Head coach: Jason Garrett (10th year)
Last year’s record: 10-6-0, lost in divisional round vs. LA Rams, 30-22
First game: Sept. 8 vs. New York Giants
Win total: Over/Under 9 (Over 9 -115, Under 9 -115)
Super Bowl odds: +2400
The Cowboys started 2018 on shaky footing before they won seven of eight games to close out the regular season. Dallas earned a wild-card spot in the playoffs, where they took down Seattle 24-22, then fell to the Rams 30-22 in the divisional round.
In Jason Garrett’s final year of his contract, he’ll need to do more than reach the playoffs. The last time Garrett entered a season with a year left on his contract, he improved from 8-8 to 12-4 and ended the year with a loss to the Packers in the divisional round. Garrett must find a way to carry a sturdy Dallas roster to the promised land in 2019, but to do so he’ll have to battle through a difficult second half of the schedule.
Who’s in and who’s out
After a year inside the Monday Night Football booth as an analyst, Jason Witten is back from retirement to play one more season at tight end for the Cowboys. He’ll rejoin an offense that has undergone some changes since he last played in 2017.
Longtime receiver Cole Beasley has moved to the Bills in free agency. Veteran Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb serves as his replacement in the coming season after he signed a one-year, $5 million contract. Cobb gives quarterback Dak Prescott one more option on an offense that features receiver Amari Cooper (725 yards, six touchdowns), second-year wideout Michael Gallup (507 yards, 15.4 yards per catch) and star running back Ezekiel Elliott (2,001 all-purpose yards, nine total TDs).
Last year the Cowboys boasted the sixth-best defense, allowing 329.2 yards per game. In 2019 they return most of their lineup and add defensive end Robert Quinn via a trade with Miami.
Dallas also picked up tackle Trysten Hill from Central Florida, guard Connor McGovern from Penn State, running back Tony Pollard of Memphis and cornerback Michael Jackson and defensive end Joe Jackson of Miami in the 2019 draft.
First game of the season, Sept. 8, 4:25 p.m. ET, AT&T Stadium
New York Giants (+250) at Dallas Cowboys (-320)
Spread: Giants +7.5 (-110)
Over/Under: Over 46.5 (-105), Under 46.5 (-105)
It’s a new look, and not a great one, for the Giants in 2019. Odell Beckham Jr. and linebacker Olivier Vernon are now Clevelanders, while safety Landon Collins moved to Washington. The Cowboys defeated the Giants twice last year and should do the same in 2019. Take the Giants plus the points, though. It’ll be closer than expected in this NFC East rivalry game.
Over/Under win total: 9
Schedule (bold font indicates home game): Giants, Redskins, Dolphins, Saints, Packers, Jets, Eagles, BYE, Giants, Vikings, Lions, Patriots, Bills, Bears, Rams, Eagles, Redskins
The second you believe in the Cowboys, they tend to let you down. So it’s a little scary to even say a 10-win season is doable for Dallas. The first half of the season is much lighter for the Cowboys. They should fall to New Orleans on the road but the real challenge lies after the bye week. The Cowboys face the Patriots, Bears and Eagles on the road and host the Rams. Let’s say Dallas loses all four of those games, plus the September contest in New Orleans. Maybe the Cowboys even drop one to the Packers, because it’s the Dallas thing to do. They still come out with 10 wins overall. Take the over.
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