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Return Of Dak Gives Cowboys Hope

The Dallas Cowboys have not reached the Super Bowl since 1995. For a franchise of their size and history, The Cowboys' 26-year wait to return to the biggest game in the sport is something owner Jerry Jones will be desperate to end. The trouble started when the QB was injured, as reported by AP News in week five in 2020, and had to miss the rest of the campaign. In other sports, losing one player would not hamper a team, but in American football, when a team’s leading quarterback is out, it has a huge impact on the team.

What is more heart-breaking is that before he broke his ankle, Prescott was on course to break numerous records in the NFL. He had thrown for 1,856 yards, had nine passing touchdowns, and a 68% completion rate. Those numbers show he was playing at the top of his game. After losing Prescott, it was always going to be difficult for Dallas to finish the year in a strong position, especially after they ended the regular season with a losing record of 6-10. It meant they had to settle for third place in the NFC East, and that they missed out on the playoffs.

However, Dallas go into the 2021 season with optimism that they can have a successful season now that Prescott is back fit and healthy, so it's looking positive so far. As of 31st August, betting site Betway have the Cowboys 11/10 favourites in the NFC East betting for the title this season. They are, however, underdogs at 28/1 to win Super Bowl LVI. Meanwhile, last year’s winners and runners-up Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs respectively top the outright market for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Offense up There with the Best in the NFL

With Prescott part of Dallas’ offense again, it is regarded as one of the best in the NFL. The receiving trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb provide lots of options for the 28-year-old to throw to. Cooper led the team in receiving yards in 2020 with an impressive total of 1,114. Lamb was not far behind in his rookie campaign with 935 yards. They also had 10 touchdowns between them, and it can be expected that both players will improve on their TD tally in the upcoming campaign, as Prescott can produce the class needed to find them in the end zone.

Ezekiel Elliott’s stats over the last two seasons are a little down on what he produced when he burst into the NFL in 2016. Despite that dip in form, the Cowboys running back is still considered one of the best in the league in his position. In 2016 and 2018, Elliott led the league in rushing yards with 1,631 and 1,434 yards respectively. One of McCarthy’s jobs this season will be to try and get him close to those numbers once again.

The Cowboys will have been pleased with tight end Dalton Schultz’s contribution last year. They will be hoping he builds upon the 615 yards he collected in 2020 and that he can be a big player for them, just like Jason Witten was for many years.

Parsons Expected to Improve Timid Defence

If there is one area of the team that Dallas is still a work in progress in, it is their defense. They conceded far too many points in 2020. This put pressure on their offense to respond and keep them in games. The Cowboys used the Draft to strengthen their roster on defense. Cowboys Wire reported that they selected linebacker Micah Parsons with their first-round pick (12th overall selection). The former Penn State player was considered as one of, if not the best, defensive players available on the board.

Dallas then went for defensive players with each of their next five selections, including cornerback Kelvin Joseph who was their second-round pick from Kentucky. These rookies could head straight into the starting line-up for the Cowboys in week one. More will be expected from some of the biggest names on Dallas’ defense in the new campaign after it was reported that Dan Quinn has taken over as the defensive coordinator, who has a lot of talent to work with.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch are players any team in the NFL would be interested in. However, they all were below their best in 2020 so need to bounce back. As shown on the Nicer Odds sports calendar for 2021 and beyond, Dallas are involved in the NFL KickOff Game this season, so there are plenty of chances for them to get back on top form. They then have divisional games against the Eagles (September 28) and Giants (October 10) in the opening couple of months of the campaign.