Dallas Cowboys aren't currently favored to make playoffs - Sam Quinn, 247 Sports
The NFC is going to be tough this season with the revamped NFC South as well as multiple teams from the other divisions contending also. Where do the Cowboys fit in with all this?
Odds Shark [sic] just released their playoff odds for the 2018 season, and the Cowboys are ninth in the NFC as of this moment. They are behind:
The NFC runner-up Minnesota Vikings at -260, tied with the Eagles for the best odds in the NFC after adding Kirk Cousins.
The Los Angeles Rams at -170. They added stars like Brandin Cooks, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh this offseason, and they beat the Cowboys last season.
The Green Bay Packers at -170. They have beaten the Cowboys with consistency over the past several years, including back-to-back devastating losses in Dallas (one of which came in the playoffs).
The New Orleans Saints at -130. The Saints won the NFC South last season.
The Atlanta Falcons at +115. The Falcons beat the Cowboys last season, but that game was played with Elliott, Smith or Lee. It's hard to take it very seriously.
The Carolina Panthers at +130. The Panthers and Cowboys will meet on opening day.
The San Francisco 49ers at +135. They went undefeated with Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting quarterback last season.
I have a tough time putting the 49ers ahead of the Cowboys. I’m a believer in Garoppolo as much as the next guy, but he’s still just one guy. Maybe that 40-10 trouncing the Cowboys gave the 49ers last season has something to do with my lack of faith.
NFL Playoff odds by division - Michael Colangelo, MSN.com
Here's the breakdown for the NFC East.
Philadelphia Eagles -260
Dallas Cowboys +145
New York Giants +325
Washington Redskins +375
The Eagles at this low price are a great investment. The Cowboys are bought down because they are a public team. They should be listed at a much higher plus number. The Giants may be good value, but it's unlikely number stays there.
2018 NFL Playoff Odds for every team: Redskins can win NFC East - Will Brinson, CBSSports.com
CBS Sports recommends an NFC East team not named the Eagles as a potential good value bet for making the playoffs, but it's not the Cowboys.
1. Washington Redskins (+350)
When looking for teams who can provide "make the playoffs" value, you want a combination of a high floor, sneaky upside and a winnable division. The Redskins, like the teams before them, check those boxes. And they have balance on both sides of the ball -- the addition of Smith from the Chiefs gives them a higher floor which should benefit them in division battles. But I'm not sure their upside is capped after losing Kirk Cousins either. Smith can do a lot with Jordan Reed, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder. His offensive line literally has to be healthier next season after eating up the majority of the Redskins league-leading adjusted games lost. I want every single share of Derrius Guice in fantasy football this year. You aren't getting him if we play in a league together. The Giants, Cowboys and Eagles could all be good ... but they could all be average too. Washington's defense was looking great five games into last year, particularly against the run, before Jonathan Allen went down. Adding Da'Ron Payne to Ryan Kerrigan gives them strength up front. The secondary needs to gel quickly, but this team can be a division winner in 2018 and the price is excellent.
Which first-round rookie on the Cowboys schedule worries you most? - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys will square off against some of the league's top draft prospects this season. Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, and Vita Vea to name a few. But there is one player I'm particularly not looking forward to the Cowboys facing.
It stands to reason that New York’s Saquon Barkley will be the one that makes the largest impact against the Cowboys this season. He gets two shots against Dallas and was the second overall pick, the Giants are definitely going to work him similarly to how the Cowboys did Zeke two years ago.
Chasing this guy down twice a year is not going to be fun. He made USC look like a Pop Warner team on this play.
Saquon Barkley's run vs USC was magnificent. pic.twitter.com/cDSIHnkuxS— Giants Daily (@NYGDaily) April 27, 2018
Most Challenging QB Cowboys Will Face? - Staff, Dallas Cowboys
The writers over at the Mothership weigh in on which opposing quarterback will be the toughest this upcoming season. The same name keeps coming up...
13 – Who’s the most challenging quarterback on the schedule?
Bryan Broaddus: It’s quite impressive group when you run down through the schedule but the one that always scares me the most is Drew Brees. Brees has always played at an elite level but now he has some serious offensive weapons in Michael Thomas, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. For years, one of the biggest challenges for Sean Payton was to build a team around Brees where they didn’t have to rely on his arm to win every game. Now the Saints are a much more balanced team offensively. Opponents are now forced to defend the run instead of creating coverage and blitz packages to stop Brees. With this new found balance, it has allowed Brees to operate in a system where he can attack defenses with more play action passes which has allowed Thomas to see more single coverage. Brees is throwing the ball far less but he’s making opposing defenses pay with the results.
Man, that’s a lot of glass-half-empty news. My apologies, that’s no way to start our Sunday. How about shot of blue kool-aid to kick start your morning...
