Donny Football Hot Takes: #5 – From Hard Knocks to Division Champs

By Donny Chedrick

The Dallas Cowboys are the feature of HBO’s Hard Knocks for the third time in the series’ history. If you couldn’t tell, Jerry Jones likes the spotlight. He likes to show off his team and all of his shiny toys. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and others on offense, with a young defense featuring fresh, new rookie, Micah Parsons. As always, Jones has high expectations for the Cowboys. I do too.

Let’s quickly look at what the Cowboys did following their first two appearances on the HBO sports series. Following the show’s second season in 2002, Dallas struggled, finishing 5-11 after dropping their final four games and never having a steady hand at QB, as both Chad Hutchinson and Quincy Carter failed to throw more touchdowns than interceptions. In 2008, expectations were very high in Big D. Undrafted star Tony Romo, combined with perennial all-pro Terrell Owens led many to see Dallas as a Super Bowl favorite. The ‘Boys started 3-0, but were just 5-4 going into their bye week, then watched their season falter down the stretch. Blowing a 10-point fourth quarter lead in Pittsburgh, being run out of the old stadium by Baltimore and getting absolutely throttled in a winner-take-all week 17 game in Philly.

I like Dallas a lot this year. No, they aren’t quite Super Bowl favorites in my eyes, but they play in a very winnable division. They have multiple explosive pieces on offense and perhaps the most talented receiving room in the league. Maybe not the best, but it’s up there. Zeke Elliott is still a top ten runner in the game and then there’s Dak. If Prescott can stay healthy, Dallas can get things done. He goes into the year with injury concerns and had the gruesome injury in 2020, but with expectations high, I think he, and the Cowboys answer the bell. The Giants and Eagles could surprise people and the front seven in Washington is highly underrated, but the Cowboys are the cream of the crop in the NFC East and my division champs for 2021.

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