A new season for the Dallas Cowboys and for their fans is approaching with the hopes of a new championship run. The Cowboys were riddled with injuries in 2015. With Dez Bryant and Tony Romo shelved for 19 games between them, they struggled with moving the ball downfield. Losing Romo was devastating, as he is the indisputable leader of the team, year in and year out. And although 35 years old, he still puts up top notch numbers, when healthy. 3700+ YDs and 34 TDs in 2014, when he played 15 games.
And on the topic of Tony Romo, getting him back is huge. He will be able to use his fresh legged rookie RB, Ezekiel Elliott, to a great advantage. Something they have not had in several years, since DeMarco Murray was running the fields for 1800 YDs and 13 TDs. Romo has always had the accuracy, the toughness to stand in the trenches when the chips are down and being able to have a guy who can catch out of the backfield is going to open things up drastically in 2016. Let’s not forget Dallas won 12 games the year Murray was pounding the rock like he did.
Elliott had 58 catches in his college career for 449 YDs. He has sure hands, and can make big plays after the catch. He is going to bring a whole other dimension to the Cowboys, that wasn’t seen last season. This will be something that they haven’t been able to enjoy in a few years. I fully expect Elliott to be 1300 YD, 10 TD guy in a very short time span. Dallas struggled on offense, as they scored 24 or more points only 4 times in 2015, this will not be the issue this season, they will be more than ready to start producing points again, at a regular pace. They went from being a team that was dropping 29 a game to only 17 a game in one awful season. It will be back to business as usual in Dallas.
Another huge reason, the Cowboys offensive line is the best in the NFL, hands down. Zack Martin and Tyron Smith anchor a unit that opens up holes that even Trent Richardson could get through. They gave up 33 sacks in 2015, which was good for 12th in the NFL, with a QB unit that didn’t help matters much. And even with unreliable Darren McFadden and shaky RB Joseph Randle running the ball last season, they still managed to get them to 4.6 YPC. And the scariest part, they are young, very young. This squad, if kept together, could be doing this for another 7-10 years. That thought is something to be concerned about, for opponents.
The schedule the Cowboys have this year is also pretty favorable. They play the AFC North who had 2 teams in its division last year that gave up a total of 21 TDs on the ground between them. Which means they should be able to pound it out with that nasty Oline and their new RB. If things go as expected, they should win no less than 3 of those games. The AFC North division also had 3 teams that gave up loads of passing TDs to their opponents last year. That is also a good sign for Cowboys fans across the nation with Romo coming back behind center and Dez catching the ball.
Another issue, is the NFC East simply cannot handle their WR tandems of Dez Bryant, deep baller Terrance Williams and shifty Cole Beasley. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the best CB in the division, and he isn’t a kid anymore. In their 2 games vs the NYG, the ‘Boys threw for 2 of their top 5 passing games. He cannot hang with Bryant with consistency, Dez is a 10+ TD producer as long as he stays on the field, Beasley has really tight route running skills and gets the short yards when needed, and don’t forget about Williams who quietly put up 840 YDs last year, even with 2nd and 3rd stringers throwing the ball.
With the NFC East far from being a stable division for any of the defending champions since the Eagles held onto the crown in 2003 and 2004, there will be no reason the Cowboys won’t be rolling into the playoffs as division champions. The one thing Dallas has to be leery of, is its porous pass defense. A defense that gave up 23 a game, including 7 games of 246 passing YDs or more, and they went 0-7 in those games. They have a weak CB corps, that had only 8 picks, and their D-line produced a bottom feeding 31 sacks in 2015. They cannot get behind early, they need to be in control of their games from the get-go.
Other than those few bumps in the road, they will very well be a team that is looking to light it up weekly, and will have the mindset of winning the 35-31 games. This will be successful for the season. Playoffs, is another story, but as far as the season goes, the 2016 NFC East will be the Cowboys for the taking.
Written by TonyK for 10StarPicks.