As the Cowboys enter their bye week, it’s time to take a big picture look at the rest of the season. We normally give you three bold predictions for the upcoming game, but today we’ll give you three bold predictions for the rest of the regular season.
1) Trevon Diggs falls short of recording double-digit interceptions
To this point of the season, you could make a good case for Trevon Diggs as the NFL’s DPOY. The 23-year-old has had an unreal, historic start to the 2021 season. Diggs has intercepted at least one pass in all six regular-season games and has tied Hall of Famer Rod Woodson for most interceptions (seven) through six games in a season.
To go with his seven interceptions, Diggs also has four PBUs and has held opposing quarterbacks to a 53.5 passer rating when targeting him, via Pro Football Focus.
So, with Diggs red-hot and looking like one of the best cornerbacks in football, why is he not going to record double-digit interceptions? Well, it’s going to be more a product of teams scheming around Diggs rather than a drop in his play level.
Coming out of the bye week, we are going to see teams start to really stay away from targeting the second-year corner. Anthony Brown has played better of late, but he still has allowed the most receiving yards and third-most receptions in football, via PFF.
Even if Diggs is tasked with covering the opponent's number one target, they are going to go at Brown heavy with their number two option, and force him to beat them.
Diggs is still going to have an All-Pro season, he just won’t be able to haul in as many interceptions once teams start completely staying away.
2) Dak Prescott wins the 2021 NFL MVP Award
What a start to the season it's been for Dak Prescott. The Cowboys’ signal-caller is coming off arguably his best performance of the year in which he completed 36 of 51 passes for 445 yards and three TDs, and led the Cowboys on a game-tying and game-winning drive. To make the outstanding performance even more impressive, Prescott’s 445 passing yards were the most ever against a Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team.
Dak Prescott's 445 passing yards are the most ever against a Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team, including the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/zja4EL87ss— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 17, 2021
Prescott’s outstanding effort also earned him the honor of being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Dak Prescott has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week https://t.co/4tomdoAuvR— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 20, 2021
Six games in, Prescott’s numbers stack up against any quarterback in football. Dak is second among starting quarterbacks in completion percentage (73.1%), is tied for third with 16 touchdown passes, and is fourth in quarterback rating.
Dak Prescott.— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) October 18, 2021
Elite quarterbacking. pic.twitter.com/JvMZZbllCp
#DallasCowboys QB Dak Prescott has been exceptional this season, completing passes at a 73.9% rate (2nd in NFL). Here, @MattBowen41 highlights his ability to manipulate single-high coverage & connect w/ WR Lamb on this vertical route for the TD.#NFL | #ForeverNE | @GregCosell pic.twitter.com/frBgHBd9i5— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) October 16, 2021
Prescott’s outstanding start to the season has him tied with Kyler Murray for the best MVP odds in football, via DraftKings sportsbook. It doesn’t always make a huge difference, but as of right now, Murray does have the edge in overall team record at 6-0 vs 5-1. But, if Prescott and the Cowboys stay hot coming out of the bye, they easily could surpass the Cardinals and finish with a better record.
The Cowboys also still have six games remaining against teams in the bottom 10 in the NFL in points per game allowed, so Prescott and the Dallas offense will have plenty more opportunities to put up tons of points.
Overall, Prescott is performing as well as any quarterback in football right now. He’s playing at an MVP-caliber and the Cowboys offense isn’t even at full-strength. Once they get La’el Collins and Michael Gallup back after the bye, the offense is only going to be better.
The Cowboys have the best offense in football, and they’ll continue to roll in the second half. Prescott will be the best player on the best offensive unit in the league, leading him to take home the 2021 NFL MVP award.
3) Cowboys finish the regular season as NFC’s No. 1 seed
In all likelihood, there are five teams that will be fighting for the number one seed in the NFC playoffs. Those five are the Dallas Cowboys, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Green Bay Packers, the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams. Currently, the Cardinals own the number one spot in the NFC after a 6-0 start, with all four other teams sitting behind them at 5-1.
The Cardinals have been red-hot to start the season, there’s no denying it, but they aren’t on the level of the other four teams in this group. While they’ll still likely make the playoffs, as the season goes on the Cardinals will start to fall out of the race for the number one seed, leaving the spot up for grabs.
Below are the remaining schedules for the Cowboys, Buccaneers, Packers and Rams.
|AT Vikings||VS Bears||VS Football Team||VS Lions|
|VS Broncos||AT Saints||AT Cardinals||AT Texans|
|VS Falcons||VS Football Team||AT Chiefs||VS Titans|
|AT Chiefs||VS Giants||VS Seahawks||AT 49ers|
|VS Raiders||AT Colts||AT Vikings||AT Packers|
|AT Saints||AT Falcons||VS Rams||VS Jaguars|
|AT Football Team||VS Bills||VS Bears||AT Cardinals|
|AT Giants||VS Saints||AT Ravens||VS Seahawks|
|VS Football Team||AT Panthers||VS Browns||AT Vikings|
|VS Cardinals||AT Jets||VS Vikings||AT Ravens|
|AT Eagles||VS Panthers||AT Lions||VS 49ers|
It’s safe to say the Packers have the hardest remaining schedule of the bunch. Green Bay has to play at Arizona, Kansas City, Minnesota and Baltimore, while also facing the Rams and Browns at home. Even if Green Bay finishes 4-2 in these tough six games, that leaves them little, if any, room for error in the rest of their schedule if they want to get the number one seed.
The Rams also have some tough games in the next couple of months. They have to play seven games against teams that have at least a decent shot at making the playoffs, 49ers (twice), Packers, Cardinals, Titans, Vikings, Ravens, five of which come on the road.
That leaves the Cowboys and Buccaneers, who both have very favorable schedules the rest of the way. There’s a decent chance that Dallas and Tampa Bay both have only one game (AT KC for DAL, VS BUF for TB), the rest of the regular season in which they are not favored.
Despite Tampa Bay currently having the tiebreaker over Dallas with their head-to-head victory, the Bucs are unlikely to run the table in their division as the Cowboys likely can. Tampa Bay has to face the Saints and Panthers twice each, and while they both aren’t great teams, they are capable of beating the Bucs one time apiece.
The Cowboys get to play four more games against the lowly NFC East in which they very easily could go 4-0.
In the end the quality, or lack thereof, in the NFC East will be the determining factor in the race for the one seed. The Cowboys finish one game better than the Buccaneers and make sure the road to the Super Bowl goes through Dallas.