How Good Are They?

Will the Cowboys win over/under 9.5 games this season?

  •  
    80%
  •  
    20%

(Total votes: 1,193)

YES
NO

Cowboys have plenty of talent

Watkins By Calvin Watkins
ESPNDallas.com
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The NFL schedule is set up for the Cowboys to win at least 10 games.

Yes, Jay Ratliff won't be ready for Week 1.

Yes, Ronald Leary will be the starting guard against the New York Giants in Week 1.

Yes, there will be more rookies on the special teams units.

Guess what?

It shouldn't be a problem.

The Cowboys have a dynamic duo at linebacker in Sean Lee and Bruce Carter that should create more turnovers in Monte Kiffins defensive scheme. Through four preseason games, the Cowboys defense has forced nine turnovers.

Nine.

DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are bookends on the defensive line. Sacks should be plentiful from Kiffins linemen regardless if Ratliff is playing.

There is improvement in the safety position with veteran Will Allens calming presence.

On offense, how can we forget about Dez Bryant and Jason Witten? Bryant is an emerging talent and Witten is Witten -- one of the best tight ends in the game.

Lets not forget DeMarco Murray and Miles Austin. Each player is an outstanding talent worthy of heavy defensive coverage. Austin is one of the best in the league at catching passes from the slot and turning them into big gains.

While Murray has never finished a season without getting nicked up, the play of Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle at the position creates valuable depth.

The offensive line is a fluid situation, but new playcaller Bill Callahan should help the run game -- epecially when it runs off the edge -- to take pressure off quarterback Tony Romo.

Romos increased involvement with the offense should be deemed a positive after an offseason where his input was accepted more and more.

The Cowboys have the talent to win at least 10 games. But there are the tough back-to-back weeks against Philadelphia and Washington, two division rivals who run a version of the zone read, which gave Kiffins defense problems when he coached at USC.

Maybe using pro players against the flavor-of-the-month offense will help.

A four-week stretch where the Cowboys host Minnesota, visit New Orleans and after a bye go to New York could make or break their season.

Those are winnable games for the Cowboys. This core group has won in New Orleans and New York before.

The expectations are high for the Cowboys in a division where the other teams have their own problems, including RG IIIs knees, an uncertain Eagles offense and a Giants team looking to bounce back after failing to make the postseason last year.

Its time for this 10-win team to emerge and make the playoffs. If not, Jason Garrett will have plenty of explaining to do.

Hard to believe they can stay healthy

Taylor By Jean-Jacques Taylor
ESPNDallas.com
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The schedule says at least 10 wins. The talent on the roster says the same thing.

The trust factor says nine.

The Cowboys play four of their first six games at AT&T Stadium, which should help them get off to a good start.

They play the sorry AFC West and have two games in the division against the rebuilding Philadelphia Eagles.

The reality is the Cowboys have only won 10 games or more three times since 1997.

Let that marinate.

More importantly, their best players have an injury history.

Every conversation about the Cowboys tends to start with, "if (fill in player's name) doesn't get hurt, the Cowboys will have a good season.

Think about it: If Sean Lee stays healthy. And DeMarco Murray stays healthy. And Bruce Carter stays healthy.

And on. And on. And on.

It's hard to believe all of those guys will stay healthy because each has a history of getting hurt. And it's hard to survive the rigors of a 16-game regular season.

The key to the Cowboys making the playoffs is having their best players play their best football when it matters most.

That hasn't been the case the past few years.

The Cowboys, as they usually do, will enter December with an opportunity to make the playoffs and win 10 games. If Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten and others excel, then Dallas will win 10 games, take the division and position themselves to make some noise in the playoffs.

History says it won't happen.

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