Following an epic 13-3 regular season record in 2016, will the Dallas Cowboys be the first repeat NFC East divisional champions since 2004?
Finishing the regular season with a 13-3 win/loss record in 2016, the Dallas Cowboys were not only the best NFL team in their division, but of their entire conference. Their regular season success earned them a bye in the first round of the playoffs and home field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately, their postseason run came to an abrupt end in the divisional round at the hand of the Green Bay Packers. Still, the Cowboys had a bounce back season last year after posting a horrendous 4-12 record the season prior.
With a young nucleus in place, the Cowboys are hoping to duplicate their regular season success from 2016. But with a first place schedule ahead of them, and numerous losses due to free agency, Dallas will face an uphill battle in order to match their previous accomplishments.
Yet, one NFL insider believes the Cowboys will do just that.
"“Dallas is a slight favorite in a division that seems up for grabs going into 2017,” wrote Tadd Haislop on the SportingNews.com. “But the NFC East is anything but predictable. The last time it saw a repeat winner was 2004, when Philadelphia won its fourth consecutive division title.”"
Haislop gives the Cowboys the slight edge in the division, predicting them to win 9.5 games in 2017. They were followed by the New York Giants (9), Philadelphia Eagles (8) and the Washington Redskins (7.5) in his divisional win/loss record ranking.
The Cowboys biggest nemesis with likely be the Giants. New York was the only team to really beat Dallas last season. And they did so twice…but only by a combined four total points.
The only other defeat the Cowboys suffered in 2016 was against the Eagles in Week 17. But already playoff bound, Dallas essentially gave away that contest by not playing a majority of their starters.
With every NFC East team adding free agent talent and a new rookie class to their rosters, the division should be hotly contested this season. But until proven otherwise, the Dallas Cowboys should be the favorite to repeat…regardless of what history tells us.