More

    Anything’s Possible for 2017 Cowboys, Even 16-0, and Here’s How

    Recently USA Today released its predictions for the 2017 NFL season. A lot of it seemed reasonable, though there were a ton of teams with 10 wins or more, including your at 12-4.

    Here's the summary of their Dallas Cowboys prediction.

    “Dallas Cowboys (11-5): The league should be ready for Dak Prescott and — assuming he isn't suspended — this time around; that celebrated O-line is breaking in two new starters; and the could be a hot mess. Still, there's no denying this club's offensive firepower. The Cowboys play four of their five November games at home, a good point to make a move in the standings.”

    There are some things I disagree with here, but that is another discussion for another time. However, that seems a reasonable expectation for America's Team.

    One surprising prediction was where they put the defending champion .

    Many, including Las Vegas, have the Pats as the favorite to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for Tom Brady's record-breaking 6th time. It's a bold prediction, considering only two teams have ever gone undefeated in the regular season. The 2007 Patriots and the 1972 .

    Their prediction got me thinking, what would it take for your Dallas Cowboys to run the table in 2017.

    Now you might be saying, the Dallas Cowboys are nowhere near what the '72 Dolphins or '07 Patriots were, but you might be overlooking one thing.

    The Cowboys offense will be a juggernaut in 2017.

    Like the Patriots and the Dolphins before them, the Dallas Cowboys will be extremely difficult to slow down, let alone stop on offense.

    Here are six things that need to happen for the Dallas Cowboys to go 16-0.

    Dak Prescott, Tom Brady
    Oft-compared QBs Dak Prescott and Tom Brady.

    1. Dak Prescott Makes Elite Leap

    What occurred in 2016 with Dak Prescott was extraordinary. His season was one of the best two or three rookie seasons of all-time. Even among all NFL quarterbacks, his first season as a pro stands out as a great season.

    He was great in 2016, but if the Cowboys want to win every game this season, then Dak Prescott needs to join the elite ranks of , Tom Brady, and Drew Brees.

    The offense is one of the best in the league already and were nearly unstoppable in 2016. If Dak and the Cowboys can get off to fast starts against teams and give the defense and running game a lead early, there is no reason they can't become an elite offense.

    2. Defensive End Becomes Elite Pass Rusher

    A lot of the 2017 season will hinge on the offense continuing to get better and better, but the defense also needs to make improvements.

    As a team, they were about average at rushing the passer. Where they were really good was in the fourth quarter when the team had a lead. The problem last season was consistency. We never knew where the pressure was going to come from, or who would come up with the big sack.

    appears to be the elite 3-technique tackle that the team has been looking for. Now they just need to find that defensive end that can take a game over.

    We've seen flashes from , , and David Irving. has had his moments in the past, but will start the season suspended by the NFL.

    Dominant defenses have at least one guy who can consistently get pressure or at the very least command the attention of the offense.

    DeMarcus Lawrence is in a contract year.  All the tools and skills are there, it's time to put it together. All he needs is a little luck on the side of things. 2017 may be the year of his breakout.

    2017 NFL Draft Class Lines Up With Dallas Cowboys Needs 3
    Sep 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys free safety (31) reacts to breaking up a pass in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    3. Byron Jones Becomes a Turnover Machine

    On the great defenses of the past decade plus, players like Ed Reed for Baltimore, Troy Polamalu for Pittsburgh, John Lynch and Ronde Barber for Tampa Bay, there were guys who could create turnovers.

    Dallas has lacked a guy who can consistently intercept the ball.

    Byron Jones has the athletic ability and football awareness to be a five interception a season guy, but has yet to put it together. Already adept at deflecting passes away, Jones is working on tracking the ball in the air this offseason.

    His work with the Frisco Roughriders seems to have paid off. It's been reported that he's been creating turnovers and being a force in the in the early part of training camp.

    While the defense hasn't had their pass rushing sack artist, they've made do with a bunch of guys being able to create pressure.

    The one thing they haven't been able to find is the guy who consistently creates turnovers.

    In 2017, expect Byron Jones to be that guy.

    4. Dez Bryant Plays 16 Games

    In the second half of last season, Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant displayed great chemistry.

    After starting off the season a bit slow, then being injured, Dez came back with a fury in the last 10 games he played.

    If we project the last ten games of the season over 16 games (not counting , where he played one series), Bryant would have had 76.8 receptions, 1,244.8 yards, and 14.4 touchdowns.

    Those are dominant numbers for a receiver in a run first offense. If Dez plays 16 games, and there's no reason to believe he won't, look for him to produce similar numbers to his All-Pro 2014 season.

    5. Clear Eye View

    If the early returns from training camp are any indication, the Dallas Cowboys have found their Brian Urlacher.

    Since making the move to the 4-3 under a few years ago, all eyes have been focused on the health of Sean Lee at the all important weak side spot.

    The middle linebacker spot is just as important. For years it's been average to good play at MLB, but with Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys have finally found that fearsome MLB that 4-3 teams crave.

