2011 Dallas Cowboys Predictions and Super Bowl Futures Odds
by Dave Schwab - 8/16/2011
Current Odds as provided by WagerWeb
Super Bowl +1600
Win Total 9 (Over -125 Under -115)
Coming off an 11-5 record, NFC East title, and the first win in the playoffs since 1996, the 2010 season was supposed to be a dream season for the Cowboys. Team Owner Jerry Jones had vision of his team being the first in NFL history to ever host a Super Bowl with the game already scheduled to be played in his billion dollar stadium. The dream quickly turned into a nightmare with a 1-6 start, a season-ending injury to quarterback Tony Romo, and a mid-season firing of head coach Wade Phillips. With some of the most optimistic fans in the world, the expectations are rising that the return of Romo to the lineup will mark a return to the top of the NFC.
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Having Romo back as the starter will immediately make the Cowboys a better team. He had his best season as a pro in 2009 and was completing close to 70 percent of his passes last season before going down in Week 6 with a broken collar bone. Along with WR Miles Austin and TE Jason Witten, who still managed to combine for 163 receptions and 2,043 yards last season, Dallas will have Dez Bryant back in the lineup as well after he broke his ankle towards the end of last season. The running game will be anchored by Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, but look for third-round draft pick DeMarco Murray to work himself into the mix at some point this year.
With Jon Kitna at the helm for the final 10 games of the season, the Cowboys managed to finish the 2010 season ranked seventh in the league in both total yards and points, so the return of Romo should have this unit near the top of the rankings in 2011.
The Cowboys’ defense took a nose dive in 2010, ending the year ranked 23rd overall and 31st in points allowed. Since it was not a matter of talent, rather motivation, Jones lured Cleveland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to Dallas in effort to light a fire under this unit. In the same vein as his father Buddy and brother Rex, Ryan has already started rattling cages in his new role, calling Philadelphia the “all-hype team” and promising to kick their butts when they play this year. This is all part of his motivational tactics in an effort to change the laid-back culture that was instilled when the Phillips’ regime was in place, but calling out the Eagles could be a matter of writing some checks his team cannot cash, just like his father did years ago when the roles were reversed.
One of the first things that Garrett did once the player lockout was lifted was to clear out some high-priced dead wood from the lineup to free up some salary cap space. WR Roy Williams, RB Marion Barber, and OL Leonard Davis were some of the more prominent players let go. Dallas signed DE Kenyon Coleman, who was originally with the team a few years back but spent the last two seasons with the Browns. It also added Abram Elam, who was also with the Browns, to add some depth to the secondary. For the most part, the team was content to focus on re-signing the players it wanted back.
2011 Dallas Cowboys Schedule
The slow start out of the gate spelled the kiss of death for the Cowboys last season, but other than an opening day trip to the New Meadowlands Stadium to face the Jets, the next three games against San Francisco, Washington, and Detroit should all be wins. The fun begins in Week 6 when they come off a bye to face New England on the road. Other then a visit to Philly in week 8, it’s smooth sailing all the way until Week 14 when they host the Giants. Things get a bit brutal from there with a December road game in Tampa, the Eagles at home in Week 16, and a season finale on New Year’s Day on the road against the Giants. This final stretch of the regular season will ultimately make or break Dallas’s season.
2011 Dallas Cowboys Predictions
You have to believe that last season was an anomaly as this team is much better than its 6-10 record would indicate. The Cowboys are no longer on the same level as the Eagles, or even the Giants for that matter, but they will remain competitive the entire season with a 9-7 record and a third-place finish in the East.
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