Last time the Cowboys faced the AFC South in the regular season, they went 4-0 against them & made the playoffs. You know what else happened that year?— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) July 7, 2018
Their RB set franchise rushing record
They acquired a super athletic LB who wore 55
They signed Martin & Lawrence to contracts pic.twitter.com/0Agc8iYEXm
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
- Inigo Montoya
How far the Cowboys go could come down to what type of production they get from their wide receivers. Last year, Dez Bryant wasn’t up to the task, but can this new crop of players provide enough talent to help the offense roll?
Cowboys might not need true No. 1 WR to make Super Bowl run, but they'll need this ... - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Machota answers a few questions and states the Cowboys can get away without having a number one receiver, however, they will still need something from their receivers.
Q: Do you believe Dallas' offense needs a true No. 1 receiver to make a run at a Super Bowl?
Jon Machota: It depends on your definition of a true No. 1 receiver. Do they need Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins? No. But they do need a receiver or two to emerge as go-to guys in clutch situations. Every Super Bowl team has those guys and they aren't always the biggest names in the game. Dallas has the luxury of having a great offensive line and one of the league's best offensive weapons in Ezekiel Elliott. That takes pressure off the passing game. With that said, if you tell me the Cowboys make the Super Bowl this season, I'd assume some combo of Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, Tavon Austin, Terrance Williams or Michael Gallup had pretty big years.
Felt like that Hurns and Gallup made some nice strides as the OTAs and mini camps took place. Beasley was also in the mix for me as guys that caught my eye at the position. https://t.co/qLg4v5iK48— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) July 7, 2018
Projecting the NFL's Best Position Battles as Training Camp Looms - Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report
Bleacher Report identifies 10 of the top position battles coming up in training camp. The Cowboys make the list as there are still a lot of unknowns from the wide receiver position.
The Dallas Cowboys lack a true No. 1 wide receiver.
"Depending on what offense we're in, a lot of people could be No. 1," Cole Beasley said, per Pro Football Talk's Charean Williams. "It just depends on what you're doing. You spread the ball around. It really doesn't matter. Even with a No. 1, I feel like the balls should be spread anyway."
Someone reliable needs to take charge, though. Dez Bryant may not have been the receiver he once was, but his presence helped dictate coverages. Prescott can't rely on Jason Witten either after the tight end's retirement.
Of course, the scheme will help create space for the receivers to operate. It also falls on the individuals to win one-on-one matchups. Whoever does so on a consistent basis will demand the most targets.
Right now, Allen Hurns is expected to be the offense's primary option. Hurns, who managed 2,669 receiving yards in his first four seasons, has experience playing each of the different receiver roles. He'll be joined by Beasley and Terrance Williams.
Rookies Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown will push the veterans. Gallup, selected by the Cowboys in the third round, finished top-five overall at the FBS level with 100 receptions for 1,413 yards at Colorado State.
A lot of moving parts exist in Dallas' wide receiver corps with few certainties found among the group.
Cowboys’ Most Impactful New Assistant Coach? - DallasCowboys.com Staff
The staff writer roundtable tackles the above question, with surprisingly varying results. Helman likes Kris Richard, Broaddus picks Sanjay Lal, Eatman goes with Paul Aexander, and Draper also casts her vote for Richard. Here's Helman's take:
David Helman: Mark me down as another big-time believer in Kris Richard. That’s not a knock on Sanjay Lal, who I think could do wonders for these young receivers, but Richard’s track record speaks for itself. Obviously Richard can’t take all the credit, but he was part of the coaching staff that helped turn Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas into the Legion of Boom. Here in Dallas, he’s got another crop of young, talented, hungry DBs. He knows how to coach sound technique, he knows how foster competition, and I think he can bring out the best in these guys. It’d be nuts to try to compare this secondary to what Richard had going in Seattle, but it’s certainly reasonable to think he can help them take a big step forward.
Why did Seattle let Kris Richard walk? - Jon Machota, SportsDay
A reader wonders what the Kris Richard hype is all about.
Q: Many articles have been written about the importance of Kris Richards to the Cowboys' defense, but I am not clear why Seattle would end their relationship with him if he was so effective. Why was he terminated in Seattle?
Jon Machota: Sometimes a change is the best thing for all parties. "Just time to make a change," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said at the scouting combine. "That's all. He's a terrific coach. Dallas got a great guy in him." Seattle had the chance to get Ken Norton back and decided having him as DC was best for them. The league is filled with coaches who didn't work out in one spot but had success in another. Richard brings a much more aggressive style to the back end of the Cowboys' defense. It'll be interesting to see how that works considering that hasn't been the gameplan for Dallas in previous seasons. If it leads to a big year for a young secondary, look for Richard to get plenty of defensive coordinator offers from other teams.
