NFL Team Preview: Dallas Cowboys

The purpose of these previews is to provide a quick and dirty look at what the outlook is for each NFL team in 2019 according to my own philosophies and hot takes when it comes to pro football. That said, let’s take a quick report card look at where we came from, what’s expected, and the logic that drives my principles when evaluating NFL teams.

CategoryDallas
Division:NFC East
SB Odds:25/1
Division Odds (Moneyline):+140
2018 Rank Rushing Yds/Gm:10
2018 Rank Against the Run:5
2018 Rank Against the Pass:13
Returning Starters Offense:10
Returning Starters Defense:10

You may notice passing rankings are not included in my cute little NFL team report card. The reason for that is without at least one of, a top-10 ranked running game or top-10 defense, it generally does not matter how good your quarterback is. If you don’t believe me, read this genius’s irrefutable thorough analysis of elite quarterbacks, and how these two attributes correlates to their ability to win anything of note.

Now that you’re fully indoctrinated into my non-quarterback driven league cult, let’s do a quick run down of Dallas’s significant roster takeaways for this season.

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Impact Additions – Acquisitions that are projected to start or have major rotational roles in 2019

4: C Travis Frederick, TE Jason Witten, WR Randall Cobb, DE Robert Quinn

Impact Losses – Departures that had started or had major rotational roles last season

1: WR Cole Beasley

Difference Makers – Players who are widely considered among the best at their position heading into 2019

9: RB Zeke Elliott, WR Amari Cooper, C Travis Frederick, LT Tyron Smith, RG Zach Martin, DE DeMarcus Lawrence, LB Jaylon Smith, LB Leighton Vander Esch, CB Byron Jones

Potential Breakout Candidates – Second or third year players that are logical selections to make “the leap” in the upcoming season based on past performance

1: FS Xavier Woods

How it could work

Unlike the first two NFC East teams previewed, Dallas is playing for a Super Bowl in 2019. They have all the necessary pieces to do it, including getting All-Pro Center Travis Frederick back after missing all of last season.

As good as Zeke was in 2018, the running game got inexplicably exposed in their Divisional round loss to Los Angeles. Even worse, the Boys 5th ranked run defense was shredded by the Rams. As someone who bet Dallas 17 different ways that night, it didn’t take long for the sobering reality to set in that the Rams were simply out classing Dallas in every way.

But, maybe that was exactly what Dallas needed.

Listen, it’s one thing to lose. But, getting dominated like that was unacceptable. The Cowboys have the requisite talent to get back to where they were last season. Now, they have an example of what it takes, and what should be motivation to win, when they return there.

Why it wouldn’t work

That result was something bigger than inexperience, mild inferiority, or a rough night. It was really a tell on how weak they are schematically, and/or how easily this group will fold when punched in the mouth.

I mean, what else would explain Elliot having the lowest rushing total of his career when having at least 15 carries? It can’t just be Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh imposing their will.

Conor McGregor can’t give the inches speech before every game. So, if this group can’t be more self motivated to be great, not good, and a touch more creative when the first 12 vanilla hand offs to Zeke aren’t working, they won’t deliver on the high expectations.

And, that’s before we even get to the potential damage of all the contract distractions….

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Final Prediction

More often than not, Dallas will have a talent advantage each week when they take the field. That, and a schedule break against the AFC East division is enough for me to go over 8.5 wins on the season.

The likely progression from an already top-10 NFL defense makes the 25/1 Super Bowl odds solid value as well. And, for what it’s worth, I think rookie Tony Pollard could be the steal of the draft too.

Next, the other contender in the NFC East, the Eagles.

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