Last season, America’s team led by rookies QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott took the league by storm, going an NFC-best 13-3. The Cowboys used their national exposure as momentum, going on to win the NFC East and ease their way into the playoffs. It took a picture perfect sideline throw from Aaron Rodgers to Jared Cook and a clutch field goal from Mason Crosby as time expired to send Dallas home. Aside from the largest comeback in Super Bowl History, the 2016-2017 Dallas Cowboys were the biggest story of last season. Will this team be able to come back a year after coming up short?
It’s easy to say “Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will only improve” and “This looks like the beginning of a dynasty” but let’s pump the brakes a little bit. I will admit, the Cowboys have the makings of a team that can contend for years to come. The offensive line will produce anywhere, they know how to control the clock, and they have a quarterback who understands the NFL and how to lead a franchise. Although, there are challenges that Prescott and the Cowboys will have to face to sustain their success.
The NFL is a league based on momentum; every team goes on hot streaks and cold streaks. The 2015-2016 Carolina Panthers dominated the league only to be heartbroken in the Super Bowl. Cam Newton was the talk of the NFL and used similar league-wide momentum to lead the Panthers to a Cinderella 15-1 season. Last season, Newton came back to earth showing inaccuracies in the passing game and hanging his head during losses. With Zeke and others potentially suspended/injured, they may start slow. That doesn’t guarantee that the Cowboys will falter but momentum like that is hard to re-capture and they are bound to slightly come back to earth, right?
In 2017-2018, the Cowboys face a brutal first place schedule. They play Green Bay, Kansas City, and Seattle at home and go to Denver, Arizona, Atlanta, and Oakland. On top of this, they play in a tough division where no game is a gimme. Additionally, the league has a season of tape on Dak Prescott and an offseason to prepare for him. Someone as mature as Prescott knows he still has something to prove. It will be interesting to see if Dak can continue his stellar quarterback play in year two.
With the past year and a half filled with heartbreak, we know it is something hard to come back from. If the Cowboys can continue to control the clock with the run game, keep everyone on the field, and utilize all of their targets, this should be a playoff team yet again. In my opinion, America’s team takes a step back but hold on for a Wild Card Spot in 2017-2018.