Dallas Cowboys: 3 things to watch for in their season opener

Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott (Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Dallas Cowboys will begin their season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Playing on the road against the defending Super Bowl champions is no easy feat especially after a disappointing season for America’s Team.

Last season, the Cowboys went just 6-10 and finished third in the NFC East. Although quarterback Dak Prescott was out for the majority of the year, Dallas was just 2-3 in 2020 in the games that he played.

As a result, there is likely more that this team needs to do than just get back the former rookie of the year. Running back Ezekiel Elliott has to step up his game in 2021 especially after rushing for only 979 yards last season.

Not only does Prescott need to come back healthy, but the Dallas Cowboys’ defense likely has to be much better. Last season, this defense ranked towards the bottom of the league in almost every category. They ranked 28th in points allowed per game (29.6), 31st in rush yards allowed (158.8), and 25th in opponent’s yards per completion (11.1).

However, this season, there is arguably a new and improved Cowboys’ defense ready to take shape. Adding players like linebacker Micah Parsons, linebacker Keanu Neal, safety Damontae Kazee, and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins will probably help this defense immensely. According to Dallas’ depth chart on ESPN, America’s Team has five new starters on defense from a season ago.

There are many things to look forward to this season for the Dallas Cowboys. However, here are three things to watch for in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports) /

3. Dak Prescott’s return

Prescott is back after missing the last 11 games of the season. After a phenomenal start to his 2020 campaign, the former Pro Bowl quarterback went down with a gruesome ankle injury.

Before the injury, the former Mississippi State product was on pace to break the single-season passing yards record held by Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. Through just 18 quarters, Prescott had 1,856 yards, nine passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Now, the 28-year-old star is back after an extremely long offseason. After making his way back from the ankle injury, Prescott suffered a different setback which limited him all training camp. The 6-foot-2 quarterback was diagnosed with a shoulder strain.

However, HE IS OFFICIALLY BACK!! According to reports, Prescott is 100 percent healthy and ready to go for their season opener. The former fourth-round pick also said that he is excited to get back out on the field.

As a result, the most interesting thing to watch in-game one is how Prescott does in his first real action since the injury. He hasn’t played in a game since October of last season, 11 months ago.

Going up against the Buccaneers’ defense is nothing easy. According to PFF, this defense is one of the best in the league and ranks in tier one. Seeing Prescott back against this team is something to pay close attention to in their season opener.