I’m going to work under the assumption that the Cowboys and Dak Prescott get everything worked out in contract negotiations. In that case, anything less than a deep playoff run should be looked at as a disappointment. Dallas’ nucleus of Amari Cooper, Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott should be plenty. In reality, it was a year ago. The Cowboys led the NFL with 431.5 yards per game and scored the sixth-most points (434, 27.2 per game).
Dallas was solid on defense too, only allowing the 11th-most points per game (20.1, 321 total). Yet Dallas finished 8-8 and missed the postseason entirely. In games decided by nine points or fewer, Dallas went 0-6. After a 3-0 start, Dallas finished 5-8.
This will be the team’s first season without Jason Garrett on the coaching staff since 2006. His contract was not renewed after expiring in mid-January.
William Hill lists Dallas’s over/under at 9.5 wins with -145 juice on the over and +125 odds on the under.
Dallas has two 10-plus win seasons in the last four years. They seem to alternate between good and bad seasons. Considering how many weapons they have on offense, it’s hard to imagine a poor season here. The NFC East hasn’t been all that competitive as of late, with the Philadelphia Eagles being the only team here that should fight for a playoff spot. The defense should be above average again with studs like DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch being joined by Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe in the defensive front.
That -145 juice on the over is calling out to me. I don’t love taking the over, but I really like Dallas’ firepower on offense now that CeeDee Lamb is on the roster. Can he help the Cowboys be 2020’s No. 1 offense? From CowboyMaven’s Mike Fisher:
“Privately, owner Jerry Jones has in recent years bemoaned his offense’s inability to match the scoring production of teams like the Rams and Chiefs - and last year specifically, to mimic some of what MVP QB Lamar Jackson did in Baltimore.
"McCarthy and staff are in the process of assembling a “best-of” blueprint: The marrying of McCarthy’s West Coast offense from Green Bay, the existing Dallas terminology, the bullishness of Ezekiel Elliott and the running game and the versatility of QB Dak Prescott.”
Stats to Know
- Dak Prescott led the NFL in completions over 40 yards (16), which came after delivering 25 passes over 40 yards over his previous 48 games. He also set a career-high in passes over 20 yards (68 – 39 was his previous best).
- Ezekiel Elliott only had four runs over 20 yards, which feel short of his success over his first three seasons (30 runs over 20 yards over 40 games).
- The Cowboys’ WRs gained the second-most receiving yards (3,475) in the league with both Amari Cooper (79/1189/8) and Michael Gallop (66/1107/6) gaining over 1,000 yards. Cooper was a much better player at home (52/869/6) than away (27/320/3).
- Dallas allowed only 46.2 percent of their completions to the WR position (171/2155/12 on 281 targets).
- The Cowboys were one of three teams in the NFL to give over 1,000 yards receiving to the TE position (104/1016/6), but they gained only 9.77 yards per catch.