More talk that Cowboys could trade for Earl Thomas – Michael Smith, ProFootballTalk
Bryan Broaddus generated national headlines when he said on 105.3 The Fan that he believes there’s still a possibility Thomas could end up in Dallas.
“The Cowboys have to look at their situation at safety and figure out is this going to be good enough? Are we able to compete for a division? To get in the playoffs? Could Earl Thomas be a guy, could he be a difference maker?,” Broaddus said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I feel like that the Earl Thomas situation still is in play. It’s just a matter of where Seattle is going to be. I don’t believe Earl Thomas is going to sit out games for Seattle. I really, really don’t. You’re talking about a guy that makes over $10 million. Players just don’t leave those checks on the field just for principal, for that reason. I think that Seattle is going to have to figure out something. The Cowboys are going to have to figure out something. And maybe they do work something out there.”
Reports came out during the draft that the Cowboys and Seahawks discussed a trade, but that the Cowboys wouldn’t give up the second-round pick the Seahawks were seeking. That still sounds like too steep a price, but perhaps something could be worked out to get Thomas in Dallas.
Dallas can wait on Earl Thomas trade - Kevin Sherington, SportsDay
Sherrington thinks the Cowboys have all the time in the world to sign Thomas.
Will the Cowboys trade for Earl Thomas? If so, when?
Kevin Sherrington: Yes, I think the Cowboys will trade for Earl Thomas. When? Couldn't say. My guess is that the Cowboys are trying to get the Seahawks to accept their price, and they're willing to wait. Might as well, at this point. Thomas will adjust quickly to what the Cowboys are doing. And the Seahawks may need to be convinced that he's really intent on holding out. I don't know why Seattle wouldn't go ahead and make a deal. Better to get something now than nothing after this season. And that's a season where he misses six games, probably.
Cowboys updated 53-man roster projection: How does David Irving's suspension affect defensive line? - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Machota with an updated 53-man roster projection that has the Cowboys going with nine defensive linemen.
Randy Gregory and David Irving make this position group one of the more interesting on the team. If Gregory gets reinstated and is ready to contribute, he's a lock for the 53-man roster. The Cowboys could go with 10 in that scenario. With Irving opening the season on a four-game suspension, Charles Tapper or a player not on the current roster could fill that spot to start the season.
-- DeMarcus Lawrence
-- Tyrone Crawford
-- Taco Charlton
-- Kony Ealy
-- Dorance Armstrong
-- Charles Tapper
-- Maliek Collins
-- Jihad Ward
-- Brian Price
Maliek Collins can start for the Cowboys, but only if he recovers from another foot surgery - Jori Epstein, SportsDay
The Cowboys 23-year-old defensive tackle has had surgery on both feet already in his young career, but he has still yet to ever miss a game. He’s penciled in as the team’s top defensive tackle, starting at the 1-tech spot, that is...if he’s ready.
2018 outlook: Collins fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot in May, requiring yet another foot surgery -- the second on his left foot since season’s end -- that kept him out of offseason activities. Head coach Jason Garrett said Collins’ recovery timeline left him questionable to be ready in time for training camp. Defensive tackle Jihad Ward, whom Dallas traded for draft weekend, will challenge Collins at the one-technique as he returns. The interior lineman spot will need additional help the first four games of 2018 with incumbent David Irving suspended yet again. If Collins can recover as well as he has the past two seasons, he should keep his starting spot on Rod Marinelli’s line.
Collins is quietly a key piece to the Cowboys defensive line.
Nice stunt here from DeMarcus Lawrence and Maliek Collins pic.twitter.com/QCSg9NqNnu— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 11, 2017
Pressure by Number of Pass-Rushers 2017 - Scott Kacsmar, Football Outsiders
Kacsmar shows how the Cowboys had the No. 1 front four in terms of pressure generated last year. Unfortunately, the secondary couldn't capitalize on that.
It is always nice to be able to pressure without blitzing, but the coverage still has to be there for that to work. For example, Dallas had the best pressure rate (35.4 percent) with a four-man rush, but was a mediocre 16th in DVOA after a season that saw none of its defensive backs (save for Byron Jones) chart well in coverage.
Cowboys defense has potential to be one of the better units in the NFL - Connor Livesay, Blogging The Boys
Livesay discusses why the Cowboys defense can take a step forward in 2018.
The Cowboys defense has acquired some serious talent recently, but, there are plenty of questions marks as well. If the core defenders can stay relatively healthy (and out of trouble), expect this defense to pick up where it left off last year, and even take a big step forward. This group is young, hungry, and possesses plenty of talent. With Kris Richard playing a big role on the defensive coaching staff, this defense could be one of the best Cowboys Nation has seen in some time. That would be a breath of fresh air after years of disappointment on the defensive side of the ball.