By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports Betting Analyst
Be forewarned: Dallas Cowboys fans will not be happy with this piece.
Let’s dive into why I’m betting against the Cowboys from a gambling perspective this upcoming season.
The rest of the NFC East improved — especially Philadelphia — and the Cowboys lost perhaps six starters from a division winner. Are we somehow expected to believe Dallas is going to win 11 games?
The Cowboys had an incredible 2021 season, leading the NFC in point differential (+172). But they benefited greatly from turnovers, tying the NFL lead with a plus-14 turnover margin and leading the league in interceptions with 26. These numbers will not be duplicated year-to-year, meaning regression is coming.
Dak Prescott threw a career-high 37 touchdown passes last year, but he attempted the fewest rushes of his career as he was coming off a gruesome leg injury. However, Prescott still fumbled as many times (nine) as he had in his first five seasons combined. He also lost three of those fumbles after only losing one before 2021. After getting a colossal contract, Prescott was barely a Top 10 QB in the NFL last season, per Pro Football Focus, behind the likes of Kirk Cousins and Kyler Murray.
And while the potent Cowboys’ offense led the NFL in points (530) last season, Michael Gallup is unlikely to return from his ACL surgery before Halloween, and they lost Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson. Yes, CeeDee Lamb is back, but losing Cooper on the outside is massive because Lamb was devastating as a slot receiver his rookie year. He then moved outside more often in his second year, opposite Cooper, and dominated cornerbacks one-on-one. Now Lamb will face the opponent’s No. 1 cornerback every week and see plenty of double-teams, with teams unlikely to roll coverages toward James Washington and promising rookie Jalen Tolbert. Let’s just say Gallup’s health will be pivotal to the team’s success.
And, how about one of Dallas’ most significant strengths in years past, the trenches? Well, there will be two new starters in Week 1 on the offensive line and possibly four on defense. Replacing Randy Gregory, who was second on the team in sacks last year, will be tough. Gregory will be replaced by Dante Fowler, who hopes his fourth team is the charm (Jacksonville, LA Rams, Atlanta Falcons). Historically Fowler has been woefully inconsistent, but perhaps playing opposite Micah Parsons will help him duplicate his 2019 stats (11.5 sacks). If not, Dallas will struggle mightily to repeat their defensive success from last season.
The only saving grace for the Cowboys is a cushy schedule that features non-division games against teams with some of the lowest projected win totals in football in Detroit, Chicago, Houston and Jacksonville.
Regarding the NFC East, Dallas would need to go 5-1 in the division to approach the over (6-0 last year). That won’t be easy, with the Eagles vastly improved, adding elite receiver AJ Brown, pass rusher Haason Reddick and once-great cornerback James Bradberry. The Giants now have one of the best offensive minds (Brian Daboll) in football as head coach. And Washington’s defense could return to being a Top 10 unit like it was in 2020 with Chase Young healthy; plus, they now have a legit starting quarterback in Carson Wentz.
I saved the best for last, so how is this parting shot? In the previous 25 years, the Cowboys have never produced back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins. Let’s face it, this franchise doesn’t handle success well.
And forget double-digit wins, what about just making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons? That last happened for Dallas in 2006 and 2007.
Sorry, Dallas fans. I’m fading the Cowboys. Give me the under win total for next season as one of my best early bets.
Jason McIntyre is a FOX Sports betting analyst, and he also writes about the NFL and NBA Draft. He joined FS1 in 2016 and has appeared on every show on the network. In 2017, McIntyre began producing gambling content on the NFL, college football and NBA for FOX Sports. He had a gambling podcast for FOX, “Coming Up Winners,” in 2018 and 2019. Before arriving at FOX, he created the website The Big Lead, which he sold in 2010.
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