Dallas Cowboys: 4 Bold Predictions for the 2021 Season

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Dak Prescott, Quarterback Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Dak Prescott, Quarterback Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Dak’s Passing Yard Total

Quarterback Dak Prescott has successfully healed from his broken ankle and has been a full participant at practice for the past two weeks since his initial diagnosis of a shoulder sprain. The signal-caller is excited to step back onto the field and so are we! Watching backup quarterbacks dominate the preseason playtime got old the moment the team lost to the Arizona Cardinals.

With a new contract come new expectations; Prescott isn’t dismissive of these expectations. If anything he seems to want all the smoke. In 2019, Prescott threw for 4,900 yards; in 2020, he was easily on pace for over 5,000. In both seasons, the team had to play from behind a considerable amount, except it wasn’t garbage time. The team was almost always in a position to win these games.

This year, with an extra game, Prescott seems like he should hit 5,500 yards pretty easily. All his supporting cast returns and we’ve yet to see how another year of development for players like CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, Tony Pollard, and Blake Jarwin positively impact the offense. An already potent offense just got better? Things just got intense!

But let’s quickly take a look at who the team is playing this year.

@Tampa Bay
@LA Chargers
vs Philadelphia
vs Carolina
vs NYG
@New England
vs Denver
vs Atlanta
@Kansas City
vs Las Vegas
@New Orleans
@ Washington
vs Washington
vs Arizona

Out of these seventeen fixtures, five of these teams have at worst good quarterback play. (Tampa Bay, LA Chargers, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Minnesota)

Philadelphia, Carolina, New York, and Denver have suspect quarterback play, and because of divisional implications, this means the Cowboys have a QB advantage in six fixtures. New York and Denver have good defense while the others are developing.

The unknowns after this are New England, New Orleans, Arizona, and Washington. It goes without saying, all these teams have good defenses.

In nine games, the teams the Cowboys play will have good defenses. That alone would be the reason to believe that Prescott’s yardage per game is closer to 200 than 300 yards. (Assuming the team doesn’t play catchup) As for the rest, if the team is able to build a lead early then they are more than content burning time with more running plays. After all, Mike McCarthy said the perfect balance between pass and run is somewhere near 57:43 respectively.

With few teams on the schedule with a known good quarterback, the Cowboys might luck into early leads more often. The offense is strong enough that, with good quarterback play, they can put up points against any defense. With how the defense performed in the preseason, I am inclined to think the defensive DVOA for the team this season will be in the top half.

My prediction is Dak will average roughly 275 yards per game; over 17 games that leaves him just shy of 4,700 yards.