Thursday, April 23, 2015

2015 Dallas Cowboys Prediction

2014 Review
The success of the 2014 Dallas Cowboys came out of nowhere. After cutting declining star Demarcus Ware and losing Sean Lee to another season ending injury, a pathetic defense looked even worse. Superstar quarterback Tony Romo was also coming off his second back surgery in two years. Things looked grim. Surprisingly, however, the Cowboys achieved a 12-4 record, won their division and advanced to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Had Romo not broke his back against the Redskins, it’s likely they would have won that contest as well as the following week against the Arizona Cardinals, finishing with a 14-2 record.  In the Divisional Round their season ended at Lambeau Field partly as result of a costly DeMarco Murray fumble but more because of the controversial rule overturning a glorious reception from Romo to Dez Bryant. Everyone (except for Packers fans) perceived a catch, but the officials ruled it incomplete. Although it was a disappointing end to a great season, the 2014 Cowboys made a statement: The Cowboys are back.

#9 QB Tony Romo
In free agency, the Cowboys lost several players. Underachieving linebacker Bruce Carter went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with cornerback Steerling Moore and wide receiver Dwayne Harris went to the New York Giants. Most significantly, after staying healthy for the first time in his career and putting up his best season (significantly due to Dallas’ formidable O-Line), DeMarco Murray joined Chip Kelley’s cast of injury prone stars in Philadelphia.  Although they lost some key players, the Cowboys did retain players essential to their success in right tackle Doug Free and linebacker Rolando McClain. They are still negotiating with wide receiver Dez Bryant. Most importantly, they brought in defensive end Greg Hardy giving their defense the pass rusher they desperately need. 


Assumptions
My predictions for the 2015 Cowboys season is the best case scenario—in my mind at least. Newly acquired defensive end Greg Hardy is suspended for a maximum of eight games. Second year defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence builds on his playoff success. Cornerback Brandon Carr plays up to his contract.  Linebacker Sean Lee stays healthy the entire season (something he has yet do accomplish in four years). Linebacker Rolando McClain plays every game. Running back Darren McFadden or the newly drafted running back takes some pressure off of Tony Romo’s shoulders.  Romo is the most important person on the Cowboys roster. If he goes down the season's fate will be thrust on Grandpa Weeden or inexperienced Dustin Vaughn. In other words, the season will be lost. Assuming all of those factors above, we can move on to the analysis.


Analysis
The Cowboys open their season in their usual showdown with the New York Giants. Although Eli Muppet Manning is a mediocre quarterback

#55 LB Rolando McClain
he somehow always puts on a good show when facing the Cowboys. He’ll have a good day but his superior counterpart, Tony Romo will have a better day. Cowboys win 34-31 (1-0).

In week 2, the Cowboys face the Philadelphia Eagles. Here, they will meet up with former teammates running back DeMarco Murray and wide receiver Miles Austin. With so many new players, by this point in the season the Eagles will be mess. Cowboys win 31-24 (2-0)

After beating the Falcons 28-14 (3-0), the Cowboys will have a showdown with the New Orleans Saints.  Both defenses will give out in this game. The Cowboys secondary isn’t good enough to hold back Drew Brees but Rob Ryan’s defense will get shredded by Romo and Bryant. Cowboys win 38-31 (4-0).

Week 5 holds an exciting contest between America’s team and the New England Patriots. The Patriots and Cowboys will both be 4-0 at this meeting, reminiscent of their 2007 fight at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys defense will be the surprise factor here, with Marinelli bringing the heat against Brady who will spend his day pouting and ranting on the sidelines. Cowboys win 21-17 (5-0).

Following the most boring week in the season (bye) the Cowboys sweep the Giants 24-21 (6-0). and face the Seattle Seahawks. Here one of the NFL’s premiere offenses in the Cowboys will be challenged by on the NFL’s best defenses in the Seattle Seahawks. If it turns into a shootout, there’s no way Russell Wilson keeps up with Tony Romo. More likely, though, it will be a defensive fight, with the Cowboys pulling ahead late in the 4th quarter. Cowboys win 17-14 (7-0).

In week 9 the Cowboys will again beat the Eagles 24-14 (8-0) before annihilating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-14 (9-0). Every season the Cowboys get beat by a time they have no business getting beat by. This year, it will be the Miami Dolphins over the Cowboys, 24-21 (9-1).

On Thanksgiving Day the Panthers come to Dallas. On his first game back from suspension, Greg Hardy will play with vigor and lead a Dallas defense that has come together. Cowboys win big, 42-7 (10-1). Next, the 'Boys face off against the Washington Redskins and easily defeat them 34-10 (11-1).


#82 TE Jason Witten

Week 14 provides a rematch between the Packers and the Cowboys. In their previous match up, an immobile Aaron Rodgers stood comfortably in the pocket against a non existent pass rush. This game will be different with DeMarcus Lawrence and Greg Hardy providing pressure. The cold weather will make this game an old school grind through the run. Romo will make more key plays than Rodgers and the Cowboys will top the Packers 31-24 (12-1).

Next, the Cowboys easily defeat the Jets 35-7 (13-1). Then they travel to Buffalo where they top the Bills 21-17 (14-1). Finally, they close out their season against the Redskins and end on a victory 38-28 (15-1).







Summary
The Cowboys lone loss comes against the Miami Dolphins. They win their division and conference before bringing home their sixth Lombardi Trophy.  Tony Romo is named the league’s MVP. And finally, I can gloat on Facebook and to all my hater friends about the Cowboys. 


This prediction is obviously the optimism of a fan--a fan with annual rose colored glasses. For two decades I’ve been saying this is the year the Cowboys win it all. And again, I believe, this is the year for the Dallas Cowboys. I just can't help myself.

#88 WR Dez Bryant