It’s been 15 years since the Dallas Cowboys have made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. The last time Dallas achieved this feat, during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, they went 9-7 in 2006, losing in the Wild Card Round, and 13-3 in 2007, earning a first-round bye and losing in the Divisional Round.
After winning 12 games and securing the NFC East crown for the first time since 2018 last year, the Cowboys will look to break the 15-year streak and head to the postseason for the second consecutive season in 2022.
Even though they had a relatively quiet offseason, the Cowboys enter the season as the favorite to repeat as NFC East champs, coming in at +135 to win the division, via DraftKings. Despite this, at least one outlet believes the Cowboys will be unable to replicate their 2021 success and miss the playoffs for the third time in four years.
Here’s what Moton had to say about why he believes Dallas won’t be heading to the postseason again.
Last year, the Cowboys went 6-0 within the NFC East, but their rivals have stocked up on talent and made significant changes this offseason. The Washington Commanders upgraded at quarterback, acquiring Carson Wentz to take over for Taylor Heinicke. They may also have a viable No. 2 wide receiver in rookie first-rounder Jahan Dotson.
The Philadelphia Eagles made a few splashy moves, acquiring Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans, signing edge-rusher Haason Reddick—who has double-digit sacks in consecutive terms—and selecting defensive tackle Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean to bolster the front seven.
Aside from a tougher division schedule, Dallas has question marks at key positions.
The Cowboys pass rush may regress without Randy Gregory, who signed with the Denver Broncos. DeMarcus Lawrence must rebound from an injury-riddled 2021 campaign. Since his Pro Bowl 2018 term, he’s logged fewer than seven sacks and 30 pressures each year. How will quarterback Dak Prescott adjust without wide receiver Amari Cooper, who the team traded to the Cleveland Browns? Who will fill the void behind CeeDee Lamb as the No. 2 wideout while Michael Gallup recovers from a torn ACL?
Most importantly, the Cowboys offensive line may not be as dominant compared to units from recent years. They released right tackle La’el Collins. Rookie first-rounder Tyler Smith, who played tackle at Tulsa, may start at left guard. Left tackle Tyron Smith has missed 20 games over the last two years.
Moton didn’t just predict Dallas to miss the playoffs, he also predicted the Washington Commanders, who went 7-10 last season, to bounce back in a big way and win the NFC East.
Terry McLaurin has led the Commanders in receiving yards for each of his three years in the league. The offense may feature another reliable wideout in rookie first-rounder Jahan Dotson, who generated a lot of buzz during the spring as he developed an immediate rapport with Wentz. Washington also made some additions to upgrade the ground attack, signing guards Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner. Antonio Gibson and rookie third-rounder Brian Robinson could balance the offense with big gains on the ground.
Led by a strong defensive line with Chase Young, who’s recovering from a torn ACL, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat, the Commanders’ defensive unit can rediscover its stingy form from the 2020 campaign, ranking top-five in points and yards allowed again.
The Commanders could finish No. 1 in a division that’s been in flux at the top for nearly two decades.
Only time will tell if Moton’s predictions will come to fruition, but if they do and the Cowboys miss the playoffs there will likely be significant changes in Dallas.