Dallas Cowboys: Two spoiler alerts for 2015
By Jason Crouch
Now that the Dallas Cowboys have played five games and amassed a somewhat paltry record of 2-3, it would be easy for fans to lose enthusiasm. However, there are plenty of reasons to remain hopeful as we move toward the middle and later parts of the season.
I would like to take a minute to reveal two predictions that you can hang your hat on going forward.
Spoiler #1: The Cowboys defense will be in the top ten this year
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Loaded with talent on the defensive line and in their linebacker corps, the Cowboys will slip into the top ten in the league for the first time since 2010.
In his first real game in a Cowboys uniform 11 days ago, defensive end Greg Hardy sacked New England Patriots quarterback twice, and the Dallas D ended up with five sacks in the first half. They also managed to force the first punt for New England in 25 drives. In fact, the Patriots punter was on the field four times that day.
This next Sunday, the Cowboys will have their strongest defense of the year, with every eligible player available for the very first time. Defensive end Randy Gregory is a valuable pass rusher, and he was injured in the first regular season game. I am excited to see what he and Hardy can do to opposing quarterbacks once they are finally on the field together.
David Helman of DallasCowboys.com shared this quote from Hardy about how he plans to slow down New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning on Sunday:
"“Hit him in the mouth,” he said, “The best thing for any team is to make the quarterback feel pain,” he said. “We’ve got to be respectful of the rules of the game, and honestly you don’t want to hurt anybody. But to make him feel you is to bring his eyes down. You don’t want a good quarterback like Eli Manning looking down the field – ever. Ever ever ever.”"
Needless to say, this is the type of attitude that can often be contagious and helpful. Look for the Cowboys to become a dominant force defensively, and soon.
I would not be at all surprised if they finish in the top five in the league for sacks, possibly even in the top three.
Spoiler #2: The Cowboys will finish at 10-6 and win the NFC East
Although this seems like a tough proposition with their star quarterback and wide receiver out with injuries, I foresee that Dallas will defeat three of their next four opponents. Watching the Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles this past week, I was struck by the fact that both teams looked atrocious. Both are also divisional rivals for Dallas.
With a combined seven turnovers (could have easily been more with fumbles that weren’t lost), 21 penalties, and two quarterbacks who looked utterly lost, I was thrilled to realize that the Cowboys have a very solid chance to sweep both teams.
Quarterback Tony Romo will be back for the final seven games. With a solid defense, every single game is winnable, but even if he wins five or six, the Cowboys will win the division and host the first playoff game.
Starting late next month, no team will want to face Dallas for the rest of this year.
The bottom line is that the Cowboys have one of the best rosters in the NFC, or perhaps in the entire league. There is no opponent that is unbeatable for them if they are healthy and motivated. This team will be a contender this year. Book it.
I welcome your input below in the comments.