Dallas had been a very average team for most of Jason Garrett's tenure as head coach with three straight records of 8-8, but that all changed last season behind the second-ranked rushing offense in the league that helped produce a 12-4 record that won the NFC East by two full games over Philadelphia.
Bovada remains high on the Cowboys' chances to repeat as division champions with the best futures odds on the board to win the NFC East at +125. The oddsmakers have also set their projected win total at 9.5, with the moneyline favoring the "over" at -140. The moneyline that this total stays "under" 9.5 is set at +110.
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Not only did Dallas run the ball well, veteran quarterback Tony Romo probably had one of his best seasons as a pro with 3,705 passing yards and 34 touchdown throws behind a solid completion rate of 69.9 percent. His overall quarterback rating was 113.2, which was ranked first in the NFL.
While the expectation level is running sky high for 2015 after the Cowboys near miss at knocking off Green Bay on the road in a tight 26-21 loss in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, there are still some pretty big lingering questions surrounding this team.
2015 Dallas Cowboys Overall Team Outlook
Unless you talk to team owner Jerry Jones, most football experts would attribute a great deal of last season's success to running back DeMarco Murray and his league-high 1,845 rushing yards. Jones will want to credit his offensive line for the Cowboys' 147.1 rushing yards per game average, and this assumption will be put to the test this season since Murray decided to sign with rival Philadelphia as a free agent during the offseason.
In his place, Dallas is counting on guys such as Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle to fill the void. It did not take a running back in the draft, and McFadden was its highest-ranked free agent acquisition after racking up a grand total of 534 yards rushing with Oakland last season.
The Cowboys did use the draft to address some major gaps in a defense that was 26th in the NFL against the past last season and 19th in total yards allowed. They added cornerback Byron Jones with the 27th overall pick in the first round and, all told, they used five of their first six picks on the defensive side of the ball.
Another problem that is brewing in Big D is the status of All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant. The two sides could not agree on a long-term contract extension, so Dallas decided to use the Franchise Tag as a stop-gap measure to keep him on the roster. As of the end of June, he has yet to sign this offer and all indications point towards Bryant staging a possible holdout unless he can get the contract he wants.
2015 Dallas Cowboys Schedule
The Cowboys posted a 4-2 record in division play last season, and it's pretty safe to assume that they should be able to equal this mark in 2015 at the very least. Dallas will also face the AFC East this year, and even with New England at home, it could still be looking at a 2-2 mark in those four games against a much-improved division all around.
The NFC South is also on the schedule, and this could easily yield three more wins, although the Cowboys do have to face New Orleans on the road. The final two games are against Seattle at home and Green Bay on the road, which will probably mean the difference between nine or 10 wins this season.
2015 Dallas Cowboys Win Total Prediction
I happen to believe that Dallas actually takes a bit further step backwards in 2015 with the pressure once again dialed up on Romo to win games in the absence of a strong rushing attack. He could not get this team past eight wins when it could not run the ball, and, given the current state of the Cowboys' running game, it could very easily be a return to 8-8 this time around as well.
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