It doesn't really matter what teams do on either side of the ball. Once in a blue moon, an average player takes the team far and eventually hoists the Lombardi Trophy.
Most of the time, teams live or die by the quarterback play. How does this bode for the Dallas Cowboys? It's the lone reason Dallas finally should be viewed as a Super Bowl contender.
Mike Jones of USA Today released his QB tier rankings heading into the 2021 season. Dallas' defense might cost them a chance for a trip to Los Angeles in February of next season, but Prescott will at least keep them in the deep playoff conversation.
Jones ranks the 27-year-old in the "very good tier" entering the summer.
"Dak Prescott no longer has to wonder about his future, and the Cowboys' $160 million man is back to moving around and throwing the ball, so Year 2 of the Mike McCarthy era is looking up. The Cowboys just need the offensive line to stay healthy."
It comes as little surprise that Prescott leads the pack in the division following his first five NFL seasons. The win-loss total only tells one part of the story, but the production speaks volumes of the player.
Prescott has thrown for at least 3,200 passing yards and 22 touchdowns in four of his first five seasons. The 2019 year was a breakout for the former fourth-rounder, throwing for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
Before suffering a season-ending injury in 2020, Prescott led the NFL in passing yards (1,856) through five games and had a passer rating of 99.6. Add in the offensive pieces and healthy protection, what's stopping Prescott from consistently, passing the 5,000-marker each year?
As for the other quarterback in the NFC East, they fall below the average category. None of them rank in the top three tiers, and Jones only throws one a bone due to the struggles of injuries in 2020.
Jalen Hurts falls in the "unproven" tier and for good reason. The former Oklahoma star really was only used due to the regression of Carson Wentz. Rookie quarterbacks are going to struggle, and with the offensive injuries, it limited Hurts more.
New Philly coach Nick Sirianni has no ties to the former second-round pick, meaning he could draft his future quarterback in 2022. For now, it's about giving Hurts a fair chance to win the job for the future.
Daniel Jones could be the one thing that holds back the New York Giants from contending, placing him in the "shaky" tier. With the additions of Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, the third-year pro should have little excuse when it comes to passing, and the return of Saquon Barkley should be New York’s foundation.
The biggest knock against Jones is a turnover ratio. In just two seasons, he's thrown 22 interceptions and fumbled 29 times (losing 17 of them).
For now, the biggest competition for the division title against Dallas would be Washington. Does Ryan Fitzpatrick make them the biggest contender moving forward? For now, Jones doesn't believe so, also playing Fitzpatrick in the "shaky" tier.
The one constant surrounding Fitzpatrick is his mixed play as a starter. Each season they'll be a game or two that has him in the Pro Bowl-level class. The next week? Four interceptions and back to the bench. Which version of "Fitzmagic" will WFT be getting?
If QB play determined the winner of the division, Dallas would be the clear-cut favorite to win the NFC East. If Dan Quinn's defensive structure can fix the Cowboys? This battle might be over before it even begins.
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