The NFC East had arguably the worst season of its 54-year history in 2020; Washington won the division at 7-9 and was bounced out of the playoffs after one game. Based on the current betting odds for 2021 the NFC East is expected to remain in a weakened state. What does this mean for the Dallas Cowboys?
While they went 6-10 in 2020 and finished third in the division, Dallas is currently the favorite to win the NFC East next season. Early odds have been released for 2021 and, according to SportsBettingDime, the Cowboys opened as -125 favorites to claim the division title..
That said, Dallas still isn't seen as much of a Super Bowl contender. Their odds to win Super Bowl 56 opened at +3000 and that's only 15th among the NFL's 32 teams (7th out of NFC teams).
Clearly by these numbers, analysts see the NFC East as once again being a weak division and Dallas just being the best of a bad bunch. These odds would have the Cowboys losing their first playoff game against whatever Wild Card team they might face.
It's hard to argue this assertion given how 2020 went. Even with Dak Prescott healthy the Cowboys were 1-3 going into his last game before injury. The jury is still out on Mike McCarthy's effectiveness as head coach and the defense will be undergoing some big changes this offseason with Dan Quinn's arrival and many players on expiring contracts.
Even with these issues, Dallas was only a game back from Washington in overall record and was still in the hunt in Week 17. So it's certainly reasonable to see them being more of a contender in 2021 with Prescott back and hopefully some improvements on defense.
But that also assumes that Washington, who appear headed in the right direction under Ron Rivera, won't continue to build on their 2020 accomplishments.
Most fans won't be content to just see the Cowboys win another NFC East title and then make a quick exit in the postseason. Dallas' 25-year wait for a return to championship relevance has become one of the NFL's annual hot topics; maddening for Cowboys Nation and a source of delight for others.
At the very least, the Cowboys should have a great shot to reclaim NFC East supremacy and get a spot in the tournament in 2021. Hopefully, they don't squander either of these opportunities.