A Look Back – The 2010 season was a smashing success in the eyes of most Dallas Cowboys fans. After all, the team went 11-5, won the NFC East, and ultimately broke the playoff drought by beating the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round of the playoffs before getting smashed by the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round.

Key Addition – WR Dez Bryant – Whereas other teams really did their damage in free agency, the top prize that the Cowboys acquired in the offseason is their newest receiver. Bryant just as easily could’ve been a Top 5 pick in the draft, but when he was still sitting on the board at #24, owner Jerry Jones felt the need to trade up into that slot to grab the former Okie State Cowboy to add to a passing game that is already lethal.

Dallas Cowboys NFL Football Cheerleader

Key Loss – OT Flozell Adams – Adams felt like he spent 100 years guarding various Dallas quarterbacks. This will be the first time that QB Tony Romo is going to be looking at an offensive line in front of him without Adams playing the anchor at one of the tackle spots. What makes this loss so key is the fact that there really isn’t an “heir apparent” to that position, and it could be one that is rotated amongst a number of players by the time this season is over.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – Bryant doesn’t destroy the chemistry of the offense. Though Jones and HC Wade Phillips love the added weapon to the passing game, this is already an offense that was incredibly explosive. WR Miles Austin ended up scoring 11 touchdowns and had over 1,300 receiving yards on the year, while both Pro Bowl TE Jason Witten and WR Roy Williams are dynamic as well. Add that to a rushing attack that was one of the most feared in the NFC, and the end result was an ‘O’ that put 399.4 yards per game on the board, the second most in the NFL. With Adams out of the picture, the passing game may take a hit, as Romo will have less time to throw the ball, but Bryant has the ability to jump into the slot and immediately make a huge impact as a third receiver, which could open up the field for Witten underneath as a safety valve all day long.

The Crucial Game – It feels like every season, the Cowboys and Eagles end up playing in a game of massive importance in the dying weeks of the year. This year will probably be no exception, as these two teams not only meet once in the last month of the year, but they meet twice. Dallas is most likely going to have to win at least one, if not both of those games to hold off either Philly, New York, or Washington to take down the NFC East title once again.

Predictions – Seeing this team win 11 games with this schedule would be very, very impressive, and though we think that Dallas does have the goods to be the best team in the conference, that the record may not necessarily indicate it by the end of the season. Still, we think that the Cowboys are good for ten wins, and at bare minimum a playoff spot, mostly likely as the NFC East title holders.

2010 Dallas Cowboys Regular Season Schedule

9/12 @ WAS (+3.5)
9/19 vs. CHI
9/26 @ HOU
BYE
10/10 vs. TEN
10/17 @ MIN
10/25 vs. NYG
10/31 vs. JAX
11/7 @ GB
11/14 @ NYG
11/21 vs. DET
11/25 vs. NO
12/5 @ IND
12/12 vs. PHI
12/19 vs. WAS
12/25 @ ARI
1/2 @ PHI

 

For the first time this off-season, the Indianapolis Colts are not the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but the Indianapolis Colts were definitely at the top after their Super Bowl defeat and I noticed they were still at the top a few weeks ago.

Indianapolis Colts NFL Cheerleaders

Now the Super Bowl odds list the Colts at +1000 after being +800 earlier in the offseason, slightly behind the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys who both sit at +950.

The drop is likely due to the injury to third-round draft pick CB Kevin Thomas that leaves them a little thin in the defensive secondary. They aren’t able to sign restricted free agents because they need to lose another RFA before signing one and they don’t have any RFAs left to be signed.

The only way they’ll get back to favorite status is if they are able to trade for a CB.

The San Diego Chargers are always among the top teams in the NFL and their odds were no doubt helped by the draft where they filled a number of needs. They’ll be relying on players like Ryan Mathews to improve on LaDainian Tomlinson’s 3.3 yards per carry and Cam Thomas to fill the hole left by Jamal Williams.

The Dallas Cowboys shored up their offensive line and many of their players are still on the up-sides of their career, but I’m not convinced they should be the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

 

NFL Divisional Playoffs Wrap Up

New Orleans Saints Fan
That was a good weekend of football. We saw some really good, close games and some thoroughly dominating offensive and defensive performances leaving us with one Cinderella team, the Jets, one Cinderella story, Favre and the Vikings, and two teams that delivered after promising regular seasons.

NFC Divisional Games

The Saints made the Cardinals look bad. I felt this game had blow-out potential, I just wasn’t sure which way it would go and the Saints poor play down the stretch had me leaning away from the Saints.

Way to prove me wrong.

I loved how the Vikings completely dismantled a hot Cowboys team. The combination of good preparation, the right game plan and a veteran quarterback like Favre who can bring it all together makes Minnesota a threat to any team.

