Now that the start of NFL training camps are less than a month away, the Dallas Cowboys look ready to repeat as NFC East champions. But unlike last season, they are no longer considered favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and that downgrade is directly related the personnel they lost in the offseason.
Losing a talented group of players like Amari Cooper, La’el Collins, Cedrick Wilson, and Randy Gregory is a significant blow to any team. And not replacing them with at least comparable talent makes these tempered off-season predictions understandable.
However, the Cowboys are not the only NFC team to lose some key players on both sides of the ball this offseason. The tops dogs in the NFC, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, and defending Super Champs, Los Angeles Rams, all have question marks that makes them beatable.
The Dallas Cowboys may have suffered significant losses this past offseason, but so did other teams in the NFC
Let’s dive into a few teams that lost some star players and contributors this past season, and why Dallas is still in the thick of things.
The NFC is wide open for the Dallas Cowboys
The Los Angeles Rams are the defending Super Bowl champions until it’s proven otherwise, and even though the Rams have doled out millions of dollars to star players to keep them competitive, they also lost some players, too.
The Rams lost future Hall of Famer edge rusher Von Miller, Darious Williams, Austin Corbett, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, and Sebastian Joseph-Day. Further, the Rams didn’t necessarily replace them, either.
The Rams won’t have free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr either. OBJ will likely miss most of the 2022 season recovering from a torn ACL injury suffered during the Rams Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Of course, the Rams can re-sign OBJ, but not having him will severely impact how teams cover fellow wideouts, Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson.
The Bucs still have Tom Brady, but losing talented tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement is going to hurt the Bucs offense because Cameron Brate is not “Gronk. Ultra-talented star wideout Antonio Brown is no longer on the roster, and former head coach Bruce Arians moved to the front office.
Yes, Brady still has wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who is recovering from a torn ACL injury. Godwin won’t see the field until the middle of the season, and the Bucs are going to need more than their overrated defense to make them a threat. Brady might be the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history, but Brady isn’t winning Super Bowls without the skill position players he had when he won his seventh Lombardi trophy.
Now look north. Simply put, the Packers lost the best wide receiver in the NFL when they traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. As a result, the Packers fell off the top of the food chain without Adams. Aaron Rodgers might have the best arm talent the NFL has ever seen, but just like Brady, he’s going to miss not having Adams’ production.
There is only so much an elite signal caller like Rodgers can do with a #2WR, #3WR, etc. With Adams taking on double teams, it helps the other receivers and makes running back, Aaron Jones, a lethal receiving threat out of the backfield. Those other wideouts are NOT considered #1WR for a reason. Add to the fact the Packers defense is vulnerable, they’re more than beatable.
Now take into consideration what Dallas has lost and stack it up against those three teams and what they lost, too. At the end of the day, its “even Steven” baby!
Keep in mind that Dallas returns the majority of its defensive players on a defense that led the league in takeaways. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is coaching his type of players in Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Trevon Diggs, and a few other promising players.
They will have the confidence booster in 2022!
In other words, there are no teams that have a dominant offensive firework of players to keep defensive coordinators up at night. The Bucs may have a defensive minded coach in Todd Bowles, but the Bucs secondary is suspect and lost its share of players, too. Remember Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh remain unsigned.
I wrote an article three weeks ago stating how Dallas’ offense will have some surprised impact players to keep the offensive fireworks humming. That scenario is highly likely to happen, and when it does come to fruition, Dallas will have a high-powered offense to match with their very opportunistic defense.
Even if you don’t like head coach Mike Mcarthy and all of his flaws, he will still boost one of-if not-best teams in the NFC when it is all said and done.
Outside of those three teams, there are teams NOT to sleep on like the New Orleans Saints (a team that has more playmakers than the Bucs). Then there are the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals (with the former being more legit than the latter).
Dallas is already slated to play the Bucs, Rams, and Packers this upcoming season in games that will be pivotal in seeding for the playoffs. With McCarthy and Kellen Moore on the hot seat and Dak Prescott still having to silence his critics, I expect the Dallas Cowboys to come out swinging in their season opener against the Bucs and finally beating Brady. Setting the table for a successful season.
I say that because there is proof their championship window is still open. At least for this season.