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Know Your Enemy: Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys had a strong year in 2018 and won the NFC East at 10-6. Head coach Jason Garrett has been there forever along with DC Rod Marinelli. The OC has changed with Scott Linehan out and former Lions backup QB Kellen Moore in as OC. Should be an interesting year in Jerry’s World.

Strengths

Run Game

Ezekiel Elliot is a monster running back with 1,434 yards and 6 TDs in 2018. He added 567 yards and 3 TDs receiving too. Elliot is unhappy with his rookie contract and wants a new deal. His hold-out is huge if he misses time for Dallas. Darius Jackson and rookies Tony Pollard (4th round) and Mike Weber (7th round) leave a lot to be desired. Dallas re-added Alfred Morris as well.

Offensive Line

Dallas has a great offensive line led by left tackle Tyron Smith and right guard Zach Martin. Center Travis Frederick missed all of last year with an illness and is a big boost at center for Dallas.  Connor Williams returns at left guard as a 2nd round pick from 2018. La’el Collins is a good right tackle. Cameron Fleming, veteran Joe Looney, Xavier Su’Filo and rookie Connor McGovern (3rd round) is strong depth too.

There will be holes for the running back and Dak Prescott should be well protected in 2019.

Defensive Line

The Cowboys can get after the opposing QB led by Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence just got a huge pay day but had shoulder surgery. The Cowboys hope he is ready to play by Week 1. Dallas traded for Robert Quinn (former Ram and Dolphin) and Taco Charlton enters year 2 as a first round pick from 2018. Randy Gregory is suspended for the year but rookie Joe Jackson (5th round) is the 4th DE.

The defensive tackles are solid with Maliek Collins, Antwuan Woods, Christian Covington, Tyronne Crawford and rookie 2nd round pick Trysten Hill. Dallas has a formidable front.

Linebacker

Jaylon Smith is reaching his prime and Leighton Vander Esch looks like a great first round pick from 2018. Sean Lee provides veteran support despite his injury history and Justin March Lilliard gets a crack at the SAM spot. The Cowboys should be strong at LB led by Smith and Vander Esch.

CB

Bryron Jones is an excellent number 1 CB. Young players in Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown continue to get better at CB2 and nickel.

Weapons

Amari Cooper was a great mid-season trade for the Cowboys. He bolstered their offense for Prescott and gave him a reliable number 1. Michael Gallup grows in year 2 and Randall Cobb was added in the slot. Jason Witten returns from retirement for one last Super Bowl chance with the Cowboys. The depth lacks with Noah Brown, injured Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin and Cedrick Wilson. Dallas will need to stay healthy at WR.

QB

Dak Prescott had a good year in 2018 with 96.4 QB rating. He has mobility and makes the big plays when the Cowboys need it. He is playing for a new big contract right now and will need to impress in 2019. He has the run game, protection and weapons leaving him no excuse but to have a big year.

Weaknesses

Safety

Safety is a bit weaker with Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier and George Illoka. They missed out on Earl Thomas in free agency.

Depth

The team lacks depth at QB, RB, WR, LB and CB. It will be their downfall if injuries mount. The NFC East isn’t that strong though other than the Eagles.

Schedule

The Cowboys were 7-1 at home and 3-5 on the road last year.  Dallas hosts Green Bay in Week 5 and the Vikings in Week 10. Dallas travels to Detroit in Week 11 and Chicago in Week 14. Detroit and Chicago have the home field advantage here but Green Bay would have the most advantage if an Elliot hold out lingers. Dallas will be a tough game for all four North teams but they are still beatable, especially outside of Dallas.