Welcome to “This Is Totally Your Year,” our overly optimistic preview of the 2014-15 NFL season for all 32 teams. We’ve broken down why every team — yes, even your team (and yes, even your team, Rams fans) — will win it all this year. We’ll also give some reasons for pessimism and even estimate an actual season prediction. Next up: The Dallas Cowboys.
If the title (and subtitle) didn’t give it away, this is an overly optimistic forecast for the 2014 NFL season. Individually, we’re expecting each team to do its absolute best, while we know that things can’t possibly turn out that way, collectively, because some teams have to finish 6-10. Or worse.
We’ll spare you the flowery analysis of the 2014 Cowboys, because we all know what the hell is going on down there. Borderline elite quarterback coming off a back injury (potentially bad sign), solid running back coming off a Pro Bowl year (good sign), an elite tight end who hasn’t missed a game in over a decade (great sign) , and an elite wide receiver in the midst of a Hall of Fame career (best sign).
Wait, why is everyone so down on the Cowboys again? On paper they seem poised for a solid seasons and contention for a Wild Card spot — especially in that shitty division where defense hasn’t been played since 2011.
YOUR DEFENSE CAN SUCK. IT’S OK. RELAX. BREATHE.
The 2013 Dallas Cowboys finished dead last in total yards allowed. Dead last. 32nd. The worst. This season, things don’t look much better as they’ve lost their three best defensive playmakers to injury, suspension, and free agency — as well as a confusing salary cap restructuring move that resulted in DeMarcus Ware on the Broncos. Sounds terrible right? Well, that’s because it is.
Sean Lee, Jason Hatcher, and Orlando Scandrick all are impact players, and only one of them will be seeing the field in Big D this season — albeit in Week 5 after his MDMA punishment ends.
Here’s the spin (ready?)…
A big reason why the Cowboys had such horrific defensive numbers last year (and similarly with the Bears), was because their offense threatens every team they play, so opponents press for four quarters. We’re not saying that the Cowboys have a good or mediocre defense — it’s bad. What we’re saying is that, under normal circumstances, this defense would give up 21 points in the first half, get run on way more, and games would end early.
Take a look at the New York Giants, for example. The eye test would tell you that the 2013 Giants defense was absolutely dreadful. The thing is, the numbers didn’t look as startling as the Cowboys franchise record 6445 yards allowed per game. New York finished middle to middle-top of the pack in yards allowed, both through the air and on the ground, due in large part to the fact that they scored, on average, the fifth least points per game 18.4.
Conversely, the Cowboys scored the fifth best ppg average at 27.4. The conclusion this has lead everyone to is that Jason Garrett’s team is constantly playing catch-up to compensate for their inability to stop anyone. But the opposite is true. The Cowboys offense is so good that it puts added pressure on their defense because their opponents are the ones playing catch-up.
That’s a good sign. Fuck their bad defense — if you can throw, catch, and run the ball in the NFL in 2014, you’ll be alright.
THEIR SCHEDULE HAS AT LEAST 8 VERY WINNABLE GAMES:
The Titans, Rams, Texans, Giants (twice), Redskins (twice), and Jaguars are all mediocre to bad teams, currently rebuilding or in denial that they should be. The Cowboys can easily beat all these teams by 10+ points, seeing as they’re all offensively challenged and cannot play catch-up with Romo and company.
Then there’s the Bears game in Week 13.
Both teams have prolific offenses. Both can’t seem to make stops on defense. We’ll call this one a toss up.
Actual Prediction: 9-7. Don’t make the playoffs. 2015 becomes a financial nightmare for Jerry Jones as he’ll have 20-something players making up 85% of the estimated cap.