Now before you guys lay into me, I want to say that while I will be exploring this I really don't think the Cowboys will go 19-0. However, the late season surge last year and tmacie86's excellent post here, got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, Dallas might just have the "perfect storm" that could lead to this happening. What are these you ask? Here they are:
1. 5-3...our record after Jason Garrett took over as HC.
2.Tony Romo coming back
3.Tyron Smith vs Marc Columbo
4. Alan Ball is no longer the Starting FS
5. Rob Ryan as DC
6. "Easier schedule"
After the jump lets look into each of these reasons....
First on the list was our record after JG took over...5-3. Now I know that the last win was a Eagles team that had nothing to play for, so it wasn't like they trotted out all their stars, however Dallas was pretty banged up themselves having to start Stephen McGee at QB, along with a few other 3-4th stringers, so I call that a wash. If we extrapolate JG's record over the course of a season, we would have a 10-6 record....with nothing changed! That means Jon Kitna at QB, Marc Colombo at RT, Paul Pasqualoni at DC, Alan Ball at FS. Now obviously we won't have those players/ coaches, and plus (hopefully) JG should have a full year to put his stamp on the team. Which means that even if nothing else changes(not likely), then just that should mean at least a 1 game improvement. That means we should finish the season at min 11-5. So lets look at the changes:
First change, Tony Romo. As we all know Jon Kitna filled in very well once Garrett took over as HC. however even Romo's staunches critics have to admit that he is much more talented than Kitna. Even Garrett has said that he had to scale back the Offense because Kitna just isn't the QB that Romo is. So given all this I would say that having Romo should give us another one game improvement in our record.(I am being conservative Terry) bringing us to 12-4
Second & 3rd change, replacing Marc Colombo and Alan Ball, again, should add at least 1 game apiece. The reason is simple, they were arguably our two worse players. Columbo being part of the reason why Garrett hasn't been able to run his Offense to its fullest, and Alan Ball being responsible for the insane secondary woes in 2010...replacing those two would bring Dallas up to 14-2
4th change- Rob Ryan as DC. We are all excited about Bringing in Rob Ryan. He brings an energy and swagger to coaching not seen around here since Jimmy Johnson. HOwever I think that we may need to temper our expectations. Will there be an improvement? Most likely, however it may only be going from one of the worst Defenses in the league to a mid pack or slightly lower defense. However even that could be enough given our Offensive capabilities. A turnover here, a key (late) stop there that we didn't get last year may be all the difference that we get. so I will again be conservative and say +1 win to the total....15-1.
5th "change"-The 3rd place schedule. Now I know there is no such thing as a Easy schedule in the NFL,(unless you are in AFC/NFC west) so lets look at the schedule for this year:
at NY Jets: Right out of the gate we get a great test. The Cowboys' Offense vs the Jets Defense. this one will be close but I think that our Offense will be able to move the ball and score, and the D should pull out a late INT to seal it. 1-0
at San Francisco: Is a mess at QB right now, though again their D is really good, especially their LB core. However, their DL and secondary aren't anything special, and their Offense is built around Gore, contain him, which Dallas should be able to do,and you should Win- 2-0
vs. Washington: It is the 'Skins, regardless of the records, they are always tough. However this year they won't have Alex Barron to save them....3-0
vs. Detroit: Frankly this team scares the piss out of me...I honestly think this will be the first true test of Garrett's HC motivational abilities, especially if we come in at 3-0. Not only that but with Fairley and Suh lined up next to each other... with the possiblity that Arkin may be starting?....However I believe in JG and that he will have these guys ready. The D again gets a late turnover to seal the Win(there will be a few of these I think)....4-0
Bye (Oct. 9)
at New England: A team built in the same mold as Dallas, though I think our D will be better than theirs. Romo wins it on a game winning TD pass to Dez as time runs out...5-0
vs. St. Louis: A young team that will be a decent test for the Boys, but Offense starts really humming, allowing the D to get after Bradford...6-0
at Philadelphia: Its Philly dude...barnburner...though Mike Vick can't match Romo...7-0
vs. Seattle: Again another test for Garrett, but Dallas will be ready for this trap game, Blow out...8-0
vs. Buffalo: See Seattle...9-0
at Washington: While not the test that Seattle or Buffalo, will there be enough hate at 9-0 for a team bound for the Andrew Luck pick? I say yes...10-0vs. Miami: The Garrett methodology gets a Huge test here, though Dallas gets a few turnovers, and wins going away...11-0
at Arizona: With three Division games coming up, Dallas sends a message...12-0
vs. NY Giants: In a game that the Offense struggles(comparably), the Defense again gets a late turnover to seal the win and The Division title...13-0
at Tampa Bay: with a Formidable D-line, and the "should Romo play" controversy staring up, this again has the makings of a trap game. However, Felix and Murray put on a running and receiving clinic and torch Tampa...14-0
vs. Philadelphia: another Barn burner but this time the Defense gets (another) late turnover,(I told you there would be a few of them)....15-0
at NY Giants: Garrett goes for the throat, the Defense is simply, dare I say, "Doomsday". Romo is pulled in the third quarter, having Deztroyed(see what I did there?) the Giants Secondary...Kitna comes in and shows that last year was no fluke,adding a couple more scores...16-0
Now I am not going to even attempt to project the playoffs, but if Dallas Defense can gel on the fly and pull off a 07 Giants type run, I don't see anyone beating us...My Super Bowl Prediction? Dallas vs Houston....Dallas wins in the highest scoring Superbowl ever...60-59...with David Buehler making a 60 yarder to win it....
As Always I welcome any comments and critiques, so feel free to drop a line....Again I admit that this is pure fantasy, and homerism, but I hope that you at least get a chuckle out of it....Hope you had a great 4th of July...will leave you with just one thing: