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.
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
July 25: Houston Texans
July 26: Indianapolis Colts
July 27: Jacksonville Jaguars
July 28: Tennessee Titans
Aug. 1: Arizona Cardinals
Aug. 2: Los Angeles Rams
Aug. 3: San Francisco 49ers
Aug. 4: Seattle Seahawks
Aug. 8: Denver Broncos
Aug. 9: Kansas City Chiefs
Aug. 10: Las Vegas Raiders
Aug. 11: Los Angeles Chargers
Aug. 15: Dallas Cowboys
Aug. 16: New York Giants
Aug. 17: Philadelphia Eagles
Aug. 18: Washington Commanders
Aug. 22: Buffalo Bills
Aug. 23: Miami Dolphins
Aug. 24: New England Patriots
Aug. 25: New York Jets
Aug. 29: Chicago Bears
Aug. 29: Detroit Lions
Aug. 30: Green Bay Packers
Aug. 30: Minnesota Vikings
Aug. 31: Baltimore Ravens
Aug. 31: Cincinnati Bengals
Sept. 1: Cleveland Browns
Sept. 2: Pittsburgh Steelers
Sept. 5: Atlanta Falcons
Sept. 6: Carolina Panthers
Sept. 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sept. 8: New Orleans Saints