They may not have an actual team name yet, but the Washington Football Team will likely be the Cowboys’ toughest division test in 2021.
The defending NFC East champs won that crown by default in 2020, finishing just 7-9 in this laughable division. But despite not really being a threat in the 2020 postseason, this team could be a force for years to come.
Washington is loaded upfront. Their defensive line is littered with former draft darlings, including the newly named Rookie of the Year Chase Young. But as good as Young and his 7.5 sacks were last year, he wasn’t even the team’s best defensive lineman. That was former Alabama standout Jonathan Allen.
So, yes, they are deep on the defensive line.
On the offensive side of the ball they have solid skill talent, led by the dynamic wide receiver Terry McLaurin. Running back Antonio Gibson is a problem to deal with as well, which Cowboys fans will remember vividly from Thanksgiving Day.
The one area holding them back, though, and the one reason I still feel confident in the Cowboys as the 2021 division favorites, is the quarterback position.
Alex Smith was a really nice feel good story last year, but his play isn’t going to ever be at an elite level. Certainly not to the level of the current day Dak Prescott. They are likely in the running to draft a quarterback this Spring, but by accidentally winning the NFC East (I kid), they actually hurt their chances of snagging that franchise guy in round one.
Still, much like last season, Washington sort of earns this “favorite” designation by default.
The Philadelphia Eagles seem lost, looking to trade quarterback Carson Wentz and having fired head coach Doug Pederson. They were awful last season, and look to be on the verge of another rebuild now.
The New York Giants certainly played tough each week under first year head coach Joe Judge, but until they figure out their quarterback position they aren’t any sort of real threat in the NFC either.
Ultimately, if the Cowboys stay healthy and meet expectations there’s no reason they shouldn’t win the NFC East. But they’ll have to dethrone the only team to sweep them last season in order to do so.