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A look at some of the most dangerous pass-catching combinations on the Cowboys 2021 schedule

It’s not going to be easy for the Cowboys secondary at times this season.

Kansas City Chiefs vs New York Jets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Before the draft, there was much discussion about the Cowboys defensive woes after last season’s disastrous showing, and some of that focused on the secondary and their need to improve. The Cowboys did go out and try to address their issues by bringing in a new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn. He is expected to install a less-complicated defensive scheme for the players. One of Quinn’s previous players, safety Damontae Kazee, is expected to bring stability to the safety position and is also a player that can help the other players learn the scheme. The Cowboys also spent a lot of draft picks on cornerbacks they believe will help this team.

Hopefully they are right because they aren’t going to have it easy this season even though the strength of schedule may say otherwise. This rebuilt secondary will be facing off against some tough receiver and tight end combinations. Here’s a look at some of the top passing attacks they will be facing in the coming months.

Kansas City Chiefs - Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill

When the Cowboys take the field against the Chiefs they will be facing off against one of the toughest combinations to defend in the NFL in Kelce and Hill. Thanks in part to the special talents of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, these two have been terrorizing defenses. Their ability to create mismatches can’t be denied. Hill’s speed off the line and playmaking ability allows them to stretch the field putting pressure on opposing safeties and cornerbacks. Then you have Kelce who has size and athleticism that allows him to create mismatches in coverage from safeties and linebackers. The Chiefs also have more speed on the field with Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson, but everything is going to go through these two players.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans, Chris Goodwin, Rob Gronkowski, and Antonio Brown

The Cowboys drew the short end of the stick as they are facing off against the defending Super Bowl champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will be looking to show that their title wasn’t a fluke. This matchup presents a few different issues as they will have to defend at every level of the defense with Tom Brady at the helm. The Buccaneers bring size and speed with Evans and Gronkowski, as well as speed and technical route-running ability to beat you underneath with Goodwin and Brown. While they may not take many shots deep downfield, they will after wearing you down with short and intermediate routes in the middle of the field. They bring a lot of experience with them and they will look to use that to beat this less experienced group.

Washington Football Team - Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and Curtis Samuel

The Football Team is the defending NFC East champions, and since then they’ve added more talent to the roster to become more explosive on the offensive side of the football. They’ve brought in a gunslinger in Ryan Fitzpatrick who’s never seen a throw he doesn’t think he can make, as well as wide receiver Samuel to pair with the already talented McLaurin. When you put that all together you have two very quick receivers to pair with Gibson who’s just as talented running routes and catching the ball. Their ability to beat cornerbacks off the line and take a short or deep route all the way to the house will put pressure on these cornerbacks and safeties to make sure they stay on their man and also get them to the ground if they are able to make a catch. Against this team, the Cowboys speed and tackling will need to be on point if they want to win.

Minnesota Vikings - Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Irv Smith Jr.

Last season when these two teams faced off it was a shootout mainly due to how poor both team's defenses were at that time. This time around the Vikings should have their pass rushers back to put more pressure on the Cowboys offense which will also put more pressure on the Cowboys defense to get stops. They will be facing three very good receivers that have the size and speed to make plays off over the field and take over games. Jefferson burst onto the scene last season and while he didn’t have a coming-out game against the Cowboys he did open up the field for Thielen to rack up 123 yards and two touchdowns. The two combined for three touchdowns and now with another season under their belt, and the Vikings giving Smith Jr. the green light to start at tight end, this unit will be tough to cover because the Cowboys will be focusing on stopping their talented running back Dalvin Cook first. They can’t allow any of these players to get behind them or they are in for a long day.

Atlanta Falcons - Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts, and Julio Jones

The Falcons are on this list because it’s still up in the air if Julio Jones will be on this team in the coming weeks, but if he is this could be a very dangerous trio. The size and mismatch potential with Jones and the rookie Pitts, who many see as the top offensive rookie thanks to his speed to beat safeties and linebackers and his ability to make contested catches. Pair that with Ridley’s technical route running and you have the makings of an explosive offense. Again, this is all if Jones stays on the team, if he leaves then the Cowboys have a better chance of handling this offense and keeping Ridley and Pitts in check thanks in part to their lackluster running game.

Honorable Mention - New York Giants - Kenny Gollaway, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram