The Cowboys are Super Bowl contenders
The Dallas Cowboys are a team that is a real Super Bowl contender heading into the 2021 NFL season. They have a head coach in Mike McCarthy who has already won a ring with the Green Bay Packers, one of the best offensives in the NFL lead by superstar quarterback Dak Prescott, and an improved defense with a brand new, and highly respected, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. They are the current betting odds favorite to win the NFC East Division at +135 according to the Draft Kings Sports Book and they actually have the second easiest strength of schedule ranking. There are many reasons to believe that the Cowboys can compete for a Super Bowl this season.
Dak is Back
After missing the majority of the 2020 season due to injury, Dak is back and ready to go for the 2021 NFL season. He has consistently been one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and there is no reason to believe that won’t continue as long as he is fully healthy. In his last full season in 2019, he put up the best numbers of his career including 4902 passing yards and 30 passing touchdowns, both of which were career highs. In fact, because he has consistently trended up each year in terms of production, it’s still very possible that he will be even better this coming season than ever before. The best version of Prescott may still be on it’s way and that’s a very exciting thought for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys have one of the best offenses in the entire NFL. Last season, even without Prescott for eleven games, the Cowboys still ranked 14th in total offense at 371.8 yards per game and 17th in scoring offense with 24.7 points per game. This demonstrates that even with the terrible quarterback play, and a ton of injuries to the offensive line as well, their offensive weapons were still good enough to produce. Now that Prescott and the line are both healthy again, they can get back to being the dominant force that they were in 2019 or even better. That season the Cowboys ranked 1st in the NFL in total offense with 431.5 yards per game and 6th in scoring offense with 27.1 points per game.
The CeeDee Lamb Factor
In addition to Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup, who were all a part of the team in 2019, is the now second year wide receiver in CeeDee Lamb. He had a very impressive rookie campaign in 2020 with 74 receptions for 935 yards and 5 touchdowns in a crowded passing offense. The fact that only five of his sixteen games played were with Prescott makes his season even more impressive. Most importantly, his best games of the year were when Prescott was playing including both of his games where he eclipsed 100 receiving yards, his only game with multiple touchdowns, and his most receptions with eight in a single game. This connection between Prescott and Lamb is something to keep an eye on in the 2021 NFL season and will likely be a huge weapon for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys were a disaster defensively in the 2020 season. They ranked 23rd in yards allowed with 386.4 per game and 28th in points allowed with 29.6 per game. Despite not losing much in terms of personnel, this was a huge drop-off from their solid 2019 season where they ranked 9th in yards allowed with 327 per game and 11th in points allowed with 20.1 per game. This is why defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was fired after just one season with the Cowboys. They upgraded in a big way this offseason by hiring Dan Quinn to be the new DC, who was the mastermind of the famous Legion of Boom defense in Seattle with the Seahawks. With stars like Jaylon Smith and DeMarcus Lawrence to pair with exciting newcomers like Micah Parsons, Quinn has an excellent opportunity to get Dallas back into the top ten defenses in the NFL.
Playing in the NFC East division that is fairly weak compared to the rest of the NFL gives the Cowboys an excellent chance to make a postseason appearance. The Eagles are in a complete rebuilding year, the Giants are improving but don’t appear quite ready to compete yet, and the defending division champions, Washington, are a solid team but definitely beatable and not as talented as the Cowboys are as a whole. This is why the Cowboys are the favorites to win their division and make an appearance in the playoffs. If Dak Prescott can continue to improve, and Dan Quinn lives up to his expectations of greatly improving the defense, then the Cowboys will be right in the mix as a Super Bowl contender.