Jacob Harris | May 12th, 2020
Last season ended in a whirlwind of the inability to finish games for the Dallas Cowboys. Jason Garrett was fired seemingly five years too late. Dak Prescott‘s contract has and still hangs in the balance as Jerry Jones and his crew slapped a franchise tag on their starting quarterback as they continue to negotiate a potential long-term deal. So far this offseason, they have lost key defensive pieces in Byron Jones and Jeff Heath, as well as future Hall of Famers Jason Witten and Travis Frederick. A lot don’t know what to expect with this year’s team, so here are my five bold predictions for this season.
Make sure to check out all of our other team bold predictions here.
Dak Prescott will not start the season on the field
This one seems like writing on the wall for me. Prescott’s contract has been the main talking point about the team during this entire offseason, even overshadowing the new coach and the new draft picks at times. I feel as though this situation is going to get the better of Jones’ ego and Dak’s desire for his paycheck. This situation will ultimately lead to a holdout, and it will be a long, lengthy holdout that last into at least the first week of the season. Those who think the Andy Dalton signing was simply about Dalton doesn’t or won’t see the full picture going on here.
The defense will take a step forward this season
This one is going to be entirely unpopular with most of you that follow the team and NFL in general. With all that the Cowboys lost on defense in free agency, it would appear as though the team will take a step back on defense this season. I am going to argue the opposite. The team re-anchored the defensive line with the signings of Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy to go along with an elite run-stopper in Antwaun Woods. The Cowboys also drafted a potential starter in the fifth round with Bradlee Anae. The linebacking corp is arguably one of the best in the league already with Leighton Vander Esch coming off of a neck injury along with Pro Bowler Jaylon Smith and veteran Sean Lee backing them up.
The secondary is another story and how this unit plays will sway my prediction one way or another. They did lose key players in Jones and Heath, but I think they made up for it in the draft by stealing Trevon Diggs and picking up quality corner Daryl Worley in free agency. The secondary will need a young player or two to step up their game but this unit is far from awful.
Ezekiel Elliott will have the lowest carry total of his career but still rush for over 1,000 yards
Zeke has been one of the most enigmatic running backs in the league since his entrance in 2016. What I think will happen this season is the offense will be upgraded to give Zeke what he needs to succeed, room to run. There will no doubt be more of a spread concept to the Cowboy’s offense this season with a new coach and new offensive concepts. The offense took a nice step forward last season under first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, but with a new offense designed to spread things out, Elliot will get more room to run.
However, he will have the lowest carry total of his career, especially if Mike McCarthy sticks with what he showed in Green Bay. To have the lowest carry total of his career, Zeke would have to average no more than 15 carries a game, 15! I think 15 would carry would be a good number for Zeke not only to give his career a little more longevity but to allow the Cowboys to spread to rock to all of their weapons.
Weeks 11-15 will determine whether the Cowboys make the playoffs or not
The playoffs are something the Cowboys have had a love-hate relationship with over the last few seasons. Mostly, the end of the season is when the team either makes a playoff push or shrinks to missing the end-of-season tournament entirely. This season will be no different. This schedule is interesting as most of their harder games are grouped. For example, weeks 1-3 have two hard road games against potential playoff teams. The weeks right after their bye week will ultimately determine whether or not the team will make the playoffs with games against three potential playoff teams. If the Cowboys can come out of this stretch with a winning record, they can win at least one of their final two games to earn a playoff spot.
The Cowboys will not make the playoffs
This team has some gaping flaws but so do the other three teams in the division. The Philadelphia Eagles did get better this offseason and the Cowboys will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by not getting as much offseason work with their new coaching staff. This combined with a potential holdout by the team’s most important player will make for a slow start by the team. As I said before, the team’s most crucial stretch will be between weeks 11 and 15. I predict the Cowboys will come out of that stretch with a 2-3 record and will ultimately miss the postseason, finishing with an 8-8 record.
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