With high expectations set by a standout account in 2014 and brash moves in the offseason, we make a few bold predictions for the Cowboys in the 2015-2016 NFL season.
Cowboys Building On Standout 2014
The Dallas Cowboys, looking to build on their standout 12-4 account, have made some bold moves in the offseason, namely the release of leading rusher DeMarco Murray, who led the NFL with1,845 yards, a full 500-yards-and-some-change more than No.2 on the list Le'Veon Bell (Murray signed with divisional foes Philadelphia Eagles). Letting DeMarco go – never mind traipse off to the Eagles – is going to prove either the dumbest move by the Jerry Jones' Cowboys or a stroke of genius.
Then again, would you let a player like that go if you didn't have an ace up your sleeve? Or thought as much? Obviously, the Cowboys must be confident moving forward without DeMarco Murray and that says a lot about where they are at right now and their prospects in the coming season.
At the market level, there's a touch of the same confidence with the line chalked at 9.5 season total wins for the Dallas Cowboys, with the OVER trading heavily at -140 and the UNDER matched at +110. That said, however, odds makers aren't cornering anything exclusively in Dallas' camp. Both the Cowboys and Eagles are trading on 9.5 season win totals, with the pair joint-faves to with the NFC East crown at +150. Should be a riveting contest between these two bold movers and shakers in the offseason.
So on to our bold (there's that word again) predictions for the Cowboys. Bets that are deemed reasonable and possible, but not exactly lock NFL picks (otherwise they wouldn't be bold, right?).
1. Offense To Improve Or Take a Step Back?
In total offense, Dallas were amongst the top ten in the NFL (seventh). Where they ranked even higher was in total points: fifth overall with 467 points scored. In the last five years, Dallas has improved markedly on that score: from 394 (2010), to 369 (a hiccup), to 376 (on the ascent again), to 439 (2013) and 467 (2014). That yields an average of 409 over the last five years. If we look at the last two seasons, which are their best in recent memory, they are averaging 453 points scored per season. Verging on Peyton Manning territory.
On the NFL odds board, season scoring total odds are currently available. Considering their trend over the last five years, the UNDER 411 at +180 seems to be the right NFL pick. But that's not being bold is it? Same goes for the total range of 411-460 (Inclusive) at +163, which falls closely in line with their total points scored in 2014. The bold NFL pick here would be to back the Cowboys to crack the OVER 460 total at +170 NFL odds. It's bold because we're predicting Tony Romo can do it without one of his favorite targets, DeMarco Murray.
2. Dez Bryant To Shine
Now that Dez Bryant has a nice lush contract with the Cowboys still drying ink, it's time to put up. "Show us the money," so to speak. The wide receiver ranked in the top ten in the NFL last season with 1, 320 yards on 88 receptions and scored 16 touchdowns (the last of which was the most by a wide receiver in the NFL). Dez Bryant is a +800 NFL pick at bet365 to top the receiving charts in 2015 and usurp last season's leader Antonio Brown (1, 698), the current fave on the NFL odds board at +500.
3. NFC Champions?
Given that the Cowboys negotiated the 18th toughest NFL schedule successfully, they should be in good stead this season with the 24th toughest NFL schedule that boasts an 0.467 winning percentage. With all the talent they have and the depth and quality of the roster, not to mention the cash they splashed, it would be a right shocker if they didn't crack the 9.5 season win totals at -140 NFL picks and make the NFL playoffs. To suggest they win the NFC East, seeing as they are the defending champions is stating the obvious as well. Not exactly on the bold vein of this article. So the truly bold NFL pick here would be to predict the Cowboys go one better and win the NFC Championships, which can be backed at +900 NFL odds. It's more likely that the Seahawks or Packers will win the NFC, but the Cowboys could potentially pull it off and that makes it a bold NFL pick.
4. Tony Romo To Out Yard The Field?
Down the stretch last season, Tony Romo hit his stride and went on to outgun just about all his peers, including Aaron Rodgers. Romo finished the season with a leading passer rating of 113.2, a full unit ahead of Rodgers at 112.2.In the postseason, he posted a rating of 125.8, once again leading all his peers. Where Romo comes up short is in yardage. He put up 3,705 yards, which is a good deal less than leaders Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger's 4, 952 yards. Heck, considerably less than MVP Rodgers' 4,381 yards. Even Jay Cutler put up more with 3, 812 yards. So you can imagine just how bold an NFL pick it would be to back Romo to lead the NFL by season end in passing yards, a bet that can be backed at +3000 NFL odds at bet365. It would require he beat out some of the likely favorites, including Andrew Luck, Rodgers, Brees, and Peyton Manning, to name a few.