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Dallas Cowboys 2018 NFL Season Preview, Las Vegas Odds & Predictions

by Aengus Moorehead

Dallas Cowboys 2018 NFL Season Preview, Las Vegas Odds & Predictions

Unlike the 2017 season when the Dallas Cowboys entered their 58th year as a 15/1 odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl which was tied for fifth-best in the league, the Texas dwellers have dipped all the way to 14th best at 26/1 to win the big game. Heck! They are barely ahead of the NY Giants, who won just three games last season, to claim the second spot in the NFC East. According to Bovada Sportsbook, the Cowboys will not make the playoffs this season as they are ninth in the NFC. The reason for such a downgrade for the Cowboys can surely be attributed to the release of wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten’s retirement along with their major fumbling in free agency this offseason.

Sure, Bryant had trouble separating while Witten had just turned 36 but the two pass-catchers still accounted for nearly 43 percent of the receptions last season which is quite substantial. This is obviously not good news for quarterback Dak Prescott who took a big step backward in his sophomore campaign. Prescott’s completion percentage and yards per attempt dropped from 67.8 to 62.9 and 8.0 to 6.8 respectively. He will try to regain his rookie touch after winning fewer games, throwing fewer yards and producing a lower passer rating. Prescott had an amazing supporting cast in 2016 but he was exposed as a run-of-the-mill quarterback talent this past season when he didn’t have the proper pieces around him.

Strapped by financial constraints, the Cowboys weren’t really able to change that entering 2018. They signed wide receiver Allen Hurns, who racked up 1,031 yards in 2015 for the Jaguars but this statistic that year was a byproduct of garbage-time numbers at the end of blowout losses. The Miami product hasn’t done anything substantial since then catching only 74 combined passes for 961 yards in his last two campaigns. Journeyman Terrance Williams is certainly not an option as a No. 1 wideout as he never top the 900-yard mark in his five seasons with the team so the Cowboys would hope that third-round draft pick Michael Gallup is the answer as a deep threat.

Dallas will be hoping that another rookie impresses at tight end as well. Dalton Schultz was chosen in the fourth round to replace Witten, but it's uncertain how effective he'll be in his first year in the pros. Dallas also seems excited about Blake Jarwin, a 2017 undrafted free agent who has yet to catch a pass in the NFL. The Cowboys will at least lay their trust on a potent rushing attack with Ezekiel Elliot and new acquisition Tavon Austin who has the potential to hurt defenses as a back out of the backfield and as a receiver as well. The Cowboys found a replacement for linebacker Anthony Hitchens in the first round, taking Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch. He will start at middle linebacker, pushing Jaylon Smith to strong-side linebacker. Sean Lee remains the mainstay - when he’s on the field. He has missed 42 games with injuries in his eight seasons.

Dallas Cowboys Offseason Moves

Notable Additions: DE Kony Ealy, FB Jamize Olawale, LB Joe Thomas, OT Cameron Fleming, WR Allen Hurns, WR Deonte Thompson, WR Tavon Austin.
Notable Departures: CB Orlando Scandrick, FB Keith Smith, G Johnathan Cooper, OLB Anthony Hitchens, OLB Kyle Wilber, RB Alfred Morris, TE Jason Witten, WR Dez Bryant, WR Brice Butler.
1st and 2nd round Draft Picks: LB Leighton Vander Esch (19), G Connor Williams (50).

2018-19 NFL Odds on Dallas Cowboys

Odds According to Bovada as of August, 2018

Dallas Cowboys 2018-19 Schedules

PRESEASON
W. Date Time Opponent Game site TV
1 August 9 10:00p.m. @San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium KTVT
2 August 18 7:00p.m. Cincinnati Bengals @&T Stadium KTVT
3 August 27 8:00p.m. Arizona Cardinals @&T Stadium NBC
4 August 30 8:00p.m. @Houston Texans NRG Stadium KTVT
REGULAR SEASON
W. Date Time Opponent Game site TV
1 September 9 4:25p.m. @Carolina Panthers Bank of America Stadium Fox
2 September 16 8:20p.m. New York Giants @&T Stadium NBC
3 September 23 4:25p.m. @Seattle Seahawks CenturyLink Field Fox
4 September 30 1:00p.m. Detroit Lions @&T Stadium Fox
5 October 7 8:20p.m. @Houston Texans NRG Stadium NBC
6 October 14 4:25p.m. Jacksonville Jaguars @&T Stadium CBS
7 October 21 4:25p.m. @Washington Redskins FedExField CBS
8 Bye
9 November 5 8:15p.m. Tennessee Titans @&T Stadium ESPN
10 November 11 8:20p.m. @Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field NBC
11 November 18 1:00p.m. @Atlanta Falcons Mercedes-Benz Stadium Fox
12 November 22 4:30p.m. Washington Redskins @&T Stadium Fox
13 November 29 8:20p.m. New Orleans Saints @&T Stadium Fox/NFLN
14 December 9 4:25p.m. Philadelphia Eagles @&T Stadium Fox
15 December 16 1:00p.m. @Indianapolis Colts Lucas Oil Stadium Fox
16 December 23 1:00p.m. Tampa Bay Buccaneers @&T Stadium Fox
17 December 30 1:00p.m. @New York Giants MetLife Stadium Fox

All Time Eastern

The Bottom Line:
The problem with the Cowboys this year is that they first have a tough schedule with road games to Carolina, Seattle Philadelphia and Atlanta to name a few. They also have home games against top teams in the likes of New Orleans, Jacksonville and the Eagles again. To boot, they dwell in the NFC Conference where six teams racked up double-digit wins last season. If you could pick your six NFC playoff teams right this minute, there are a few good teams that doesn’t appear on the ballot. Fundamentally, this is where the Cowboys land.

Last year’s NFL Season record: 9-7

Aengus Moorehead NFL Prediction Cowboys (8-8): Under 8 (-130) at Bovada

Bet on the Dallas 2018 Season at Bovada Sportsbook.

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allen hurns - blake jarwin - connor williams - dak prescott - dalton schultz - deonte thompson - ezekiel elliot - jaylon smith - leighton vander esch - michael gallup

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