Dallas Cowboys preview 2023: Over or under 10 wins? Chances to claim NFC East title?

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs drills before an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

It’s NFL team preview time, and today we’re looking at the Dallas Cowboys. Each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from July 25 through Sept. 8, we will take an in-depth look at each team in the NFL with a 7- to 10-minute video going through impactful additions and departures, last year’s rankings and strength of schedule in 2023.

Home Field Sports analyst Jim Derry will then make a prediction on the team’s record this season and where they will finish in their respective division, along with the over/under win total, as posted at Caesars Sportsbook.

These stories are a brief summary of the accompanied preview videos – powered by the Dattitude Podcast (which will review each division every Friday until the season begins). The schedule for when each team will run is listed below with a link to each story and video that already has run.

DALLAS COWBOYS

Coach: Mike McCarthy (4th season)

2022 record: 12-5, 2nd in NFC East; defeated Tampa Bay, 31-14, in wild-card round; lost to San Francisco, 19-12, in divisional round.

Last season in a nutshell: At times, they showed why some people continue to think they’re the best team in the league. At other times, they showed why they are so disappointing and find new ways to underachieve.

Once again, quarterback Dak Prescott missed significant playing time with an injury – this time five games early in the season (although Dallas went 4-1 with Cooper Rush taking his place). When he returned, the Cowboys went on a roll, winning six out of seven games, including three by more than 20 points.

But a loss at Jacksonville in Week 14 sort of changed the mojo for this team. It was a game they led 27-10 late in the third quarter. They allowed Trevor Lawrence to work some magic, as the Jags tied it as time expired in regulation and later won it on a Pick 6 by Rayshawn Jenkins.

They defeated a Jalen Hurts-less Philadelphia team the following week (although they allowed 34 points to Gardner Minshew), but they couldn’t catch up to the Eagles in the standings.

The playoffs went a similar way. They opened by ending Tom Brady’s career in the wild-card round, but couldn’t get much going against San Francisco, despite limiting Brock Purdy and the 49ers’ passing game to 199 yards.

Can they find a way to be more consistent in 2023? If so, they might not only surpass Philadelphia in the NFC East but could be the team to beat in the conference.

2023 bye week: 7

2023 Draft: 1 (26th overall) DT Mazi Smith, Michigan; 2 (58) TE Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan; 3 (90) LB DeMarvion Overshown, Texas; 4 (129) DE Viliami Fehoko, San Jose State; 6 (178) CB Eric Scott, Southern Miss; 6 (212) RB Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State; 7 (244) WR Jalen Brooks, South Carolina.

Free-agent signings: LS Trent Sieg (from Las Vegas), 1 year, $1.233M; T Chuma Edoga (from Atlanta), 1 year, $1.233M; RB Ronald Jones (from Kansas City), 1 year, $1.233M; DE Ben Banogu (from Indianapolis), 1 year, $1.08M.

What needs to go right: First off, the offensive line, which has been a major strength of this team in most of the seasons it has been successful, shows signs of having issues ahead.

PFF has the Cowboys ranked as the No. 6 unit in the NFL, which is wonderful. They list right guard Zack Martin as the best player on that line, although he has been holding out.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Less than an hour after this video was made and set to publish, Martin reportedly agreed to end his contract dispute.

Then, on the other side, left tackle Tyron Smith is going to be 32 and seemed to take a step backward, while left guard Tyler Smith is a bit inexperienced (although versatile and has played tackle).

Here’s the thing, though: If this line even performs slightly below that No. 6 ranking and is on the better side of average, this team has plenty of weapons on offense. With Coach Mike McCarthy now calling the plays, this could be a boost, especially for Dak Prescott.

If Tony Pollard can remain healthy in the backfield with help from Malik Davis (fantasy football players might want to handcuff Pollard here) and rookie Deuce Vaughn, don’t be surprised if Dallas improves on its No. 9 rushing rank from last season. Meanwhile, CeeDee Lamb clearly is a top-10 wideout, and he is joined by Brandin Cooks, who comes over from Houston.

Although they didn’t sign many free agents from elsewhere, they did lock up a few of their own key players, including safety Donovan Wilson, who inked a 3-year, $21 million deal. Also, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch signed a 2-year deal worth $8 million.

What it comes down to for the Cowboys is whether they can find a way to hang with the Eagles and stay close enough to potentially take the lead in the division by their second meeting at home on a Sunday night in Week 14.

Key moments in video:

0:00 The Dallas Cowboys

1:10: A more underachieving team?

2:57: Not too many changes

4:01: Dak has to have time!

5:02: Lamb and Pollard are weapons

5:45: Can they improve defense?

6:24: Reviewing Cowboys schedule

8:14: Prediction time, best bets

PREVIEW SCHEDULE / LINKS

AFC SOUTH

July 25: Houston Texans

July 26: Indianapolis Colts

July 27: Jacksonville Jaguars

July 28: Tennessee Titans

NFC WEST

Aug. 1: Arizona Cardinals

Aug. 2: Los Angeles Rams

Aug. 3: San Francisco 49ers

Aug. 4: Seattle Seahawks

AFC WEST

Aug. 8: Denver Broncos

Aug. 9: Kansas City Chiefs

Aug. 10: Las Vegas Raiders

Aug. 11: Los Angeles Chargers

NFC EAST

Aug. 15: Dallas Cowboys

Aug. 16: New York Giants

Aug. 17: Philadelphia Eagles

Aug. 18: Washington Commanders

AFC EAST

Aug. 22: Buffalo Bills

Aug. 23: Miami Dolphins

Aug. 24: New England Patriots

Aug. 25: New York Jets

NFC NORTH

Aug. 29: Chicago Bears

Aug. 29: Detroit Lions

Aug. 30: Green Bay Packers

Aug. 30: Minnesota Vikings

AFC NORTH

Aug. 31: Baltimore Ravens

Aug. 31: Cincinnati Bengals

Sept. 1: Cleveland Browns

Sept. 2: Pittsburgh Steelers

NFC SOUTH

Sept. 5: Atlanta Falcons

Sept. 6: Carolina Panthers

Sept. 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sept. 8: New Orleans Saints

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