The Dallas Cowboys went 13-3 last year, but found themselves on the wrong side of a spectacular Aaron Rodgers performance to end the 2016 season. As the 2017 offseason has passed us by and we are in the midst of the preseason, predicting how the Cowboys will do in 2017 is no easy task. Let’s take a look at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly predictions
A year later, and a whole lot better. The star rookies are no longer rookies and the entire offense has had a prolific year under their belt. Dez Bryant enters this season healthier, and Dak Prescott has the leadership and accuracy to continue building on a historic rookie season. The defense continues to gel around Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith provides potential for a partner close to his level. There is hope that Taco Charlton proves doubters wrong and gives Dallas an anchor along the defense line while Charles Tapper kicks in with a strong showing.
The Packers and Falcons remain the cream of the crop for the NFC, but the Cowboys, Seahawks and Giants are not far behind. So what must happen to achieve great heights?
- Avoid injuries across the starters, a given for any team hoping to reach the top.
- Dez Bryant re-asserts himself in the conversation of best receiver in the NFL, alongside Julio Jones, OBJ and Antonio Brown.
- The linebackers provide consistent and masterful play allowing the secondary to take extra chances and giving the defensive line every opportunity to attack the quarterback.
The best case scenario is another NFC East title, another first round bye, and a trip to the NFC Championship game to face off against the aforementioned Packers or Falcons. Then, representing the NFC in the Super Bowl will be pure glory.
The Cowboys went through the 2016 season with a pair of losses against the Giants and a meaningless loss in Philly to end the season. Dallas used fourth quarter comebacks last season to beat the Redskins in DC, Philadelphia at home in overtime and both Minnesota and Tampa Bay during primetime games away from home. Most quarterbacks cannot hang their hat on multiple fourth quarterback comebacks during a single season. Lackluster play in the first half forced heroics on the offense, defense and special teams to rescue Dallas and maintain the impressive eleven game winning streak. With this in mind, what could go wrong in Big D this year which would force Dallas out of the playoffs?
- Dallas gets off to a slow start because of Ezekiel Elliott’s absence as they face some imposing defenses right out of the gate.
- This offseason was about keeping as much talent in as possible, but our rivals in New York and Philadelphia boosted their offenses with considerable talent - this means Dallas can no longer count on a 4-2 or 5-1 record in the division.
- Dallas consistently loses to the other big boys in the league on their schedule such as Green Bay, Atlanta, Seattle and Oakland
This would force Dallas into a middling record and miss the playoffs after starting the season with lofty expectations.
The Dallas Cowboys could find themselves in an ugly situation surrounded by controversy and injury. What if Zeke’s legal issues remain a distraction for much of the year and Dallas starts off very poorly? This could set the Cowboys a few games back for the division lead which would force pressure on Dak’s ability to throw down the field, and will further require the young defense to contain a number of strong offenses this year. Compound this with an injury or two to one of the young stars and the offense could be in major trouble as Dak Prescott would face a legitimate sophomore slump.
- Zeke’s suspension is held to six games and he does not regain form for the remainder of the season.
- Jaylon Smith remains healthy but is constantly hampered by slow play, or if he re-injures himself, Dallas is left with just Sean Lee given Damien Wilson’s probable suspension and Anthony Hitchen’s injury.
- The gamble to let the secondary leave in free agency does not pan out as Dallas ends up with a historically inept passing defense.
Cowboys Nation remains hopeful that losing Anthony Hitchens for eight weeks is the only major offseason injury that will affect this team. In this situation, marred by injury, controversy and lackluster play, Dallas ends the season with a losing record and enters the offseason with more questions than answers.
What are your 2017 predictions?
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