."