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Are the Cowboys the best price of all division winners?

Dak Prescott's return lifts the Cowboys
Dak Prescott's return lifts the Cowboys
By Zachary Rainey

Are the Dallas Cowboys the biggest steal of all projected division winners at the current odds?

While it still remains to be seen how the situation between America’s Team and Dak Prescott shakes out, the Cowboys are currently listed at even odds (+100) to win the NFC East.

The Cowboys enter every season with a bulls eye on the back of their helmets, whether it be because of the off the field noise from owner Jerry Jones, or outlandish media personalities *cough* Skip Bayless *cough*, and last season probably couldn’t have gone any worse for them.

There was already murmurings the entire off-season leading up to the 2020-21 season of what Jerry Jones and company would do with Prescott in terms of a contract extension, especially after Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes got his record-setting deal.

Prescott threw for a ton of yards before his injury, going over 450 yards in three of his four complete games. The knock on the Cowboys was that their record was horrible for a team that many thought of as a contender for the NFC, especially with Prescott coming off of a season in which he threw 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions.

Despite a depleted offensive line, the Cowboys had no problem scoring points, as they put over 30 points on the board in every game Prescott played with the exception of Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams.

The biggest problem was the defense. After Byron Jones departed for Miami in free agency, that left Dallas’ defensive backs room more barren than the Sahara dessert. That unit gave up 34 points over the first four games. Having to play from behind most of the time, Prescott saw his pass attempts sky rocket, averaging 50 per game.

The best version of Prescott is when defenses have to respect both the pass and the run at any given time. If you’re down in most games, that extremely diminishes Ezekiel Elliot’s opportunities to break off a game-changing play.

There’s plenty of holes to be filled along the roster. But on the flip side, the Cowboys only finished two games worse than the previous season, despite being without Prescott for the final 11 games of the season. There’s things to build on. One thing I was excited about was the development and play-making ability from CeeDee Lamb down the stretch. Just as he was starting to develop a rapport with Prescott, it was taken away from us. 

NFC East Odds

While the Cowboys certainly have their question marks, the same can be said for their divisional opponents. It remains to be seen what the Philadelphia Eagles, +425, decide to do at quarterback, despite impressive flashes Jalen Hurts showed. It just wasn’t consistent. Even if Hurts shows monumental improvement, the Eagles lack playmakers, outside the numbers. Philly’s arguable best receiver was a quarterback in college.

The New York Giants, +425, seem like they’re cleaning house, as impact defender Leonard Williams likely won’t return. In addition to that, the Giants cut Golden Tate March 4, leaving not many playmakers on the wide receiver core. I’m a Sterling Shepard truther, but even I know there’s limitations to his game. There will also be questions surrounding Saquon Barkley and his ability to bounce back from his torn ACL.

The Washington Football team enter with the second best odds to win the NFC East at +350, but even they have quarterback questions. Was Taylor Heinicke’s Wild Card performance against the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers what he’s going to be as a full-time starter for an entire season? Or was it just a flash in the pan? The Football Team will surely look to build on and around its defense that finished fourth in the league in total defense, thanks in large part to Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young.

I am by no means sold on the Cowboys. But if it comes out that they are officially bringing Prescott back, the odds will be sure to change. With all of the bigger question marks around the division, I wouldn’t mind taking a flier on America’s Team at even odds. 

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