3 NFC sleeper teams who contend with 49ers for playoffs
By Peter Panacy
49ers Threat No. 2: Dallas Cowboys
2020 Record: 6-10, 3rd Place in NFC East
There’s one big reason why the Dallas Cowboys could contend in the NFC this season: quarterback Dak Prescott.
Prescott’s absence because of his serious leg injury last year was the insult stamp on what was otherwise an abysmal campaign under then newly minted head coach Mike McCarthy. The defense was atrocious, too. And while Dallas spent considerable effort reinforcing this side of the ball via the NFL Draft, if there’s one element necessary to any success the Cowboys have this year, it’s Prescott and the offense.
The Cowboys still have an array of offensive weapons to support Prescott, namely running back Ezekiel Elliott and the wide receiver tandem of CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper.
True, Dallas’ offensive line remains a work in progress. And that alone might be a reason why any Cowboys climb gets no higher than an 8-8 record.
Yet the NFC East remains the league’s weakest division, meaning Dallas could easily wind up stealing four or five inter-division games to go along with some upsets outside of the division, too.
And when one looks at the Cowboys’ second-easiest strength of schedule (opponents’ 2020 win percentage at .452, it wouldn’t be totally crazy to think Dallas and San Francisco could both be looking at one of those coveted Wild Card berths by the time Weeks 17 or 18 roll around.