Jerome Taylor previews the Cowboys’ upcoming season and shares his preferred bets as America’s Team eye up a place in the Super Bowl.
The Cowboys reached the height of mediocrity last year, winning eight games. But they’re bringing back the best offense of 2019 (431.5 yards per game) and add new head coach Mike McCarthy, plus a great draft class.
The ‘Boys will be transforming defensively and looking to improve upon their ninth-ranked defense (327 yards per game in 2019) in 2020. Coach McCarthy will look to take advantage of his powerful aerial attack and top-tier running back to lead America’s Team to the Super Bowl.
The Cowboys will be leaning on franchise (in more ways than one) quarterback Dak Prescott to take them to the Super Bowl. Prescott was second in the NFL last year in passing yards and has a flashy new rookie in CeeDee Lamb to throw to in 2020. A three-headed monster of head coach Mike McCarthy, coordinator Kellen Moore, and Prescott can create some electric moments on the field.
On the defensive side of the ball, the ‘Boys have one glaring hole to fill, with All-Pro cornerback Byron Jones leaving. However, the front-seven for the Cowboy still looks stout. A healthy Leighton Vander Esch combined with additions of Aldon Smith and Dontari Poe in a more versatile looking defense will hope to improve from a strong season last year.
Sportsbooks see at least a two-game improvement for the Cowboys this year and for good reason. As mention earlier, the Cowboys’ offense is downright scary on paper, with 1,000-yard weapons at multiple positions on the field.
The ‘Boys also have the third easiest schedule on paper based on their opponents’ 2019 record. The only thing that can possibly stand in the Cowboys’ way is too much upheaval and themselves. On top of a new head coach, the defense will look different, switching from a 4-3 to a hybrid-front. If these transitions are smooth, the Cowboys will be looking at their third NFC Title in five years, which means they will have to beat out the Eagles, who also have their eyes on ten wins this season.
Out of all the Cowboys’ bets, Dak Prescott throwing for over 4,275 yards is the safest bet on paper. Last year, Prescott threw for 4,902 yards taking advantage of two 1,000 yard receivers (Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup). This year the receiving corps is bolstered even more with the addition of first-round pick CeeDee Lamb. Cooper has said that the receivers’ goal is to become just the sixth trio in NFL history to have three 1,000 yard receivers.
If that goal is accomplished, 4,275 yards is well within reach for Prescott. Besides team success, Prescott is individually motivated to perform well, considering he is playing on a franchise tag this year. Prescott will have to lead a successful Cowboys campaign to get the contract he’s looking for in the offseason. To do that, he’ll have to take advantage of his offensive weapons and the championship prowess of his new head coach.
The new-look passing attack of the Cowboys will get a lot of attention this year, which means a lot more running lanes for the always hungry Ezekiel Elliot. Zeke ran for 1,357 yards in 2019, and this year he will likely be facing the least amount of loaded boxes in his career. McCarthy has stated that he plans to use Zeke often to make his quarterback more successful. It’s unlikely that Zeke will see the ball as much as he has in past years based on McCarthy’s scheme, but he will likely see bigger holes based on that same thinking.