The Dallas Cowboys are beginning a new reality this week, one without Dak Prescott. It has been a long time since the team confronted a regular season football game without their preferred starter, and the last time it was their now-offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, that lined up under center.
Interestingly enough, it was Kellen Moore’s Boise State team that topped Andy Dalton’s TCU squad in the Fiesta Bowl long ago, but all of that is a distant memory. In the here and now, the two of them are charged with working together to somehow salvage this Cowboys season. Down two tackles, a tight end, and a whole bunch more is going to make things rather complicated in this respect.
At some point this week we are all going to have to reach the point where our mentalities shift from being upset about what happened to Dak Prescott to trying to figure out how possible this all really is for Dalton. The Cowboys signed the Red Rifle specifically for a smash-glass-in-case-of-emergency situation such as this and it’s time to see just how solid these coaches really are.
What record will the Andy Dalton-led Dallas Cowboys finish with this season?
There are 11 games left on the year for the Cowboys and they currently have a first-place position in the NFC East. Five of their remaining games are within the division and three others are against teams that Dalton knows well in the AFC North.
Now it should be mentioned that the last time Dalton faced the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers he lost (the other remaining AFC North team that Dallas plays this season is his former one, the Cincinnati Bengals). It should also be said that Dalton was part of an organization that earned the first overall pick in the most recent draft, and he is hardly absolved of responsibility in that matter.
Which games are we completely certain that the Cowboys will lose? This writer’s money would be on the two AFC North teams that Dalton lost to most recently in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and I’d also be willing to put Arizona and Minnesota in that pile. Not to be a prisoner of the moment in what we saw around the NFL in Week 5, but San Francisco hardly looks supremely intimidating. That can clearly change as this is the National Football League.
Let’s stick with those four, though. That puts this team at seven losses at minimum. Being optimistic and somewhat fair, it isn’t a massive stretch to assume that Dallas will sweep Washington and win their rematch with the New York Giants. We have now gotten to five wins.
We are now left with four games that could go either way based on a variety of factors that include who the Cowboys have been so far this season, what they could become with Dalton, and how these particular teams have played so far this season themselves: Philadelphia Eagles (2), Cincinnati Bengals, and San Francisco 49ers.
The theme here is optimism so let’s say that the Cowboys split their series with the Eagles and also win one of the remaining two. We are talking about a 7-9 record here which, as sad as it is, might actually win the NFC East.
Again this is football and anything can happen so it is possible that any one of these assumptions can break the opposite way that we outlined. The point to take away here is that the season is far from over for the Cowboys given the ineptitude of their division.
What do you think this team’s final record is?
How will the Cowboys finish this season?
This poll is closed
5-11 or worse
6-10 or 7-9
8-8 or better