After an impressive 13-3 campaign in 2016, many expected the Cowboys to begin a run of dominance in the NFC East.
However, Dallas found themselves regressing by four wins just one season later and missing out on the playoffs. After a tumultuous offseason that has seen to the retirement of Jason Witten and the release of Dez Bryant, the Cowboys are facing another season on missing out on postseason football-- just ask Terrell Owens, who believes the Boys will continue to perform poorly because of head coach Jason Garrett.
Odds to win the NFC this season (via @BovadaIv):— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) May 7, 2018
Philadelphia Eagles: 5-1
Green Bay Packers: 6-1
Los Angeles Rams: 7-1
Minnesota Vikings: 7-1
New Orleans Saints: 10-1
Atlanta Falcons: 11-1
San Francisco 49ers: 11-1
Carolina Panthers: 14-1
Dallas Cowboys: 14-1
Entering the year with just the ninth-best odds to win the NFC according to Bovada, the Cowboys' sole sign of hope stems from Ezekiel Elliot and a strong offensive line. Zeke will continue to dominate (if he stays healthy and out of trouble), but will Dak Prescott be able to win games in the fourth quarter?
After more than tripling his interception total last year from his rookie season, Prescott is now without his two best receivers. Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley make up perhaps the worst receiving corps in the league. Additionally, their schedule does not do them any favors.
Dallas will open the season with a tough matchup against Carolina, and will then host the Giants, Lions, and Jaguars while traveling to Washington, Seattle, and Houston before their bye week. With Detroit, New York, and Houston only getting better this offseason, the Cowboys could be looking at a 2-5 start before that bye. With two matchups against the reigning champions and additional games against the Saints and Falcons, the Cowboys could have 9 losses before we know it.
Selecting Leighton Vander Esch in the first round may have filled a need, but also resulted in Dallas passing on plenty of value. They had their pick of receivers in the draft, and opted instead to wait much later to draft a potential Dez replacement. Keeping Demarcus Lawrence under the franchise tag will help their pass rush, but their secondary is still mediocre at best.
The weight of the team is on Dak's shoulders, but if last season's output of just 207 passing yards per game are any indication of his future success, America's Team will definitely miss out on the playoffs for a second straight year.