The season is upon us, which means it is time for us to bravely stare into our crystal balls and offer up our forecasts for '05. I'll take the plunge. Weeks ago, I predicted 9-7 for the good team. I'm going to stick with that. 9-7 and a wild card berth.
Now, I think it will be an optimistic 9-7, in that the team will finish strongly. I'm bullish on this team. But I'm also trying not to let my homerism get the better of me. The kids on defense have talent, but they're kids. They're going to make mistakes. Watching the lights go on upstairs for Ware, Canty, Spears, Petitti, Crayton, Burnett and the rest will make the season get better as it proceeds. How many here remember '90? The Cowboys got off to a lousy 3-7 start, then ran off four straight to go 7-7. They had a shot at a wild card slot, but a separated Troy Aikman shoulder in Philly ended that dream. Still, you couldn't temper the optimism that following offseason. The Cowboys had been 7-9, but everybody knew the future was going to be good.
I see this team the same way. By mid-season, everyone will know there is serious young talent here, regardless of the record.
Sports Illustrated gives Dallas some love, with Peter King and Paul Zimmerman both picking the Cowboys to reach the playoffs.
At ESPN, the predictions are less sanguine. Of the 12 polled, only three pick Dallas to make the playoffs. Chris Mortensen and the folks at Scouts, Inc. both see Dallas as a wild card team. Merrill Hoge however, picks Dallas to wrest the NFC East from the Eagles.
Closer to home, the Star-Telegram picks Dallas to go 8-8, citing the team's tough schedule.
What do you think? Leave a single line prediction in the thread. Give the record and where Dallas will finish. Leave the finely detailed explanations for another post. I'll compile the predictions and post the results later this week.
Update: The DMN has soldiered forth with its picks. Ten pundits. All put Dallas between 9-7 and 6-10. Three put Dallas in the playoffs with those lowly records, showing they still don't think much of the overall talent in the NFC. Matt Mosley gives Dallas the highest marks of all, putting them at 9-7 and earning a wild card. Strangely, two give Dallas wild card berths while predicting the team will finish 7-9 and 6-10. Those must be typos. The NFC isn't that bad.