ESPN flags Cowboys as most-likely team to make playoffs after missing out

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Tony Thompson
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The Dallas Cowboys will be on their way back to the NFL playoffs in 2021, at least according to a panel on ESPN Insider. This is less a compliment to the Cowboys than it is an insult to the rest of a division that hasn’t seen a back-to-back winner since the Philadelphia Eagles won it four consecutive years to kick off the 21st century.

It also hinges upon one minor detail: the return of quarterback Dak Prescott. It is unlikely that he won’t be on the field come September, but the cloud hanging over the Dallas front office this offseason is the same one that’s been there for the past two years. The team’s failure to come to a long-term agreement with the most important player on the team while continually extending others has cost the team dearly in terms of goodwill and cap space. Still, four of the eight panelists feel that Dallas is the obvious choice of the teams ready to join the fracas next January.

ESPN’s Seth Walder weighs in:

They would have obliterated the woeful NFC East with a healthy Prescott, who will be back if there’s any sanity in that front office. Don’t get me wrong: That defense has problems. But defense can also be fixed much quicker than offense.

The other contributors echoed similar sentiments. Of the four not picking the Cowboys, the rest have Bill Belichick ties. One writer picked the Dolphins, coached by Brian Flores, another picked Joe Judge’s New York Giants and two writers picked the Patriots themselves.

The group also heavily believed the Bears, followed by Washington are the most likely not to return to the dance after making it in 2020.

The Cowboys are the odds-on favorite in Vegas to come out of the lowly NFC East. It will likely require a Herculean effort from the offense to overcome a defense that will still be undergoing changes, remaining a work-in-progress during another summer of uncertainty in a pandemic.

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