The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a horrific 4-12 season. They finished last in the NFC East and had the fourth-worst record in the NFL in terms of draft positioning. Sounds like they would have a long way to go until they started to be ranked as contenders again. That's not the case even though many have tried to sound the alarm that all is not well with the Cowboys roster. That 2015 can't be totally laid at the feet of injuries to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, it doesn't seem to be taking hold with the outside world.
For starters take a look at the betting odds from a couple of places for next year's Super Bowl.
Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).
Odds to win the 2017 Super Bowl
Carolina Panthers 9/1
New England Patriots 9/1
Seattle Seahawks 9/1
Green Bay Packers 12/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 12/1
Arizona Cardinals 14/1
Dallas Cowboys 16/1
Denver Broncos 16/1
The Cowboys are tied with Super Bowl winners Denver at 16-1. They are the only team in the top eight that didn't make the playoffs last year. Pretty heady stuff for a team coming off a 4-12 record. Here's another betting house:
Here are the current Super Bowl 51 odds, courtesy of the Westgate in Las Vegas.
The Cowboys are ninth here and again the only non-playoff team to make the top nine.
Over at ESPN they rolled Power Rankings, which they admittedly labeled way too early, but the Cowboys end up 13th and the best of the NFC East teams.
13. Dallas Cowboys 2015 record: 4-12 Voting results: 388 points
Why they're here: That's right -- the last-place team from the NFC East coming off a 4-12 record and outscored by almost a touchdown a game is considered the division's front-runner going into 2016. Call it the Romo Effect. A healthy Tony Romo behind arguably the NFL's best offensive line makes for a sunny forecast. That said, Dallas was considered a Super Bowl contender going into 2015, so don't say it haven't taken a hit in perception.
What could change: Greg Hardy could be gone, which just makes a total overhaul in the secondary even scarier. Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr could be headed elsewhere, and Orlando Scandrick is coming back from a knee injury. As much as some want the Cowboys to draft the QB of the future at No. 4, can they afford to pass on a player who could help in 2016?
The Sporting News had their rankings and they had Dallas at 13th, and the favorites to win the NFC East. And one more from ESPN's Dan Graziano on things he sees for 2016.
1. The Cowboys, Colts and Ravens all bounce back. Drafting a quarterback at No. 4 overall creates controversy in Dallas, but Tony Romo stays healthy all year, Kirk Cousins turns back into a pumpkin and the Cowboys win a still-pitiful NFC East.
What say you BTB? Should we buy the hype, or are the Cowboys a long way from contenders in the NFC East and for the Super Bowl?