Bold Predictions for Cowboys' 2021 NFL Season

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2021

Bold Predictions for Cowboys' 2021 NFL Season

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Dallas Cowboys are one of the biggest wild cards in the 2021 season. Coming off a 6-10 season, they could be one of the NFL's most improved teams or things could completely implode again. 

    That's the nature of things when Dak Prescott is still nursing a latissimus strain. He suffered the injury in training camp and has battled it for a few weeks. It's not the greatest news considering he missed most of 2020 with an ankle injury. 

    Still, the Cowboys have a ton of potential if a few things fall their way. They should have a reformed defense with the addition of Dan Quinn as the new defensive coordinator. They still have a top-five collection of skill players surrounding their quarterback and a veteran offensive line that can block. 

    In short, this team has outside Super Bowl contention dreams, but the floor is in losing season territory once again. Let's make some bold proclamations as to how the season will play out. 

Dak Prescott Wins MVP

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Over at DraftKings Sportsbook, Dak Prescott is listed at 16-1 to win the NFL MVP award. That gives him the sixth-best odds to take home the trophy, and it could be the best value bet on the board. 

    While most of the press surrounding Prescott has been about his return from injury and the shoulder issues he is facing, some need to be reminded of what he was doing last year. 

    In Weeks 2-4 in 2020, he threw for 450, 472 and 502 yards, respectively, while tossing eight touchdowns to three interceptions. He was on his way to putting up another monster day against the Giants when he went down with the ankle injury. 

    That was with CeeDee Lamb in his first NFL season and Ezekiel Elliott on his way to his worst season to date. This year, Lamb has had time to develop even further, and Elliott appears to be in better shape. 

    The counterargument is that the Cowboys were 2-3 in the five games that Prescott started. However, much of that was on a defense that ranked among the worst in the league. 

    With Dan Quinn coming in to fix the defense and Micah Parsons bringing new life to the linebacker corps, the defense should at least get back to playing average. 

    Prescott with all of these weapons and an average defense to get some stops is a good recipe to get to double-digit wins. And if they can do that with Prescott putting up big numbers, he'll be a lock for Comeback Player of the Year and a favorite for MVP. 

CeeDee Lamb Will Be a Top-10 Wide Receiver

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    It's a bit risky to say that CeeDee Lamb will be the top receiver on the Cowboys. After all, Amari Cooper is still there and will post strong numbers again in 2021. 

    But let's go bold here. Lamb will not only be the top receiver on the Cowboys' loaded roster, he will become one of the best in the league. 

    Lamb was impressive as a rookie. He was second among all first-year players with 74 receptions and 935 yards with five touchdowns to boot. That was all done in a season with a modified preseason due to COVID-19, Ben DiNucci playing some meaningful quarterback reps and Prescott out for most of the season. 

    With a full offseason to prepare and Prescott (hopefully) healthy, the circumstances for Lamb to see a big Year 2 jump are there. He's been impressive in camp, even catching the attention of Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. 

    Irvin described Lamb as, "probably the most physically gifted 88 we [Cowboys] have had," per Brian Martin of Inside the Star.

    The Cowboys have a history of excellent receivers wearing 88. Three-time All-Pro receiver Drew Pearson wore it as well as Irvin and Dez Bryant. All were elite receivers at the top of their game, and Lamb has everything in place to join their company in just his second season in the league. 

Cowboys Will Win 11 Games or More

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    The Cowboys' win total at DraftKings Sportsbook is set at nine. Bettors will be able to back the over on that number and feel comfortable doing so. 

    For one, the NFC East will be better than it was last season but there are still plenty of questions.

    The Washington Football Team will be nasty on defense but is dependent on Ryan Fitzpatrick to give them great quarterback play. Jalen Hurts is still an unproven commodity in Philadelphia and Nick Sirianni will have a learning curve as a first-year head coach. The Giants are going to get Saquon Barkley back, and Joe Judge showed signs of being a good head coach last year, but Daniel Jones is still under center. 

    The Cowboys have to be the favorite in the NFC East by virtue of being the only team who has a definitive franchise quarterback. 

    The two biggest things that held the Cowboys back last season were injuries and a porous defense. The former is a matter of things coming together this season, the latter should be improved with the arrival of Dan Quinn as the defensive coordinator, Micah Parsons in the linebacking corps and the development of some of the younger players on the roster. 

    If the offense is clicking at the level it is capable of, the defense just has to rise to average for the Cowboys to be really dangerous. 


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