The Dallas Cowboys are looking to bounce back in 2021 after a difficult 2020 season. The team finished with a record of 6-10, as they battled numerous injuries throughout the year. With Week 1 here, the Cowboys are prepared for a tough matchup against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Dallas never really had a chance to see how good its offense could be as Blake Jarwin went down in Week 1. Dak Prescott was sidelined for the season in Week 5 and the offensive line was never healthy.
But, even with a healthy offense, it would have been tough for the Cowboys to win games as their defense was abysmal. The 2020 defense was one of the worst in franchise history, leading to some changes.
Those changes will be put to the test right away, as the Cowboys will be heading on the road in Week 1, playing the season opener against the Buccaneers. It will be a tall task to win that game, but here are five reasons that they can.
5. Three-Headed Monster At WR
There has been a lot of attention, and rightfully so, paid to the skill position players the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have. They are loaded with stars such as Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. But, the Dallas Cowboys have a group of wide receivers that are impressive as well.
The Cowboys trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup are as good as any group outside of Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers will have their hands full trying to slow them down, as the secondary is arguably the weakest area on the team’s roster.
Having three players of that caliber will keep a team in the game since it is hard enough to slow down a single star pass-catcher, let alone three.
4. Tyron Smith and La’El Collins Are Back In Lineup
The offensive line injuries last season were as big of an obstacle as any for the Dallas Cowboys to overcome. Three of their key players, Tyron Smith, La’el Collins and Zack Martin, all battled injuries. This season, they are hoping it’s different.
Martin will likely miss Week 1 as he is on the Covid-19 list, but Smith is healthy and back in the lineup. Collins, who is battling a stinger suffered during the offseason, looks likely to be in the lineup as well.
Center Tyler Biadasz will also be back in the lineup. Being in better shape on the offensive line will help give them a chance to win in the trenches and pick up a W on the scoreboard.
3. Motivated Ezekiel Elliott
Last season was the worst season, statistically, in the five-year career of Ezekiel Elliott. He was impacted as much as anyone by the losses on offense and it drastically impacted his performance.
Elliott had a career-low 979 yards despite playing in 15 games. He tied his career-low with six rushing touchdowns and set another career-low with 4.0 yards per rush and only 65.3 yards per game.
Under the bright lights of opening night, you can be sure Elliott will be motivated to prove people wrong. He is supposedly in the best shape of his career and a vintage dominant performance would help get them a victory.
2. Dan Quinn Has Experience Against Tom Brady
Slowing down Tom Brady is not something very many teams have been able to accomplish throughout his illustrious career. He is one of the greatest to ever do it, but one person who has given him some fits is Dan Quinn.
Quinn is taking over as defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys and is hoping to turn things around. Talk during the offseason was positive, and he has some experience giving Brady some issues.
He was defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks when Russell Wilson threw the ill-fated interception that was made by Malcolm Butler. He was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons during the 28-3 blown lead as well.
Both were heartbreaking defeats, but also provided a bit of a gameplan for how to slow down a Brady-led offense. He will hope that can help get a victory in Week 1.
1. Dak Prescott Can Keep Up With Tom Brady
The best chance the Dallas Cowboys have of keeping up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the arm of Dak Prescott. He seems recovered from his ankle injury, but a shoulder ailment gave the organization pause this offseason.
He will be starting in Week 1 and it is exactly what the Cowboys need. He is more than capable of keeping up with the pace that Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense will play with and should be able to keep them in the game.
The Tampa Bay secondary is beatable and Prescott will attempt to take advantage of that in the season opener.