FRISCO, Texas – For the most part, Dak Prescott handled just about every test thrown his way last year. However, facing the New York Giants was a different story.
The Giants handed the Cowboys two of their three losses last year, and excluding the final game of the season in which he was removed from the game early to avoid injury, Prescott's two worst passer ratings came against the Giants' defense.
A world where Cowboy faithful weren't confident putting their faith in Prescott seems strange and distant, but when he faced the Giants in the season opener last season the Cowboys' quarterback looked mostly unspectacular as the Giants won 20-19.
Prescott will have a shot at redemption in this year's season opener. He said Wednesday that while he wants to win every game he has some extra motivation to beat New York.
"[After] not beating them last year, it could mean a little bit more [this time]," Prescott said. "There's a lot going into this one."
The Giants held Prescott in check by not letting him get used to any particular defensive tendencies. He managed only one touchdown and two interceptions in two contests against them.
"They gave us more looks than I'd say most teams did," Prescott said. "But at the same time I'd say it's just me and the offense not being on the same page. Or me not being able to find the right guy."
It's easy to throw around the warning that defenses won't be caught off guard by Prescott during his second season, but it's been almost exactly one year since the last time the Giants played in Dallas against a quarterback playing in his first NFL game. Prescott says he's coming into this opener much more prepared.
"That comes with the experience and knowing how much of a better player I am than I was last year."
Dez Bryant, Prescott's most explosive weapon, was held to a combined 18 receiving yards in two games against the Giants. Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins primarily defended Bryant and wasn't shy talking about his success against him in their two matchups.
"That just makes Dez hungry," Prescott said. "Dez is ready to go. He's ready for this matchup."
The Giants have one of the top defenses Dallas will play all season, but Prescott believes that both losses last season were attributed to mistakes that they don't plan on making again.
"I think we challenged ourselves," Prescott said. "Not that they didn't do a good job. They're a good defense. They match up well against us. But a lot of times we weren't on the same page and it came back to bite us."
Prescott claims there are still butterflies in his stomach leading up to a game, just like last season, but they're always gone by kickoff. He led Dallas to one of the more dominant seasons in Cowboys history a year ago, but the Giants were the biggest thorn in his side. For the Cowboys to improve, he'll have to prove he's capable of beating them. And improvement is certainly in his plans.
"Last year was a taste of what we can be," Prescott said.