Five Reasons Why The Cowboys Will Make The Playoffs

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December 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith (77) lines up against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

3. The offensive line will improve

The offensive line starts and ends with former first round pick Tyron Smith. Smith will be heading into his third year and should be a beast. Look for a possible Pro-Bowl selection if Dallas’ running game finally gets on track.

2012 free agency pick-ups guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings should have a better handle on the offense in their second season on the team. And center Phil Costa should also return from a partially dislocated ankle that ended his season early last year to help add some much needed stability to the O-line.

The biggest question mark is right tackle Doug Free. The Cowboys were ranked 30th in the NFL in penalties with 117 last season. And with 13 of those penalties, Free is tied for the most by any individual player in the entire NFL in 2012. Many fans expect the former fourth round pick in 2007 to be released this off-season despite that he is currently in the second year of a four year, $32 million contract. Free is scheduled to make $7 million in 2013.

The Cowboys are expected to upgrade their O-line during the upcoming draft. Names like North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, Alabama guard Chance Warmack, Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan and Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher are possible first round selections.

Free agent possibilities include: OT – Ryan Clady (DEN), OT – Andre Smith (CIN), OT – Branden Albert (KC), OT- Jake Long (MIA), OT – Sebastian Vollmer (NE), OG – Andy Levitre (BUF), and OG – Brandon Moore (NYJ).

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray Doug Free Jason Garrett Sean Lee

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