As good as their respective offenses played, much of the credit has to go to the defenses who were in lock-down mode. It will be interesting to see whether it’s the veteran savvy of Favre or the overwhelming force of Drew Brees and the other Saints stars that gets the upper hand on the defenses.

Early NFL conference final odds have the Saints favored by four points. I don’t want to under-estimate the Saints after underestimating them last week, but I’m going to have a long hard think before betting against the Vikings.

AFC Divisional Games

The Chargers-Jets game played out almost exactly as I expected, although I didn’t account for the Jets ability to wear down opposing defenses and thought they’d be up early. The Jets aren’t going to play any pretty games, or at least they aren’t going to win them, but it’s nice seeing a team buck the trend to pass-heavy offenses and succeed.

Too many coaches are like sheep always building teams that emulate the most recent Super Bowl winners when there’s more than one way to win.

I also got the Ravens-Colts game right except that the Ravens surprised me with how much they passed. When the Ravens got the early field goal, it felt like Manning just decided that there was no way the Ravens were going to outplay the Colts and immediately quelled any doubt.

The AFC Final odds favor the Colts by 7.5. It’s a lot to cover and you know the Jets will play them tough, but the Colts are better equipped to deal with the Jets than the Chargers who really didn’t match up well.

Minnesota Vikings Playoff Fan

The Minnesota Vikings fresh off of two weeks rest face one of the hottest team in the playoffs when the Dallas Cowboys visit the Metrodome on Sunday January 17th.

The Vikings (-150) are 2.5-point NFL playoffs betting favorites over the Cowboys (+130) and the over/under is 45.5.

Minnesota finished the season with a dominating 44-7 victory over the New York Giants showing that the Vikings are playing well and ready for the playoffs.

They won’t get the same results as they did against New York, but you can be sure that Minnesota will be in top form when they play the Cowboys.

Dallas is the hottest team in the league right now. They ended New Orleans’ perfect season and then knocked off the previous hottest team in the league twice in a row and in convincing fashion.

Cowboys running back Marion Barber has been missing practice with a knee problem and might not be ready to go for the game. But Dallas has some very capable replacements in Tashard Choice and Felix Jones.

Choice and Jones picked up 190 yards between them last week against the Eagles while Barber was limited to just three carries.

Having three good backs can really make a difference if the game plan is to wear the defense out on the run, but the Minnesota defense is probably hoping to see a lot of runs.

The Vikings defense has allowed just an average of just 87.1 rushing yards per game, so don’t expect any big rushing plays like the 72-yarder that Jones had last week.

As good as Dallas’ running game has been, this offense hinges on how quarterback Tony Romo distributes the ball and Romo has been doing a particularly good job of keeping defenses off balance of late.

Minnesota hasn’t lost at home all season, but then New England hadn’t lost a playoff game at home in like forever and we all know what happened there.

There are a lot of good reasons to like Minnesota in this game, but given the way Dallas is playing and how Romo is improving I smell a good chance for an upset.

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On Saturday Night January 9, 2010 Cowboy Football took a major leap forward. The first playoff victory for the Dallas Cowboys since 1996. 12 years in the waiting. The Philadelphia Eagles took their second straight loss at the hands of their NFC east rivals. Much was said about Tony Romo and his inability to win a playoff game, those comments disappeared into the toasty climate that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has provided with his 1.5 billion dollar stadium for America’s team.

Much was said about the comments that the Philadelphia Eagles made publicly trying to downplay their shut-out loss six days ago. The importance of the game last week was down played as well, to Andy Reid’s credit, not by him. Many will speculate that Donovan McNabb should not have a chance to quarterback this club next year, with his contract guaranteed through 2010, I do not see many other choices. Wide receiver, Deshawn Jackson was running his mouth through his writing on twitter, yet another avenue for players to reach fans, and in the process put their feet (both of them) in their mouths. Jackson did just that. Jackson said that Cowboy football, corner backs included could not cover him. I guess it is not a good idea to upset players, when you have not had too much success against them to start off with.

Jackson did just that. The Philadelphia Eagles spiraled out of control on the field, and when DeMarcus Ware slapped the ball out of the grip of McNabb’s hand last night, the ball and the Eagle’s season went to the ground and out the window. The Dallas Cowboys are off to Minnesota for Sunday’s game next week. I cannot sit here and write like Jackson did, truthfully I do not know enough about the Vikings to do that. What I do know is the Cowboy Football is peaking right, regardless of the opponent. Romo keep your magic working, Defense keep your philosophy – “See someone, hit someone”. The game will take care of itself. For Deshawn Jackson, tweet this!

This is our year… Cowboy Football

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