Dallas Cowboys tabbed as Super Bowl contenders by ESPN’s FPI

The Vince Lombardi Trophy (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The Vince Lombardi Trophy (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

Could the yearly belief that the Dallas Cowboys are Super Bowl-bound finally have legs to stand on following an offseason full of so many changes?

As fans of the Dallas Cowboys, it’s easy to get caught in the yearly hype bubble. Regardless of what transpired the season before, this upcoming year is always the one where America’s Team finally makes it back to the Super Bowl.

I mean, how could they not? Look at all the positive offseason changes the team made. And the Cowboys made plenty of them this year. From a new head coach in Mike McCarthy, investing in the defensive tackle position like never before, to the unlikely windfall of landing Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the draft.

It’s honestly the nature of our fandom. Especially when you have as many detractors as America’s Team seems to have. It’s understandable why fans band together in their championship beliefs and jump on the Super Bowl-hype train year after year after year.

But this season, more than most, there’s a reason for hope. The Cowboys are clearly a talented team, with several current and former Pro Bowlers on nearly every level of their roster.

After all, Dallas did lead the NFL in offensive yards (6,904) last season under first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Their passing offense was ranked second, while the running game wasn’t far beyond landing fifth in the league.

And despite the flurry of coaching changes installed by McCarthy this offseason, including new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coach John Fassel, Kellen Moore will remain in charge of that high-powered offense for a second-straight year.

The Dallas Cowboys – Super Bowl contenders according to analytic projections

But beyond the big names and various offseason changes, analytics has finally given fans of America’s Team a reason to believe their yearly Super Bowl aspirations aren’t misplaced for the upcoming season.

According to ESPN’s recent NFL Football Power Index (FPI) for 2020, the Cowboys received a 2.9 FPI grade, ranking them fifth behind the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, and New Orleans Saints.

Seth Walder of ESPN Analytics explained FPI as a prediction model for the NFL based on several factors from the team’s 2019 performance, returning starters, coaching staff changes, and more. Here’s what Walder wrote about the Cowboys being top-five Super Bowl favorites for 2020 based on 20,000 FPI season simulations.

"” … there’s every reason to be bullish on the Dallas offense. And it’s a big reason to be bullish on the Cowboys overall. McCarthy might bring a pass-heavier approach, and while it is not represented in the model, it supports the notion even more. Dallas has a 5% chance to win the Super Bowl and a 48% chance to win the NFC East.”"

Now, a five percent chance to bring a Lombardi Trophy back to Dallas may not seem like much. But the prediction model gave last season’s Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs, a 21 percent chance of having a repeat performance. That makes Kansas City the second-largest preseason favorite in five years.

Next. The top 10 Cowboys to never win a Super Bowl. dark

This offseason, more than most, there are several unanswered questions about this year’s version of the Dallas Cowboys. And we are still months away from seeing meaningful games being played. But that hasn’t stopped the Super Bowl-hype train from running rampant in the minds of Cowboy fans everywhere. Now, it appears the analytic experts have purchase tickets to ride as well. All aboard!