SportDFW Mailbag: Will the Dallas Cowboys Win the NFC East?


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We would like to thank the writers from The Landry Hat for continuing to share their thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys questions.

Our question this week comes all the way from England.

"David Tizzard, Dover, England:  Will the Cowboys win the NFC East?  If not, who will?"

Texas Brady, Special Contrinutor:

Jun 12, 2012; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) during minicamp at Dallas Cowboys headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

David, I would love to say that the Dallas Cowboys will win the East. Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have made some moves that will certainly make the Boys more competitive than the 2011 squad.  

The addition of corners Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, and safety Brodney Pool, will make last years weak spot is now a strength and should be for years to come.  

Also, Kyle Orton could start on most NFL teams. This is a huge advantage for the offense if Romo gets injured.

The question with the Cowboys is the OL. It is hard to predict how the young guys from last year, the veteran free agents pick-ups, and potential newcomers like Ron Leary will fare against the aggressive pass-rush of their opponents in the East.

If the Cowboys don’t win the East, the Eagles will.

My loyalties win out. Remember, any team in the East (even the Redskins) could win the division, but this is the way I see it: 

  1. Dallas Cowboys will win the East going 11-5
  2. Philadelphia Eagles 10-6
  3. New York Giants 9-7 again
  4. Washington Redskins 6-10

The belief that the Cowboys can win 11 games is based on DeMarco Murray staying relatively healthy and rushing for 1200 to 1400 yard season. With Felix Jones as a great change of pace back, this could be the most lethal backfield in the NFL in 2012With Dez set for his best year, Miles Austin healthy, and Jason Witten, this offense will be an elite offense.

I have not even touched on Tony Romo, the QB everyone loves to hate. If the Cowboys keep Romo on his feet this year, he should have his best year ever. Tony has really matured, and it will show this year.  If Romo can just feed the ball to Murray once they have a lead, the offense will be hard to stop.  Let’s just hope everyone stays healthy.

Justin Brumit, Staff Writer:

Dec 4, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr (39) intercepts a pass intended for wide receiver Johnny Knox (13) during the second half at Soldier Field. The Chiefs defeated the Bears 10-3. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

I feel like I say this every year, but yes I believe they will win the East. 

Rob Ryan has had a year with the defense albeit a year that wasn’t great at all, but the additions of Brandon Carr, Maurice Claiborne, and Brodney Poole to the secondary are going to be huge.  The Cowboys now have 3 very good corners and the safety’s should be servicable giving the front seven an opportunity to get after the quarterback. 

The offense didn’t have any huge additions but getting a healthy Demarco Murray back should be major boost.  The offensive line added some depth in the off-season, and if Dez Bryant and Miles Austin can produce the way they are capable of, the Cowboys should be looking at not only being the best team in the NFC East, but one of the best in the NFL.

Todd Toombs, Staff Writer at The Landry Hat (his posts are here):

The NFC East will be a battle again as it always is with every team capable of claiming they’ve improved.  

Dec 24, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) throws in the pocket in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. The Eagles beat the Cowboys 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Looking at the way the schedules fall for each team, I give the Eagles a bit of an edge, and would be shocked if they did not end up winning the division.  They were playing at a very high level at the end of last season and paid a price for their early struggles, or they would have likely won the division last year. 

The Eagles also seem to have the Cowboys number the last couple of seasons, and I’m not yet convinced the Cowboys have enough weapons to overcome that. 

My objective side says the Cowboys are likely a wild card at best – and will miss the playoffs entirely again if they can’t play better in December.  A brutal schedule may leave the Giants on the outside looking in this year.  It’s tough for a dominant team to repeat much less a team that barely made the playoffs last year and just got on a very good roll at the right time.   It’s unlikely they can capture that magic in back-to-back years.

Johnathan Barger, Staff Writer at The Landry Hat (his posts are here):

June 12 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman (8) throws the ball during Redskins Minicamp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

The Giants lost a lot of depth and personnel due to cap restraints, and they were unable to add any significant personnel to make up for the loss. 

The Eagles (on paper) are still one of the best teams in the league, but they will live and die by Vick’s health. 

It might come down to the Cowboys Dec 30th game against the Redskins to push us over the hump for the divisional crown, but don’t expect us to be the underdog going into the final game of the season.

CowgirlCas, Staff Writer:

December 28, 2008; Philadelphia, PA USA; Philadelphia Eagles Darren Howard (90) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9). The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 44-6 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

That’s a tough question. The defensive secondary has clearly been upgraded which should help with the pass rush. However, once again Jerry Jones has failed to significantly upgrade the offensive line. This effects the Cowboys ability to run the ball in the red zone. 

The Giants and the Eagles have continually upgraded their pass rush. The Eagles also addressed their offensive line this year, which has been one of their weaknesses.

The Cowboys’ success will depend on whether or not they can keep Tony upright. Last year both the Giants and the Eagles were able to take Tony out of the game.

As much as I would like to say the Cowboys will win the East, at this point I can’t. I am going to say the Eagles or the Giants. They both get too much pressure on Tony for our offense to be dominant against them. 

C. Joseph Wright, Senior Editor:

Despite last season’s Super Bowl, the team to beat is the Eagles.  That is partially because of the way they have beat the Cowboys in recent years, and partially because of their personnel. The Eagles have a very talented roster, so if they can keep everyone happy and play as a team, they will be very good.  Other than the erratic play and injury problems of Michael Vick, the other thing that Philly fans should be concerned about is whether Juan Castillo is going to be an effective defensive coordinator.

The Redskins are still the weakest team in the division.  Even if Griffin is a franchise QB, which I am far from convinced he is, they just don’t have the offensive firepower of the other teams.  Even if their defense was better than some of the others in the division, it isn’t good enough to make up for a rookie QB when facing Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and Michael Vick.

The Giants looked average for much more of 2011 than they looked like a NFL champions. They played very well as a team for the last game or two of the regular season and the playoffs. The Giants don’t appear to have improved significantly from last season.

November 5, 2011; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Morris Claiborne (17) intercepts a pass intended for Alabama Crimson Tide tight end Brad Smelley (17) during the third quarter at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

The Dallas Cowboys will field a much improved team in 2012. The Cowboys will be better in many ways, but the two most important are Rob Ryan having a full offseason with the defense, and the huge upgrades to the secondary.  Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne improve the defense significantly.  Tony Romo and the offense will score points against most defenses even with an mediocre OL. The improved defense should result in 2-3 more wins in the all the close games the Cowboys play, so the Cowboys should have a legitimate shot to win the NFC East.

Like every year, the winner of the NFC East will probably be decided in the final 2 weeks of the season.  The Cowboys’ schedule in December is a bit daunting: they play Philly, then away at Cincinnati, home to Pittsburgh, then New Orleans, then on the road against the Redskins for the finale.  They will need to win at least 2, probably 3 of those games to win the East.  I would like to believe they can, but the last couple seasons suggest that it is not very likely.

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