The 2019 season was full of expectations for the Dallas Cowboys coming off of their second division title in three years. The season didn’t go as planned, though, as they finished 5-8 after a 3-0 start and missed the playoffs. However, after very productive seasons, NFL oddsmakers have Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott with the second-best odds to lead the league in passing and rushing yards in 2020.
Prescott had the shackles on him for years under former Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. With Kellen Moore, we saw his true talent put on display, and the results were pretty impressive. He finished with 4,902 yards (2nd in the NFL, one yard shy of franchise record) and 30 touchdowns (4th in the NFL), both career highs. In the midst of his great play he also helped Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup have the best seasons of their careers as both went over 1,100 yards.
Now, Prescott has a few more advantages he can use. CeeDee Lamb, the best wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft, fell to the Cowboys at pick 17. With his ability to play both on the outside and the slot, much like Cooper, Prescott has a three-headed monster at receiver that can create plenty of matchup problems for defenses.
Blake Jarwin is another huge factor. With future Hall of Famer Jason Witten now with the Las Vegas Raiders, he can showcase his true talent and give the Cowboys a threat down the seams and stretch defenses from the tight end position. Also, new Head Coach Mike McCarthy will implement some of the principles from the West Coast offense to add with Moore who produced the league’s top-ranked offense in his first season calling plays in 2019.
Of course, there’s always the Elliott effect. If he produces his usual 1,300-1,400 yards on the ground it will force defenses to load the box and leave his trio of receivers in favorable situations. All these factors set up Prescott for a huge year in 2020.
Elliott, if you ask some, had a “down” year in 2019. If you want to base that off of him not winning the rushing title as he did twice in his first three seasons than sure it was. However, when you really break it down, he was excellent once again. Elliott finished with 1,357 rushing yards (4th), 12 rushing touchdowns (tied for 4th), 1,777 all-purpose yards (2nd), and seven 100-yard games (tied for 1st).
So as you can see, Elliott was a top-five running back in the NFL in several major categories in 2019, and he did so playing with a near 5,000-yard passer and two 1,100-yard receivers. Now, factoring in the addition of Lamb, and the threat of Tony Pollard as a change of pace runner, Elliott can not only take advantage of the added attention defenses will give the Cowboys passing attack but he can stay fresh as well.
McCarthy made it clear once he was hired that Elliott would be a huge part of the Cowboys attack, as he should. The more effective Elliott is it will make Prescott’s job that much easier, and the Cowboys offense a nightmare to defend.
The Cowboys had the league’s best offense in 2019, now with more weapons and a tweaked philosophy of sorts, it could be even better this season.