One longtime NFL writer pegs the Dallas Cowboys as favorites to win the NFC East.
Last season, the Dallas Cowboys were one victory away from repeating as NFC East champions. That pivotal game was a Week 16 matchup against their divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Both the Cowboys and the Eagles possessed a 7-7 record going into the determining contest, which was being played in Philly. Unfortunately, the high-octane offense for Dallas sputtered in the game and ending up scoring a mere nine points.
With the Cowboys losing the matchup 17-9, Philadelphia would end up winning the division with a 9-7 season-ending record. Dallas would finish the season with an 8-8 record without a playoff berth and would part ways with head coach Jason Garrett soon after.
With the New York Giants (4-12) and the Washington Redskins (3-13) both selected in the top-four of April’s NFL draft, the NFC East figures to once again be a two-horse race for the divisional crown. But which team will come out on top following another offseason full of changes?
Dallas Cowboys pegged as the team to beat despite defensive question marks
Here’s what longtime NFL writer Peter King wrote about the Cowboys after ranking them the ninth-best team in the league in his recent power rankings.
"“Dak Prescott certainly can win his share of 33-30 games; now, for the Cowboys to beat Philadelphia for the NFC East crown, he’ll have to. I think the Cowboys are the team to beat in the division, but one of the toughest November/December slates in football (Eagles twice, Steelers and Niners at home, Ravens and Vikings away) will make it very difficult.”"
King would go on the rank the Philadelphia Eagles 15th, the New York Giants 30th, and the Washington Redskins 31st, in his NFL power rankings. So it’s easy to see why the Cowboys, who fall in the top ten, would be the favorite to win in a relatively weak division.
The Cowboys seemed to double-down on their offense this offseason. They hired the offensive-minded Mike McCarthy as their new head coach and retained second-year wunderkind offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Dallas also used their first-round pick on Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.
The biggest question marks surrounding America’s Team (outside of the longterm contract status of quarterback Dak Prescott) are mostly defensive. The Cowboys lost their sack leader from last season, defensive end Robert Quinn, via free agency. In his place, Dallas signed former All-Pro Aldon Smith, who has been out of football for several years.
The Cowboys lost Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones to free agency as well. The Cowboys used their second-round selection in this year’s draft on Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs. They also have several veteran corners like Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown all vying to earn starting roles under a new defensive coaching staff headed by Mike Nolan.
Although the Dallas Cowboys figure to once again field one of the top offenses in the NFL in 2020, there’s uncertainty whether the defense has been upgraded as most of the significant offseason changes have come to the coaching staff rather than the roster.