As far as the Dallas Cowboys were concerned, it pretty much came down to them being a very formidable side when they had Ezekiel Elliott in the lineup and an offense that looked very confused when he was not in action. With all of this suspension business behind him, Elliott can look forward to playing a full schedule, and VietBet customers have to take that into consideration when evaluating the Cowboys relative to the rest of the NFC East.
2018 Dallas Cowboys Odds:
In the NFL futures odds posted on the Cowboys by the people at VietBet, they are +360 to win the NFC East championship, +1200 to emerge from the NFC playoffs, and +2500 to win the Super Bowl championship.
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Dak Prescott did not have a really good season last year, and it was clear that having Elliott around was something that was absolutely critical to his success as a rookie. Prescott had 22 touchdown passes, tossed 13 interceptions and accounted for 300 yards in a game only once. In a sense, his job might be a little more difficult this season, because he will be missing some weapons.
One of those is tight end Jason Witten, who decided to hang up his cleats and will make his living from the broadcast booth. Another is Dez Bryant, the boisterous and controversial wide receiver who is out on the free-agent market. So one of the big questions is whether Dallas has been able to sufficiently address the holes that were left by both of these players.
Certainly, some moves could still be made, but it looks as if the Cowboys are looking at some people who are not necessarily all that proven at the tight end position. Geoff Swaim appears to be the guy with the inside track to be the starter, and Blake Jarwin, Rico Gathers and draft choice Dalton Schultz will battle for playing time.
There has been somewhat of a shakeup at wide receiver. Allen Hurns, who has experienced good seasons in Jacksonville, is now part of that corps, and a lot of people are expecting big things out of rookie Michael Gallup, who was the third-round pick out of Colorado State. He appears to do just about everything well, and we think you’ll have a chance to at least be that third wide receiver.
Recognizing that there was some decline in offensive line play, the Cowboys spent a second-round pick on guard Connor Williams out of the University of Texas, and they’re extremely excited about him. Cameron Fleming, who played with New England last season, is also on board, and he’s going to add some depth up front.
Defensively, the Cowboys were eighth best in the league in terms of yardage allowed (318 per game), and they have tried to compensate for the loss of Anthony Hitchens (free-agent signing by Kansas City) by drafting Leighton Vander Esch out of Boise State with their first-round pick. He should start immediately in the middle, and could have a major impact right away. Other than that, they hope to get some additional pass rush out of Kony Ealy, a defensive end (played with the Jets last year), but the secondary will once again be a concern.
Obviously, a healthy and productive Elliott will be the trigger to an efficient Dallas offense, whether or not that is enough to seriously challenge Philadelphia in this division remains to be seen.
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By Charles Jay