Written by theMBIIIeffect
I have to give credit to SI’s Peter King for coming up with this great concept for an article. I disagree with him rating us as the 10th-best team in the NFL–picking us after the Dolphins and the Panthers is bordering on lunacy–but I have to give him credit on this idea of writing about things he thinks he thinks about the NFL.
I’ll be focusing on the Cowboys, of course.
1. The Cowboys have to have one of the most difficult schedules in the NFL: The Cowboys get the new-look Redskins the first week of the season and won’t have any tape on Donovan McNabb. The Redskins were awful last year but it’s the NFL and upsets happen. After that it gets worse: at Houston in the third week won’t be a walk in the park, an early bye week followed by 13 more games including at Minnesota, at Green Bay, home against New Orleans then away to Arizona and Philly to finish the year.
2. If the Cowboys make it to the playoffs, they’ll make a run: This is the upside to playing this hard a schedule. The Cowboys will probably play more playoff teams during the year than teams that will have their golf clubs out after week 17. They’re going to be playing playoff football all year and they’ll be better for it.
3. Dez Bryant will start one game before week 8: The guy is too good to keep off the field. Cornerback Mike Jenkins said that Bryant has the potential to be the best wide receiver on the team. Roy Williams certainly has to see Bryant in his rearview mirror and all the comments he’s making about the work he’s putting in this summer suggests that he knows he’ll have to perform to keep his job.
4. The Cowboys won’t sign another safety: Any dreamers thinking that the Cowboys will work out some kind of trade for O.J. Atogwe ought to wake up now. It’s not going to happen. That’s ok, though, because Alan Ball and Mike Hamlin will be able to handle one of the safety spots. If it were up to me, I’d have Gerald Sensabaugh at free safety and let Hamlin play strong safety. I think Sensabaugh has better range and Hamlin is a better tackler (not in a Roy Williams way–the guy can cover pretty well).
5. The Cowboys will create more turnovers than they did last year: The Cowboys defense was one of the best defenses in the league last year if you don’t use turnovers to judge defenses–so the Cowboys just had a pretty good defense last year. Only 21 turnovers in 16 games last year won’t cut it, especially with DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer rushing off the edges.
6. Anthony Spencer will have 10 sacks this year: This guy is figuring out the NFL and he had six sacks last year. He’s got 10.5 for his career and he’ll nearly double that total this year as he’s getting better and better.
7. The Rams will come out ahead in the Bobby Carpenter-Alex Barron trade: Barron has to beat out Doug Free or Marc Columbo or hope for one of them to get hurt in order to see the field–I’m not buying that there’s really an open competition for the left tackle spot. Carpenter will get to start over in a defensive scheme he’s more comfortable with. Am I saying it was a bad trade for us? No. We weren’t going to be using Carpenter after taking Sean Lee in this year’s draft and we needed the depth at offensive tackle. It was a smart move for both parties, but the Rams will see an immediate impact from Carpenter.
8. Mike Jenkins will become one of the elite cornerbacks in the NFL this year: Jenkins is a big, physical corner that can keep up with quick receivers while still being able to fight with larger receivers. If he can put up some better stats and intercept a few more passes, he’ll be on the Pro Bowl roster from the start and will be considered within the top six or seven corners in the game.
9. Tony Romo will throw at least five more interceptions but ten more touchdowns than last year: Adding Bryant and having an other year with Martellus Bennett will surely help in the red zone. Bryant isn’t the biggest or fastest receiver, but he fights for jump balls in the end zone. He also has better hands than most of the other Cowboys receivers–I’m not sure he has better hands than Miles Austin but I think he does. I also think Romo will be behind in a few games this year and he’ll probably force a few, but that’s ok. These things happen.
10. The Cowboys won’t be playing in this year’s Super Bowl: I don’t think they’re quite there yet. They’re a strong team and have to be considered amongst the best in the NFC. They just aren’t Super Bowl winners yet I don’t think. The pressure is on the Cowboys this year because the Super Bowl is being played in Arlington. I think they need one more year. I’d love to be wrong here, but that’s what I think.
Tags: Alan Ball Alex Barron Anthony Spencer Bobby Carpenter DeMarcus Ware Dez Bryant Donovan McNabb Doug Free Gerald Sensabaugh Marc Columbo Martellus Bennett Mike Hamlin Mike Jenkins Miles Austin O.J. Atogwe Peter King Roy Williams Sean Lee Tony Romo