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Cowboys News: Patriots, Raiders, Or Steelers As Cowboys Super Bowl LII Matchup?

Latest Cowboys headlines: Vegas says Patriots-Cowboys is most likely Super Bowl matchup; early standouts from Cowboys OTAs; Cowboys starting corner tandem?

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys Facility Tour Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys – primed for a Super Bowl run? - Sam Monson, PFF
Monson wonders if the Cowboys are ready to take the next step.

Dallas has built through the draft well in recent seasons, and it has begun to bear fruit. They may have been one and done in the playoffs this past year, but it took some Aaron Rodgers magic and one of the greatest games in NFL playoff history for it to happen after an epic comeback by Dallas in the fourth quarter.

The NFL has seen plenty of teams lately make playoff runs and even win championships with unbalanced rosters, but the stronger side of the ball needs to be dominant to make up for the shortcomings of the weaker side. If Dallas can’t get solid play out of their defense, they will need that offense to be at the peak of its powers, but if they can, they suddenly become one of the toughest teams in the game to take out.

The Golden Nugget says a Patriots-Cowboys matchup is the most likely in Super Bowl LII - Ben Fawkes, ESPN
The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas likes the Cowboys and Patriots for the big game.

The most likely Super Bowl matchup is the defending champion New England Patriots facing the Dallas Cowboys at 7-1, followed by the Patriots taking on the Green Bay Packers at 8-1.

In total, the Cowboys show up three times among the top seven most likely matchups:

1. Cowboys-Patriots: 7/1

2. Packers-Patriots: 8/1

3. Falcons-Patriots: 10/1

4. Seahawks-Patriots: 10/1

5. Giants-Patriots: 12/1

6. Cowboys-Raiders: 12/1

7. Cowboys-Steelers: 14/1

Given the choice between the Patriots, Raiders, or Steelers, which opponent would you prefer for the Cowboys in Super Bowl LII? Tell us in the poll below or in the comments section at the bottom of this article.

Poll

Which opponent would you prefer for the Cowboys in Super Bowl LII?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Patriots
    (534 votes)
  • 37%
    Raiders
    (552 votes)
  • 26%
    Steelers
    (393 votes)
1479 votes total Vote Now

FPI projects every NFL team's most important 2017 game - Hak Gargiulo, ESPN
ESPN uses its Football Power Index (FPI) to project the most important games for each NFL team's playoff odds by calculating the swing in odds between a win and a loss in that game. Turns out, the most important games for the Giants, Eagles, and Redskins are all against the Cowboys. Of course.

1. Giants: Key game: at Cowboys (Week 1) | Playoff leverage: 25.6 percent

FPI sees the Sunday night trip to meet the defending NFC East champs as the Giants' most difficult game of the season. As such, a victory would greatly improve the team's playoff odds.

4. Cowboys: Key game: vs. Giants (Week 1) | Playoff leverage: 24.1 percent

As mentioned, the Week 1 game at Jerryworld is nearly as big for the Cowboys as for the Giants. An early win against what FPI sees as its primary rival for the division title would set Dallas up nicely.

12. Eagles: Key game: at Cowboys (Week 11) | Playoff leverage: 23 percent

The Eagles never need extra motivation to beat the Cowboys, but a road win over the FPI division favorites would be the difference between a near coin flip to make the playoffs (49.1 percent) to roughly a 1-in-4 chance (26.1 percent) with a loss.

18. Redskins: Key game: at Cowboys (Week 13) | Playoff leverage: 21.1 percent

The Redskins' trip to Dallas looms largest in their playoff quest -- just as it is for the division-rival Giants and Eagles. FPI sees a road win against the Cowboys as the primary driver of their chances to make the postseason (38.3 percent if they do).


Early standouts from Cowboys OTAs: Brice Butler, Jon Lotulelei - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer offers up a collection of thoughts about the current state of the Dallas Cowboys in this article. Here are two of them.

When Brice Butler re-signed with the Cowboys early in free agency, he was staring at the possibility of being a starter. Then Terrance Williams surprisingly re-signed with the Cowboys, pushing Butler down a peg. Then the Cowboys drafted Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown. Butler might be on a roster bubble, so to speak, but if you're going by what you see, then there is no question Butler should make the team and get plenty of snaps. He has caught just about everything. He is running really well. He needs to show it consistently in training camp but he has had a good run this offseason.

Not much was made of the signing of John Lotulelei after the Cowboys' season ended, but he might be a guy worth keeping an eye on as the summer goes on. The linebacker just seems to find himself around the ball a lot. With Jaylon Smith limited and Mark Nzeocha undergoing knee surgery earlier in the week, Lotulelei is getting some second-team work with the defense.

Mailbag: Carrying Six Wide Receivers? - Bryan Broaddus & David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus and Helman both have Brice Butler as the fifth wide receiver.

Bryan: I think Butler is going to make this team as the 5th. He is outplaying Andy Jones and Noah Brown right now but things could change. One of those guys are going to have to a great camp to make them keep six. If they do keep an extra guy my gut would say it's Noah.

David: I’ve been saying since the draft that I think they might be forced to carry six receivers to start this season. Brice Butler is a better player than Noah Brown and Andy Jones right now, but the younger guys might have more upside. Keep whichever one has a better camp and go light at another position.

Check out the moves Cowboys WR Brice Butler is pulling out in OTAs | SportsDay
Sportsday alerts us to a short highlight reel of Butler's standout plays from OTAS taken from his Facebook page.


Damontre Moore sees himself as a light bulb in Cowboys D - Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk
Moore is looking to resurrect his NFL career and chose his hometown team as the place to do it and signed with the Cowboys after stops in four other NFL cities over the last four years.

“I considered a couple of other options,” Moore said via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “But the Cowboys showed me the most love. They acted like they wanted me. And just to have the opportunity to play for your hometown time, I was like ‘why not?'”

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Moore best fits at right defensive end, but the former Texas A&M standout also is getting snaps on the left side. The Cowboys also are using him as a gunner on special teams.

Cowboys starting corner tandem? Go with Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll - Todd Archer, ESPN
In response to a reader question, Archer explains his choice for the Cowboys' starting corners.

Specifically at corner, the Cowboys went with Orlando Scandrick and Nolan Carroll as their starters in the base defense for the three organized team activities that were open to the media. I would expect that to be the case next week for the minicamp and when the team travels to Oxnard, California for training camp.

What about this year's draft picks, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis? They will get their chance in training camp, but from what we've seen so far, the pecking order is clear.

Once training camp begins and the practices in full pads take on a new pace, then we'll know more. Maybe Awuzie gets in the mix. Maybe Lewis finds a home. But remember: Coaches value experience, especially at cornerback.

Projecting a first-time Pro Bowler for each NFC team - Marc Sessler, NFL.com
When we asked a similar question a little over a week ago, we suggested La'el Collins, Maliek Collins, and Byron Jones could be the next first-time Pro Bowlers for the Cowboys. Sessler only has one option for each team, and he picked La'el Collins for the Cowboys.

Safety Byron Jones also makes sense, but concerns loom around the Dallas secondary. Pro Bowl voters love Cowboys O-linemen -- for good reason -- and Collins has a chance to make a strong impression as the new starting right tackle. He hasn't played at a Pro Bowl level over his first two seasons, but returning to the position he starred in at LSU brings promise. "You can tell when you see him on the field how athletic he is and how explosive he can be," All-Pro center Travis Frederick told the Dallas Morning News. If he can make the next step, Collins will generate heaps of Pro Bowl buzz.