It’s here. Really, it’s finally here! It’s game week and the long, long offseason has concluded and Cowboys Nation is likely excited about what this season has in store.
Think about it. For the past few years the Cowboys have gotten a slew of media attention as “the best team on paper” or “a team that will finally get over the hump”. Now the media isn’t even talking about us, many believe that the Cowboys just don’t have the talent anymore.
This is what we’ve been waiting for.
These Cowboys have consistently faltered to the pressure put on them by coaches, players, owners and media. Now, with minimum expectations, the Cowboys can play loose, play fun and just worry about Sunday.
So what can we expect? What are realistic expectations that we can expect to see from the Cowboys?I’m going to do my best to predict how things will turn this season. Try and stick with me.
Most Valuable Player: Tony Romo, QB
Predicted Stat Line: 4650 yards, 34 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 66% completion percentage
To some this is unrealistic, however, Tony Romo has shown us that he has all the talent and ability to be an elite QB. While this won’t put him at the top of any category, he’ll easily be a top 5 or 6 QB in the league.
Romo finally puts it together this year with a more comfortable offensive line, 12-personnel formation and a new focus on the running game. Romo is smart and savvy, his yardage goes down considerably from 2013 but his overall efficiency will see a great rise.
Offensive Player of the Year: Dez Bryant, WR
Predicted Stat Line: 105 receptions, 1680 yards, 16 touchdowns
Dez Bryant is on the verge of being the best WR in the NFL. This season is the breaking point. Dez won’t achieve his 2000 yards thanks to an increased focus from defensive secondaries. However, the truth is that you can only hope to contain Dez.
Dez will break 100 receptions and because of his tough style of play, he will manage to break quite a few long TD runs.
Defensive Player of the Year: Sean Lee, MLB
Predicted Stat Line: 148 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 sacks, 1 touchdown.
Bruce Carter is the fan favorite in this defense but Sean Lee is the prototypical middle linebacker for this scheme is a guy whose style of play is transcendent. Lee is physical, blue collar, instinctive and smart. These are traits that would allow him to play in any era.
Lee has been battling injuries but while he’s been on the field, he’s always been among the league leaders at his position. This will be the year that Lee stays healthy and delivers the type of season he’s capable of.
Rookie of the Year: Travis Frederick, C/G
Here’s the bottom line, Travis Frederick has the potential to be a steal of this draft. Offensive lineman don’t always work out (see Jonathan Cooper’s season ending injury) but Frederick has the smarts, size and ability to become a really strong center in this league.
What I like here is that Frederick, paired with Leary and Smith, offer the Cowboys stability and youth in an offensive line that has been a source of weakness for this team. Obviously, based on my Romo prediction, I expect the offensive line to be much improved and that is thanks in large part to Fredericks presence and ability to make calls.
Other Stat Projections:
Jason Witten, TE: 92 receptions, 950 yards, 6 touchdowns
DeMarco Murray: 252 carries, 1080 yards, 8 touchdowns
DeMarcus Ware: 17 Sacks
Team Record, Standings and Finish Prediction
Overall Record: 10-6 (4-2 NFC East)
Division Standing: First, 4th Seed NFC
Playoff Prediction: Lose NFC Championship @ Seattle
(Note: Maybe a little optimistic, but I believe if the Cowboys can get into the tourney they can play with anyone. Seattle becomes too much to handle IN Seattle.)