FILE – In this Oct. 11, 2020, file phot, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) lifts his fist to cheers from fans as he is carted off the field after suffering an injury while running the ball during the second half of the team’s NFL football game against the New York Giants in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys are on the verge of a lost year, when they had hoped to contend, after a broken ankle ended the quarterback’s season. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)
- The Dallas Cowboys have opened at +3000 to win Super Bowl 56
- The Cowboys went 6-10 in 2020 and have not won a Super Bowl in 25 years
- A look at the odds for the Cowboys and other championship contenders, along with analysis, can be found below
The Dallas Cowboys have now gone a quarter century since winning a Super Bowl, their last title coming at the end of the 1995 season.
The oddsmakers are not optimistic about the Cowboys ending that drought during the 2021-22 season. The Cowboys have opened at +3000 to win next year’s Super Bowl.
To put that into context, the Cowboys’ price is worse than the Cleveland Browns (+2200), Miami Dolphins (+2500) and Los Angeles Chargers (+2800) in the Super Bowl odds.
Super Bowl 56 Odds
|Kansas City Chiefs||+500|
|Green Bay Packers||+900|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+1100|
|Los Angeles Rams||+1200|
|San Francisco 49ers||+1400|
|New Orleans Saints||+1700|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+2800|
|New England Patriots||+3000|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+5000|
Odds taken Feb. 7 from DraftKings.
Worse Than Last Year
The Cowboys opening odds to win Super Bowl 55 were +1800. Thus, Dallas is thought to be further away from a title than they were before Mike McCarthy’s first season as coach.
The Cowboys had a 6-10 record in 2020, their worst since going 4-12 in 2015. Nevertheless, they stayed in contention to win the weak NFC East until the final day of the season when they lost on the road to the New York Giants, 23-19.
It was clear everyone was not always on the same page.
There was a report of #Cowboys players saying the coaches weren’t teaching them anything
Big Mike McCarthy came out and said that actually he’s probably overcoaching
Things are getting interesting in Dallas #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/KNvOtMAUeD
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) October 21, 2020
Many key injuries hampered the Cowboys, none more than quarterback Dak Prescott hurting his ankle in Week 5 and needing season-ending surgery. While veteran Andy Dalton did an OK job filling in, but Prescott was having an extraordinary season.
The fifth-year pro threw for 1,856 yards in just five games. He also had nine touchdowns passes, four interceptions and a career-best 68.0% competition rate.
Don’t watch this if squeamish. Really don’t. But Here is play where #Cowboys Dak Prescott got hurt. Ugh. Injuries stink. Ugh. #Denver7 pic.twitter.com/8VaoYsdFyM
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) October 11, 2020
Right tackle La’el Collins missed the season because of hip surgery. Tight end Blake Jarwin sustained a season-ending knee injury in the opener. Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith was lost for the season after two games because of neck problems. All-Pro right guard Zack Martin sat out the last five games with a calf injury.
Who Could Leave?
The Cowboys have some key players eligible for free agency, but their biggest offseason task is determining Prescott’s future.
Owner/General Manager Jerry Jones has unsuccessfully tried to sign Prescott to a long-term extension each of the last two years. Prescott played on the franchise tag last season and the Cowboys have until March 9th to decide whether to tag the 27-year-old for next season.
Dalton’s one-year contract is expiring, and he wants to be a starter. Thus, he could end up elsewhere in 2021.
That might sadden the Washington Football Team.
I will be referencing this play for years. Thanksgiving 2020 when Montez Sweat pick-sixed Andy Dalton in that beatdown of Dallas. pic.twitter.com/evqDWajbA2
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) November 27, 2020
Two longtime Cowboys, defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford and linebacker Sean Lee, might have played their final games with Dallas. Defensive end Aldon Smith can also become a free agent as well as cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis and safety Xavier Woods.
Defensive Makeover Likely
With so many players on that side of the ball eligible for free agency, the Cowboys will likely have many new faces on defense next season. That might not be a bad thing.
Dallas’ defense was awful in 2020, giving up a franchise record 473 points – 29.6 a game – which was last in the NFL. The Cowboys were also 31st among the league’s 32 teams in run defense by allowing 158.8 yards a game.
That performance cost defensive coordinator Mike Nolan his job after only one season. He has been replaced by former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn.
Yet this might have been Nolan’s lowlight of 2020.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan had to stop a call with reporters because he accidentally rubbed hot sauce in his eye 😅 🌶️ pic.twitter.com/nXSCjcBIqx
— ESPN (@espn) October 27, 2020
Healthy Prescott Would Help
The Cowboys scored 24.7 points a game to rank 17th in the league. Should Prescott come back healthy, putting up points should not be a problem next season.
Getting Martin, Smith and Collins back on the line should help Ezekiel Elliott get back on track. He was limited to 974 rushing yards in 15 games, averaging just 4.0 yards a carry and scoring six touchdowns.
Some thought the Cowboys were better without Elliott.
“It’s time to bench Ezekiel Elliott… 39th ranked [rush average] amongst 48 RBs this season.” — @MarcellusWileypic.twitter.com/rZ1iApuMDT
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) November 10, 2020
It was the first time he did not have at least 1,357 yards in the four seasons in which he has played at least 15 games.
The Cowboys will also have their deep wide receiver corps back, a group that includes Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.
How Much Better?
Good health alone should make the Cowboys better in 2021 and Jones is certain to remake the defense for Quinn.
It is certainly not a reach to project Dallas reaching the playoffs, especially playing in a division in which champion Washington had a 7-9 record this season. In fact, one can make the case the Cowboys has an easier path to the postseason than the Browns, Dolphins or Chargers.
When you see that your team gets to play 3 nfc East opponents next year pic.twitter.com/AoYRyR3XFJ
— GatorBasketballSzn🐊🐊🐊 (@GatorBBallSzn) February 7, 2021
It also instructive to note the Cowboys followed that 4-12 season in 2015 by going 13-3 in 2016.
Could it happen again in 2021? It’s worth a small wager to find out.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys (+3000)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.