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2013 Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys come into every season with sky high expectations due in part their ego-maniac owner Jerry Jones, the "America's Team" label and their extravagant stadium known as "Jerry's World." Forbes also just ranked the Cowboys as the most valuable franchise in the United States at more than $2.1 billion. The problem is all these great accolades have not translated into winning seasons for the Cowboys over the last three years. Dallas got off to a poor start last season, going 3-5 straight-up and against the spread in the first half. The Cowboys then turned things around a bit, ripping off five wins in six weeks (3-3 ATS) to get themselves back into playoff contention before losing their last two games of the year, including the regular-season finale against the Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football that was a "win and you're in" game. Dallas lost that NFC East rivalry matchup 28-18, finished 8-8 overall and missed the postseason for the third year in a row.
No quarterback in the league is under more pressure to perform well than Cowboys QB Tony Romo. While Romo's numbers actually looked pretty good on paper last year -- he passed for over 4,900 yards with 28 touchdowns and 19 interceptions -- he failed to lead his team into the playoffs yet again, which is what really matters. In his third season with the Cowboys, wide receiver Dez Bryant finally came to life and showed his potential, hauling in 92 receptions for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. Dallas running back DeMarco Murray missed six games due to injury, but he still managed to put up over 900 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. But the Cowboys rushing attack was a mess overall, ranking 31st in the league at 79.1 yards per game on the ground. All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware was a monster for the team on the other side of the ball, recording 11+ sacks for the seventh straight season.
The Cowboys underwent some key personnel changes this offseason in hopes of getting back to the playoffs. Many people thought Jason Garrett would be fired after failing to reach the postseason in his first two seasons as the full-time head coach. However, Jones chose to retain him and instead decided to fire foul-mouthed defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, whose defense was ranked 19th or worse in the key defensive categories. Veteran defensive mind Monte Kiffin was hired as Ryan's replacement after working for his son Lane as DC at USC. Then Garrett was stripped of his play-calling duties with offensive coordinator Bill Callahan taking over. Callahan's plays could be the key in determining whether he and Garrett are around after this year, as Jones locked up Romo for the rest of his career with a six-year, $108 million contract extension, making him the highest paid player in Cowboys history. Many NFL experts felt Dallas had a pretty mediocre draft and did not do much to fill team needs after losing free agents Mike Jenkins, Marcus Spears, Gerald Sensabaugh, Felix Jones and Kevin Ogletree.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes have the Cowboys set at O/U 8.5 wins for this upcoming season. While they hired a defensive coordinator and changed up who will be calling plays, this team still has too much uncertainty that should keep Dallas from winning more than eight games.
Recommended Play: UNDER 8.5
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