For the Dallas Cowboys December has always been somewhat of an eventful month. Either they are taking things down to the final week for a wild-card berth, or wrapping things up on their way to the playoffs. However, in 2017, December will prove critical for one Cowboys player, in particular, Dak Prescott.

The second-year quarterback is in the midst of his longest slump of his short career. Prescott started the season as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He posted twenty touchdowns to just four total turnovers. However, since his partner in crime Ezekiel Elliot has left due to suspension, Prescott has struggled.

Prescott has failed to throw for 200 yards or more now in four straight games with a litany of turnovers and missed opportunities. However, he did gut out a tough performance in last week’s win against the Redskins. Prescott’s toughness was on pure display as his throwing hand continued to swell throughout the game. Despite the injury, he was able to connect with Jason Witten and Dez Bryant for touchdowns, ending his scoreless streak.

The offensive struggles may start with the Cowboys quarterback, but it seems to be a collective effort of ineffectiveness that stretches across the board as Dallas Morning News writer Bob Strum describes.

“It all starts with what appears to be a combination of elements that include a quarterback who is not putting the ball where he would like to put it, a wide receiver group that has no real ability to win downfield (aside from red-zone fades to Dez Bryant), pass protection seeing a lot more pressure that forces the ball out quickly and a play-calling staff that is not interested in gambling beyond 5 yards and a cloud of dust up front.”

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This upcoming slate of games in December is important for Prescott. Not in the sense that his future with the team is in jeopardy, but for his confidence heading into next year. His franchise quarterback status is not in doubt. A rough patch won’t change that. Although a bounce-back performance this month will go a long way in reassuring fans, as well as himself, that he can be an upper echelon quarterback again.

Looking at the schedule, it won’t be easy. Dallas will face a motivated Giants team fresh off of firing its head coach and general manager. Rivalry games can always go either way. That will be followed up by a Raiders team still in the hunt for a division title thanks to the fall of the Chiefs. Dallas will wrap up the season against the Seahawks and Eagles, the two toughest remaining games on the schedule.

The playoffs, while still attainable, will be a long shot if Dallas does not get any help, in addition to winning out. However, this month may be more about finishing strong given the circumstances. There is always that December ghost that hovered over the Cowboys in years past. Prescott in his short career has avoided it. If he wants to continue to do that, his play will have to pick up. Doing so would go a long way to reassure confidences as the Cowboys and Prescott head toward the future.

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