    If the 2006 Chicago Bears are any indication, having an All-Pro middle linebacker like Urlacher next to Lance Briggs (at WLB) is monumental. That tandem helped carry the Bears to a Super Bowl appearance with Rex Grossman at quarterback.

    Smith is already showing the range and play-making ability that made him an All-American at Notre Dame. He has the talent, awareness, and even with only part of a nerve is looking explosive.

    It's only a matter of when with Jaylon at this point. All indications are making week one more and more likely.

    Dallas is on the verge of having several playmakers at all three levels of the defense. Smith and Lee would form one of the most dynamic and dangerous 4-3 linebacker tandems in the NFL.

    Cowboys en Español: La Línea Ofensiva
    Nov 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys (71) and center Travis Frederick (72) and (70) during the game against the at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    6. Dominant Offense Ready to Roll

    Like the dominant Patriots offense of 2007, the Dallas Cowboys have the makings of a deep and dominant offense.

    Starting with Dez Bryant, then Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Ryan Switzer and or make this group one of the deepest and most versatile groups in the league.

    The group can perform as well. Jason Witten, though is getting aged, can still be a reliable weapon in the short to intermediate .

    James Hanna and Geoff Swaim are under the radar guys who can make a play through the air when called upon. If is making the progress that it seems he's making (we'll know more during the games), then he may be ready to contribute in some two and three tight end formations.

    This doesn't even begin to mention the pass catching abilities of Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden, who can both hurt you in the passing game.

    They have more than 10 guys on offense that can hurt you in the passing game. If for some reason you are able to cover everyone and take away all of Dak Prescott's options, which is unlikely, he has the athletic ability and awareness to make you pay with his legs.

    We all know the dominance that the run game brings Ezekiel Elliott behind their All-Pro . They were difficult to stop last year and will be incredibly difficult to slow this year.

    If you focus on the run, Prescott has shown he can win through the air. If you play coverage, you're going to get gashed by Elliott and the offensive line.

    The offense is poised to be elite in 2017. They have too many weapons to slow down, let alone stop.


    There isn't a weakness on the Dallas Cowboys offense. If Byron Jones, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Jaylon Smith can play at a high level in 2017, there won't be many weaknesses on the defense, making 16-0 a real possibility.

    spot_imgspot_imgspot_img
    John Williams
    John Williamshttps://anchor.fm/inside-the-cowboys
    Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

    Latest

    Cowboys remain resilient in statement win over the Giants

    It wouldn't truly be Thanksgiving without a side of...

    #DALvsNYG: 2nd-half adjustments gobble Giants up

    The Dallas Cowboys overcame a shaky first half and...

    DAL 28, NYG 20: Cowboys bounce back to claim a Thanksgiving Day victory

    After a rough first half, the Cowboys came out...

    Halftime Report: Shaky start for the Cowboys, Giants lead 13 – 7

    Giants were up first on offense but were forced...

    Newsletter

    Daily Cowboys News in Your Inbox
    Name:*
    Your email address:*
    Please enter all required fields Click to hide
    Correct invalid entries Click to hide

    Trending Now

    Fantasy Outlook: It’s Hard to Trust any Cowboys Player Next Season

    I am already looking forward to my fantasy football...

    Cowboys Reveal New Uniforms for Week 17 vs Titans

    Another uniform emerges for the Dallas Cowboys to wear...

    Diggs Island – Trevon Diggs is entering elite status

    It’s hard to find a cornerback that is under...

    Why are the Dallas Cowboys Considered “America’s Team?”

    The Dallas Cowboys are one National Football League team...

    Will Jalen Tolbert suit up again this season?

    The third-round pick out of South Alabama has been...

    The Star: Getting Inside the Dallas Cowboys New Home

    The Dallas Cowboys star logo is one of the...

    Cowboys Nostalgia: Before Jerry Jones

    25 years ago Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys...

    How Kellen Moore Has Redeemed Himself

    During week one, the Dallas Cowboys faced off against...

    Is Last Seasons Biggest Strength Now Cowboys Weakness?

    The bye week for the Dallas Cowboys couldn't have possibly come at a better time. This is the perfect opportunity to sit back and...

    Cowboys en Español: Prediciendo el Récord de los Dallas Cowboys

    La temporada de la NFL 2017 ha comenzado. Y aquí estamos, a dos días de ver a los Dallas Cowboys enfrentarse a los New...

    Identifying The Toughest Adversaries On The Cowboys’ 2017 Schedule

    On paper, the Dallas Cowboys 2017 schedule certainly looks a lot tougher than what they faced a season ago. That's what happens when you...

    2 COMMENTS

    2 Comments
    Oldest
    Newest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    OGHailMary

    People are gonna dog you out, you nutcase. But John Williams, I GET YOU. I LIKE THE WAY YOU THINK! 19-0, baby! It can happen!

    John Williams

    Yeah, it didn’t go over well. People missed the part where I said that it’s unlikely but if it were going to happen this was going to be how.

    I’m definitely an optimist for sure, but certainly realize that it’s the longest of shots.