The will be no bigger stage than this week's Sunday Night Football matchup for Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings (6-3) will head back on the road to take on the Dallas Cowboys (5-3) at 7:20 p.m. (CT) Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
Let's see who the experts are picking to win the game:
Cowboys 24, Vikings 20—Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com
It took all of one half of Kirk Cousins' hot streak slowing down for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer to growl to FOX's Pam Oliver about getting his running backs the ball more. The strategy mostly worked, but Minnesota's offense is streaky like its quarterback and not the same without Adam Thielen on the field. Dalvin Cook has made his offensive line look better than it is all year, while Ezekiel Elliott is now running much better and gets great support. Peak DeMarcus Lawrence is also back, and Michael Bennett is already making a difference for the Cowboys' defensive line. I'd be tempted to pick the Vikings if the game were in Minnesota, but a Cowboys team that is now deeper than the opposition is a tough team to pick against.
Cowboys 26, Vikings 19 — Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
\The Cowboys have impressed in winning the past two, but they are playing on a short week. The Vikings, though, are playing consecutive road games after losing at Kansas City. Kirk Cousins doesn't play well in big prime-time games and I think that shows up. The Cowboys win it with their defense leading the way. \
Cowboys 31, Vikings 20 —Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
The Cowboys are a great home team in big games. The Vikings are a bad road team in big games. Dallas is coming off a short week, but Minnesota might run into the same defensive problems it had in Kansas City, only with a few more offensive limitations around Kirk Cousins. Dak Prescott will succeed stretching the field, and Ezekiel Elliott will help with several chunk runs. Cousins will succumb to the Cowboys' pass rush and coverage in crunch time.
Cowboys 30, Vikings 21 — Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk
Dak Prescott isn’t getting enough credit for the outstanding season he’s having. With a big game in prime time against a good Vikings defense, he’ll start to get more credit.
Cowboys 27, Vikings 17 — Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
Another big game for the Vikings and Kirk Cousins. Another big opportunity to change the narrative that Cousins can’t deliver in a big spot. Another failure to get it done.
Cowboys 26, Vikings 20 — Staff, Bleacher Report
With Dak Prescott under center, the Dallas Cowboys are 4-0 against teams featuring Kirk Cousins at quarterback. Prescott has shined in prime time (the Cowboys are 14-5 in night games with Prescott at quarterback) as well as against stuff competition (he has a 105.9 passer rating against top-five scoring defenses, per NFL.com's Gil Brandt), while Cousins is essentially the opposite (6-14 in prime-time starts, and 6-29 against opponents with winning records).
What's more, Dallas is 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread in its last eight home games, while Cousins is just 15-27-2 in his career on the road.
I guess you can see where we're going with this.
"Throw in Adam Thielen's injury, and Dallas minus merely a field goal at home Sunday night is a no-brainer," Gagnon said. "The Cowboys run defense just shut down Saquon Barkley on the ground, so Dalvin Cook likely won't be able to carry Cousins here, and I don't trust the veteran Vikings quarterback at all in a big prime-time road game against a high-quality defense. I've learned my lesson there."
Davenport apparently hasn't learned the same lesson, or he's gambling that there'll be some regression to the mean with some of those historical trends. And that's fair, because the Cowboys have yet to beat a team that had a winning record when they played them, yet they're laying a full field goal against a team that hasn't lost by more than three points since September.
Win Percentage: 50.4%, Average Score: Vikings 22.0, Cowboys 21..0 —FOX Sports
FiveThirtyEight’s 20195 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team’s chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning Super Bowl LIV50. Playoff probabilities are based on 20,000 simulations of the season and will update after each game.