After missing the playoffs in 2017, the Dallas Cowboys failed to build on a 12-win season the year prior. To compile the disappointment, the team saw their arch rival Philadelphia Eagles win their first Super Bowl. Now, both teams are weeks away from beginning the 2018 NFL season. Despite the championship, the Cowboys still can compete with the Eagles. Here’s why Dallas can rebound and knock the Eagles off their perch:
Dak Returning to Form:
If you watched just the first six weeks of the NFL last season, Dak Prescott would be in the running for MVP. Through those first six games, Prescott scored 17 total touchdowns, including 3 rushing scores.
However, Prescott faltered through the remaining 10 games. Prescott finished the remaining ten contests with 11 (3 rushing) total touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Dak struggled to move the ball downfield, due in part to a lack of explosive plays from the receiving core, injuries to the offensive line, and the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott. While he struggled at times with his accuracy, having a healthy o-line and hungry Zeke will help take the pressure off of Prescott. In short, Prescott can return to form as the efficient playmaker he is at quarterback.
Dallas Cowboys Defense Shouldering the Load:
The Tony Romo era of the Dallas Cowboys saw the offense shoulder the load. With a leaky defense, Romo was forced into shootouts, and comeback bids. Through two seasons of the Dak Prescott era, the team has found success on the ground. Now, the team is primed to have a breakout year on defense.
Young playmakers on the defensive line (Tank Lawrence, David Irving, Maliek Collins, etc.) can get pressure on the quarterback. Sean Lee can change the game at linebacker, and will be tutoring top draft picks Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. Despite losing Anthony Hitchens to free agency, the team still has depth.
The secondary is lined with playmakers ready to break out. With Byron Jones shifting to corner, new defensive assistant Kris Richard has talented depth alongside Chido Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. At safety, the team will look for Jeff Heath (the GOAT) and Xavier Woods to make an impact in full-time roles.
With the team leading more often behind the run game, the defense will be freed to play aggressive and fast. More pressure on the opposing offense will lead to mistakes, giving the Cowboys more scoring opportunities. With improved play from Dak Prescott, there is no reason why Dallas can’t re-gain control of the division crown in 2018.
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