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No doubt — QB Dak Prescott will start for Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos

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FRISCO, Texas – There is no drama this week: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will start Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

“Safe to say,” Prescott said.

Prescott did not play last week because of a right calf strain he suffered in the Oct. 17 win against the New England Patriots on his game-winning touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb in overtime.

Cooper Rush helped lead the Cowboys to a 20-16 win against the Minnesota Vikings, throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns in the first start of his career, including the game winner to Amari Cooper with 51 seconds to play.

“Last week was great for Coop to come in and for us to kind of keep the momentum rolling when he wasn’t out there,” guard Zack Martin said, “but (Prescott) looks great and he looks ready to go.”

Prescott said he is “pretty close,” to 100 percent. He said in his first practice snap on Wednesday, he instinctively scrambled from the pocket and wondered if that was the best decision. He said he will continue with his prolonged warmup to make sure he doesn’t suffer any setbacks.

“I don’t want to say older because I’m only six years into this thing, but as I get more experience, I spend more time taking care of my body,” Prescott said. “Just being very purposeful in that. I feel good. Out there, I’m not thinking about the leg. I’m not thinking about anything but the game plan and preparing myself.”

Prescott said watching from the sideline was a different experience, and he was initially disappointed he did not play against the Vikings.

“Every opportunity that we get to go out there, you don’t get many of them, you want to take advantage of it. But in the same sense, I got over it quick,” Prescott said. “I knew the perspective. I knew where we were coming from and this is a long journey. And we are a team that we can play for a long time. We can play into that last game so I had to keep that in mind when the decision was made.”

Was there a way the Cowboys could keep him out for two games?

“No, they got their two weeks with the bye,” he said, “so we’ll give them that.” In six games, Prescott has thrown for 1,813 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions and he has thrown at least three touchdown passes in his last four starts, a record for a Cowboys quarterback.

What are Prescott’s expectations for Sunday after missing a game?

“Be better,” he said. “That’s my expectation going into everything. I think I’ve had two good days of practice and continue to get better, put the final stamps on the game plan and go out there and be better than I was a couple of weeks ago against the Patriots.”

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers left guard Ali Marpet (abdomen) downgraded to out vs. Indianapolis Colts

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without starting left guard and arguably one of their best offensive linemen, Ali Marpet, when they face the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, the team announced.

Marpet, who sustained an abdominal injury in the second quarter of Monday night’s game against the New York Giants, was downgraded to out Saturday prior to the team’s departure for Indianapolis.

He was initially going to be a game-time decision, but was listed on Friday’s injury report as doubtful.

Marpet was replaced in the game by Aaron Stinnie, who filled in for Alex Cappa last year during the playoffs when Cappa suffered a broken leg in the wild-card game at Washington.

In 51 snaps against the Giants, Stinnie surrendered one sack, and last year, he surrendered only one sack in the postseason — in the NFC Championship game against Kenny Clark.

Marpet’s 74.6% run block win rate is the highest of any offensive lineman on the team, as is his 92.5% pass blocking win rate.

The Colts, meanwhile, have given up 19.5 points per game over the last six games — eighth-best in the league.

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Short-handed Pittsburgh Steelers will take on Cincinnati Bengals without cornerback Joe Haden

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PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers placed two players on the injured reserve list Saturday, and downgraded another to out for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Steelers ruled out cornerback Joe Haden, downgraded from questionable with a mid-foot sprain, and they put tight end Eric Ebron and center/guard J.C. Hassenauer on IR.

Ebron injured a knee last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, apparently during his fourth-quarter touchdown. He is expected to miss extended time with surgery, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler earlier this week.

Ebron was a co-starter along with rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth. He has had a reduced role this season with just 12 catches for 84 yards and a receiving touchdown as well as a rushing TD.

Hassenauer, who was starting in place of guard Kevin Dotson, injured a pectoral muscle early in the loss to the Chargers. Tackle Joe Haeg replaced Hassenauer a week ago, but the Steelers are likely to turn to B.J. Finney, a veteran interior offensive lineman, to replace him in the long term.

With both Dotson and Hassenauer now on IR, the Steelers signed practice squad offensive lineman John Leglue to the active roster.

The team also elevated defensive lineman Daniel Archibong and wide receiver Anthony Miller ahead of Sunday’s game, and signed kicker Sam Sloman to the practice squad.

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Tennessee Titans place wide receiver A.J. Brown on injured reserve

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The Tennessee Titans placed wide receiver A.J. Brown on injured reserve on Saturday ahead of their matchup with the New England Patriots.

Brown suffered chest, rib and hand injuries during last week’s 22-13 loss to the Houston Texans. He played 40 offensive snaps and finished with five receptions for 48 yards on nine targets.

“Walking by faith as always. GOD makes no mistakes,” Brown posted on social media after the news broke that is headed for IR.

Brown will now be out for the next three weeks. The earliest that Brown will be able to return is when Tennessee faces the San Francisco 49ers on Dec 23 on Thursday night football.

In 10 games, Brown has 46 receptions for 615 yards and three touchdowns. He also missed Tennessee’s Week 4 loss to the New York Jets because of a knee injury.

The Titans signed veteran free agent receiver Golden Tate to their practice squad last Tuesday. But they did not elevate him to the active roster after he practiced with the team on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The Titans will likely turn to rookie Dez Fitzpatrick to start in place of Brown. Tennessee utilized the COVID elevation to make receiver Cody Hollister available to them on Sunday against the Patriots.

Hollister joins Fitzpatrick, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chester Rogers as the wide receivers that will be available for quarterback Ryan Tannehill on Sunday.

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