Despite this, Dak Prescott and his team face a difficult start to the campaign. Two away games against Tom Brady's Buccaneers and then a follow-up with a trip to LA to face Justin Herbert and the Chargers.
The NFL lines and odds for the Cowboys opening 2021 matchup see Dallas at +6.5 (-110) while the Bucs are -6.5 (-109). Other interesting lines and odds for the 2021 season see the Cowboys open with +3000 odds to win the Super Bowl and having their win total set at 9.5 (+110 over)/(-133 under). A lot of this will depend on how healthy Dak is heading into the season and just what kind of shape the defense is in, but make no mistake, offensively the Cowboys can match up with just about any team in the league.
Looking at the betting odds for the Cowboys first game of the year and rightly so, Brady is favored against a Cowboys secondary that will be considerably younger, and even with the addition of LB Micha Parsons, the Cowboys defense will not be considered elite but we did see some signs of improvement in the latter stages of last season. Although there should be some improvement, being so young, there will definitely be growing pains.
Last season, the Dallas Cowboys defense was an abomination as they were constantly blown apart, in particular in the running game. Now with a new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn and with the first-round pick Micah Parsons arguably being the best defensive player in the entire 2021 draft, the Cowboys linebacker corps looks solid should both Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch remain healthy.
Along with other draft picks in CB Kelvin Joseph, DT Osa Odighizuwa, DE Chauncey Golston, and CB Nahshon Wright, all of whom were taken in the first three rounds, there is a very youthful look to the Dallas defense and that is without mentioning Trevon Diggs and Randy Gregory.
So with such a young defense, how well can we expect the Cowboys to fare?
Facing Tom Brady and his Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with Justin Herbert in the first two games is a tough proposition, not to mention facing Patrick Mahomes. On top of that, Dallas will be locking horns with a host of serviceable quarterbacks throughout the season.
Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, and Kyler Murray will all come up against a young Dallas defense.
So there are seven games in which the Cowboys will be coming up against teams that have more than enough talent to cause them problems. That's without taking into account the vastly improved New York Giants and the beasts that Washington has along their defensive front.
The biggest question marks for the Cowboys are what kind of Dak Prescott will take the field and how improved will the defense be. We all know what the offense can do, but it is on the other side of the ball where the real problems are.
Conservatively, Dallas could end the season with a 10-7 record, but that could easily move in either direction as the year goes on. One thing is for certain, with Dak's huge contract and the need for a vastly improved defense, the 2021 season is shaping up as a defining one for America's team.