Cowboys Lead the NFC East, Sophomore Stars Make Significant Impact


Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (4) and WR CeeDee Lamb (88) high five during game play. | Image by Tom Pennington, Getty Images

Six games into the Dallas Cowboys 2021 season, and it appears that the NFC East division is safely under their control.

For the first time since 2016, the Cowboys are 5-1 and in firm command of the division. With their bye-week ending, the Cowboys will be squaring off against the Minnesota Vikings on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Halloween night.

Cowboys offensive stalwarts Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott continue to lead the way in putting Dallas on a hot start.

Prescott is currently ranked 8th in passing yards (1,813) and 6th in passing touchdowns (16) among NFL quarterbacks. The Dallas sixth-year quarterback is projected to pass for 4,835 yards, the second-highest pass total in his career, while potentially throwing 43 touchdown passes, which will be a career record for him.

On Elliott’s end, the running back is in 5th place all-NFL with 521 rushing yards and is tied for third place in rushing touchdowns (5). Should Elliott’s production hold, the star running back is projected to rush for 1,389 yards.

Prescott and Elliott are not alone in contributing to the Dallas Cowboys’ success. Sophomore standouts Trevon Diggs and CeeDee Lamb have surged as key contributors.

Diggs’ performance has quickly established him as one of the NFL’s leading ballhawks. With 7 interceptions in 6 games, Diggs is at the top of the league’s interception list and is on pace to break the single-season record of 14 interceptions that Richard “Night Train” Lane set in 1952.

Additionally, Diggs has returned 2 interceptions for touchdowns. Should Diggs’ performance hold, he is also projected to break the single-season record for interceptions returned for touchdowns. The current record is 4 interceptions for touchdowns held by Eric Allen, Ken Houston, and Jim Kearney.

CeeDee Lamb forms part of the receiver one-two punch alongside 7-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper. Lamb had a solid rookie season in 2020 when he had 74 receptions for 935 yards and 4 touchdowns.

So far in the 2021 season, Lamb has hauled in 33 receptions for 497 yards and 4 touchdowns. Lamb is projected to catch 88 passes for 1,325 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Alongside Cooper, who has caught 30 passes for 373 yards and 4 touchdowns, the duo is among the league’s most potent receiving pairs.

Lamb had a highlight-reel finish on October 17, when the Cowboys defeated the New England Patriots 35-29 in overtime. The second-year receiver from the University of Oklahoma caught the game-winning pass of 35 yards for a touchdown, bringing his receiving total for the game to 149 yards and 2 touchdown catches.

In correspondence with ESPN, Lamb described his game-winning catch as an “unbelievable feeling.”

Similarly, Diggs had a strong performance against the Patriots. In that game, Diggs logged five tackles, 1 pass deflection, and an interception returned for a touchdown. Although the Cowboys came out victorious that game, Diggs praised New England quarterback Mac Jones, Diggs’ teammate at the University of Alabama.

Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer recounted that Diggs told him, “Mac Jones is going to be a problem for a lot of people for a long time to come.”

Barring any significant injuries, the Cowboys appear to be the prohibitive favorites to win the NFC East division in the 2021 NFL season.

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