The Dallas Cowboys are just 68 days from the Hall of Fame Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and 101 days until the regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys have a lot of work to do to get ready for the 2021 season and make a run at getting back to the playoffs.
Though we have a long time to wait for an actual game of football to be played, here are 5 bold predictions to help you look ahead to the start of the 2021 season. These predictions are meant to be a little bit out there but hopefully based on some semblance of realism.
1. Randy Gregory Hits Double-Digit Sacks
The stars are aligning for Randy Gregory to have the best season of his career in 2021. Primed with a full offseason for the first time in his career and coming off a strong end to the 2020 campaign, Gregory has a chance to finally show why he was so highly regarded as a pass rusher coming out of Nebraska in 2015.
Gregory was arguably the Dallas Cowboys’ best pass rusher in the second half of the 2021 season. He was productive and effective, creating pressure and recording sacks.
With DeMarcus Lawrence continuing to get the respect of the league on the other edge, Gregory will get the benefit of far more single-blocker pass-rush situations. Of course, it’s only a matter of time until Gregory begins forcing teams to double him.
2. Damontae Kazee Leads the NFL in Interceptions
With an improved pass rush from a full offseason for Randy Gregory, the Cowboys will be getting after opposing quarterbacks, creating more pressure, and creating more turnovers. Coming off of a torn Achilles, Damontae Kazee has a shot at having a huge bounceback season.
Just a few years removed from a seven interception season, Kazee could benefit from the pressure Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence will create off the edge. The interior pass rush will be better in Neville Gallimore’s second year and Trysten Hill’s third. Osa Odighizuwa will help make the Cowboys’ 3-technique rotation formidable for opposing offensive lines.
The Cowboys’ defense should create more turnovers in 2021, and Damontae Kazee will be a big part of that playing the deep middle third of the Cowboys’ cover-3 defense.
3. Three Wide Receivers over 1,000 Yards
Last year, it felt like wishful thinking to imagine the Dallas Cowboys’ three-headed monster at wide receiver of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb, each going over 1,000-yards receiving. However, with the way Dak Prescott and the offense were humming in the first five games of the season, it was possible.
Through five weeks of the season, Amari Cooper was on pace for 1,356 yards receiving, Michael Gallup was on pace for 1,113 yards, and CeeDee Lamb led the way and on pace for 1,385 yards.
The injury to Dak Prescott killed that dream in 2020, but with a 17 game season in 2021, it doesn’t feel like much of a stretch to think those three could eclipse 1,000 yards each in 2021.
4. Dak Prescott Throws for 5,000
Speaking of pace stats, before his injury, Prescott was on pace to throw for 6,700 yards. Like the wide receivers, it’s doubtful that Prescott would have kept up that pace over a 16 game season as games became more reasonable and not a full-blown shootout every week.
Even if he wouldn’t have thrown for 6,000 yards, I do not doubt that he would have thrown for at least 5,000 yards in 2020. Fast forward to 2021, and the addition of the 17th game makes this an even higher likelihood.
5. Dallas Cowboys Win 13 Games
The NFL is (now) a 9-8 or 8-9 league. A big portion of the NFL will finish one or two games of the old .500 that won’t be .500 anymore. The Cowboys’ defense will be better. The schedule combined with the influx of talent and a newer, more familiar coaching scheme should help the defense be better. And if the defense is better, the Cowboys will win a lot of games.
The Cowboys will have better health along the offensive line, which will lead to more consistency in both the running game and the passing game. Prescott will be better protected, which should lead to more sustained drives. Ezekiel Elliott looks lighter and more rejuvenated heading into his sixth season in the NFL. The Cowboys have all kinds of talent on the offensive side of the ball and upside on the defensive side.
The Cowboys are poised for a bounce-back season as a team. 10 or 11 wins seems like the most popular landing spot for the Cowboys in terms of win totals, but the Cowboys will surprise some folks. Hey, it wouldn’t be a bold prediction if we played it safe here, right?
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
What bold predictions do you have for the 2021 Dallas Cowboys?