It’s the time of the year when pro football pundits and armchair quarterbacks alike offer prognostications on how “America’s Team” stacks up against the competition. After an offseason that saw numerous eyebrow-raising decisions regarding high-caliber players, many outside the Cowboys organization believe that a new star is rising in the NFC East.
Writing for SBNation.com, John Stolnis claimed the Philadelphia Eagles “Don’t need Jalen Hurts to be a superstar to go to the Super Bowl.” Stolnis was far from the only writer in the nation touting the offseason moves by the Cowboys’ division rival. A total of 23 of 25 football analysts writing for NFL.com picked Philly over Dallas in this week’s “2022 Playoff Predictions” article.
“It feels like a two-team race between Philadelphia and Dallas,” wrote Marc Ross. “But while the Cowboys have taken a step back, the Eagles boast one of the most improved and talented rosters in the league after dealing for receiver A.J. Brown, signing free-agent linebacker Haason Reddick, and drafting Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean.”
“It’s not a stretch to think the ceiling for Philly is the Super Bowl – depending, of course, on the growth of Jalen Hurts.”
Haters are going to hate, and for Cowboys Dak Prescott, they can keep at it. Prescott, it seems, subscribes to the philosophy that any press is good press.
“Where we are right now, it’s all excitement. It is,” Prescott told ESPN. “It’s truly a privilege to be the quarterback of this team, to be a leader of these guys, offense, defense, this coaching staff that we have. And yeah, especially with everything being said about us – you know what I mean? – the lack of what we have, keep writing, keep talking. We’re ready to go play.”
Not even stalwart Cowboys writers Patrik Walker and Rob Phillips offered much in resounding confidence in the 2022 Dallas Cowboys when writing for the “Cowboys Mailbag: Bold Predictions.”
“I’ll take a stab at predicting [Micah Parsons] will challenge for Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record before this season reaches its conclusion,” Walker wrote. Phillips went the other way, pointing out injuries and the restructured receiving core as potential dark spots for the Cowboys in 2022.
“I’ve got Dalton Schultz becoming the second tight end in franchise history to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season,” Phillips said. “With the current injuries at wide receiver (Michael Gallup, James Washington) and now left tackle (Tyron Smith) to open the season, it’s more important than ever for Schultz to be a safety valve for Dak Prescott.”
Sharp Football Analysis offered insight into why many analysts and writers predict a rough road for Dallas in 2022. Based on the strength of schedule ratings, the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles have the two easiest season schedules.
The Washington Commanders have the sixth easiest schedule in the NFL. Dallas ranks tenth overall with a projected win record of 10.5 games, better than all but four NFL teams and over two wins more than any other NFC East team.
The Dallas Cowboys will get their first opportunity to silence critics on September 11 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to North Texas to open the season. With the seventh-easiest schedule, the Bucs are predicted to win 11.5 games in 2022 to lead the NFC.
Prescott, Parsons, and the Dallas coaching staff will need a resounding win to silence their critics. Anything less will only fuel the swirling rumors that “America’s Team” still does not have what it takes to be the best in the NFL.