2021 NFL Schedule Breakdown: Dallas Cowboys
The 2020 season did not go as planned for the Dallas Cowboys. Starting quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 that derailed the team’s playoff hopes. Dallas was somehow able to rally without their Pro Bowl quarterback to almost win the division. However, their dreams were crushed in Week 17 when they lost to the Giants. Washington’s Week 17 victory clinched the Football Team the NFC East title. Last year was the second year in a row that the Cowboys missed the playoffs.
Now that Prescott is getting healthy and will be ready for the upcoming season, Dallas is looking to bounce back and win the NFC East. The two-time Pro Bowler has already proved that he can lead Dallas on offense. In 2019, the Cowboys had the best offense in the league, leading the league in total yards and yards per game. They were second in the league in passing yards. The Cowboys will be looking to replicate that same offense with a fully healthy Prescott.
The Cowboys also made some notable offseason changes to the coaching staff. They fired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Nolan lasted only one season in Dallas, and under him, the Cowboys became one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Dan Quinn was brought in to replace Nolan. Quinn is known for being one of the engineers of the Seattle Seahawks‘ famed “Legion of Boom” defense. Quinn was the defensive coordinator during that era in Seattle and helped them become one of the best defensive teams in league history. The hiring of Quinn is a quintessential move made by the organization that will help improve the Cowboys’ defense.
Dallas Cowboys Schedule:
- Week 1: Thu 09/09 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Week 2: Sun 09/19 at Los Angeles Chargers
- Week 3: Mon 09/27 vs Philadelphia Eagles
- Week 4: Sun 10/03 vs Carolina Panthers
- Week 5: Sun 10/10 vs New York Giants
- Week 6: Sun 10/17 at New England Patriots
- Week 7: BYE
- Week 8: Sun 10/31 at Minnesota Vikings
- Week 9: Sun 11/07 vs Denver Broncos
- Week 10: Sun 11/14 vs Atlanta Falcons
- Week 11: Sun 11/21 at Kansas City Chiefs
- Week 12: Thu 11/25 vs Las Vegas Raiders
- Week 13: Thu 12/02 at New Orleans Saints
- Week 14: Sun 12/12 at Washington Football Team
- Week 15: Sun 12/19 at New York Giants
- Week 16: Sun 12/26 vs Washington Football Team
- Week 17: Sun 1/02 vs Arizona Cardinals
- Week 18: Sun 01/09 at Philadelphia Eagles
NFC East: The Cowboys play in the weakest division in the league. Dallas almost won the division last season, but Washington clinched in the final week of the season. Dallas, New York and Washington have the best chances to win the division this season. However, with the return of Prescott and the addition of Quinn as the new defensive coordinator, the Cowboys might be the favorites to win the division. Not only do they have the best quarterback in the NFC East, but they also have stud playmakers in Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. The Cowboys are expected to have the most explosive offense in the division.
Matchups: The Cowboys begin their season facing the defending Super Bowl champions in Tampa. They then travel to Los Angeles to face off with explosive quarterback Justin Herbert. Their schedule then becomes more favorable, as they four very beatable teams before their Week 7 bye. The toughest games on their schedule are against the Bucs, Saints, Chiefs and Washington.
Overall: The Cowboys will begin their season with the return of their two-time Pro Bowl quarterback leading the offense. A healthy Prescott elevates the team’s offense exponentially. Plus, the addition of Quinn will strengthen their defense. Dallas is poised to make a run at the postseason.
Prediction: The Cowboys will finish with a 10-7 record.