weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

NFL countdown: Dallas Cowboys loaded on offense

Updated September 4, 2020 - 1:27 pm

This is the 28th in a series of 32 NFL team betting previews in 32 days leading up to the league’s Sept. 10 season opener. We’ll count down the teams from the lowest season win total to the highest.

There’s no other way to put it — the Dallas Cowboys underachieved last season.

They had the NFL’s top-ranked offense and were No. 9 defensively in yards allowed, and they outscored their opponents by 113 points. But that added up to an 8-8 record, costing Jason Garrett his job.

New coach Mike McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl in Green Bay but was fired after the 2018 season, inherits a roster loaded with talent.

“I know we’re high on Dallas this year,” Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “If you look at their point differential from last year, it’s indicative of an 11- or 12-win team. It was really bad for them to be an 8-8 team with that kind of talent.”

The Cowboys’ win total of 10 is the best in the NFC East, and they’re a -175 favorite to win the division.

Sportsbooks expect the offense to be explosive, the defense to be solid and McCarthy to be an upgrade from the hyper-conservative Garrett.

Quarterback Dak Prescott is surrounded by stars in running back Ezekiel Elliott, wide receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and first-round pick CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma, and an offensive line that could be the league’s best.

While the defense was solid statistically, it was 25th in turnovers forced, and its seven interceptions ranked 30th.

The Cowboys added ends Everson Griffen and Aldon Smith and tackle Dontari Poe to bolster the defensive front, and their linebacking corps should be better with a healthy Leighton Vander Esch back on the field. If there’s a question mark on defense, it’s the secondary, but they hope a strong pass rush will keep it from being exposed.

“Poe is a really big pickup because he clogs the middle,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “They’re going to put a ton of points on the board, so the defensive doesn’t have to be great.”

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2936. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

Like and follow Vegas Nation
Top 5 villains in WSOP history

Whether it’s because of their antics at the poker table or they were involved in a scandal, there have been no shortage of villains at the World Series of Poker.