NFC East Draft Recap

NFC East Draft Review

With the NFL draft done, all 32 teams now have their draft picks set heading into the summer and fall. Over the next few days, we’ll be taking a look at each team, division by division, in order to see who came out of the draft with players that fit both need and value.

 

Today, we’re starting things off with the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were expected to target defense or offensive line with their first pick, but they couldn’t refuse when Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb fell to them at 17th overall. Dallas quickly snatched up Lamb, with a plan for him to join Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as one of the team’s starting receivers.

 

Day two of the draft saw the Cowboys address their defense. With their second and third round picks respectively, they took Alabama CB Trevon Diggs and Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore. Diggs is a candidate to start at corner to replace the departed-Byron Jones, while Lamb’s teammate Gallimore will provide depth on the interior of the defensive line.

 

On the final day, Dallas was able to marry need and value with their selections. They added another cornerback in Tulsa’s Reggie Robinson, and found a new potential starting center in Tyler Biadasz from Wisconsin. In one of the best value picks of the draft, the Cowboys ended up with Utah DE Bradlee Anae, a potential third-round pick, near the end of round five at No. 179 overall. They closed their draft out with a quarterback in the seventh round, going with Ben DiNucci from James Madison.

 

Overall, draft experts praised Dallas’ draft, with some even calling it one of the two or three best in the league. It’s hard to disagree, as the Cowboys came out of the draft with several players ready to make an impact right away.

New York Giants

At fourth overall, the Giants had their pick of offensive linemen in order to boost a group that has struggled for several years. They ultimately decided to take Georgia OT Andrew Thomas with their first round pick, a surprise to some. But just as many experts also felt New York got it right with the pick, as Thomas will be a day one starter at either left or right tackle.

 

New York has a perfect combination of need and value met in the second round when they selected Alabama S Xavier McKinney. McKinney was expected to be a first round pick, and should be able to start at either safety spot next to Jabrill Peppers. The Giants then used their round three pick at 99 overall to select the big OT Matt Peart from UConn.

 

Armed with seven picks on day three, including four seventh round picks, the Giants targeted defense. Some notable selections included UCLA CB Darnay Holmes, Penn State LB Cam Brown and Minnesota LB Carter Coughlin. Their only offensive pick on Saturday was Oregon OG Shane Lemieux, who they plan to cross-train at center.

 

As a whole, the Giants made sure that offensive line and athletes on defense, their two biggest needs heading in, were met. Although they didn’t draft a center, true pass-rusher, or even a wide receiver, it was considered a successful draft for New York.

Philadelphia Eagles

With a clear need at wideout heading into the draft, the Eagles did in fact go wide receiver in round one. Although it wasn’t the receiver many people thought it would be, as the team passed on LSU’s Justin Jefferson in favor of TCU WR Jalen Reagor. Even though it was a little bit of a surprise pick, Reagor should provide explosiveness to their offense.

 

Philadelphia continued the surprises on day two, taking Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts in the second round. The Heisman Trophy finalist becomes the backup to Carson Wentz and a viable option in case Wentz gets hurt. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if Hurts was used on certain packages and option plays for the time being. They finished the day with Davion Taylor, the speedy linebacker from Colorado.

 

The draft experts loved Philadelphia’s day three picks, with GM Howie Roseman finding some great value late. Clemson S K’Von Wallace was picked in the fourth round after some believed he could go as high as the second round. They also picked, among others, Auburn OG Jack Driscoll and Boise State WR John Hightower, both of whom were good value picks. In addition to four more day three picks, the Eagles also traded for 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin.

 

Even though some of their earlier picks were considered a little puzzling, the Eagles definitely targeted wide receiver and filled that need. They also improved their depth along the offensive line and at pass-rusher. It’s a solid draft that could be considered brilliant if Hurts ends up becoming a huge piece for them.

Washington Redskins

After the Bengals got the draft started with QB Joe Burrow, the Redskins had the next no-brainer pick and took Ohio State EDGE Chase Young. Young was the draft’s best defensive prospect, and should be a staple on Washington’s defensive line for years to come.

 

With no second round pick, Washington’s only day two selection was a running back near the beginning of the third round, Memphis’ Antonio Gibson. Gibson is a do-it-all running back who new head coach Ron Rivera can deploy in a multitude of ways.

 

Day three was a busy day for the Redskins. The action started with a trade of disgruntled OT Trent Williams to the 49ers in exchange for a fifth round pick this year and a third rounder for next year. With Williams gone, Washington selected his potential replacement in the fourth round, LSU OT Saahdiq Charles. Liberty WR Antonio Gandy-Golden was a good value pick in the fifth round, as was San Diego State C Keith Ismael, who was taken with the pick acquired from San Francisco. The team had three more picks to wrap up the day, including N.C. State EDGE James Smith-Williams, to close out their draft.

 

Desperate for impact players, the Redskins certainly got that in Young, with Gibson and Charles also expected to see the field often. They are hoping that their good draft, paired with the new coach and the development of QB Dwayne Haskins, can propel them out of the division cellar.

 

When you are ready to bet on the teams from the NFC East – head to PayPerHead247; our favorite pay per head bookie site.

The most disappointing NFL Teams of 2019

There are a lot of teams that I could go with. The Los Angeles Chargers, the over-hyped Cleveland Browns, or the high expectation of the Dallas Cowboys.
But the team that I have to choose are the LA Rams. LA had some really high expectations as the reigning NFC champs. Then the Rams won just 3 of their first 6 games. Losing a shootout to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 55-40. The Buccaneers – a team with a QB who seems to love throwing the ball to the other team, as much as put TDs on the boards. With all of awesome talent they have on this team – I’m honestly not sure how that’s even possible. They seemed to only win the games they should win – vs the middling to bad teams this season.

The Rams returned this season with the core of guys from last season’s Super Bowl team – and returning to the big game, was surely their thought. But, the Rams not only failed to repeat a strong campaign, but they missed the playoffs. The Rams took a great big step forward in 2018, going 12-4 and getting to the Bowl – most saw them as being the team to beat in the NFC again this year. Then they started tumbling after their 3 game skid in late Sept to early October, where they just never seemed to get it back together.

Todd Gurley’s 2019 year, was far from being the player that we saw over the last few seasons. He put up just 57 YDs/game to last years 89 YDs/game – and only 31 receptions to last seasons 59 catches. His touches went way down – something was just not right with #30 this season – and we all witnessed it. QB Jared Goff was not sharp – passing inconsistency has been a key all year – his passing TD% of throws was the lowest since his rookie season in 2016 – he struggled in many ways to play like last year’s guy.
It felt like LA would make the final push for a ring in 2019. After such a great season in 2018 – nothing about the team really seemed to fire on all cylinders this year. Their rushing D was poor, their offense was shaky, and their Oline was just tolerable.
There was a lot more expected of the defense especially when they have Aaron Donald, Dante Fowler’s season, bringing in Clay Matthews, and then bringing in Jalen Ramsey. Donald was his usual dominant self – maybe not the ginormous wrecking ball that we saw last year – but he was excellent still. Ramsey brought a shutdown kind of play on the field and Fowler was all over the field in his best season ever. But, they still weren’t able to make the plays when needed, or stop teams from pounding the rock on the ground over and over.

They were expected to be far better than just going 9-7, that’s for sure – it is truly mystifying how the Rams have fallen since their Super Bowl.
It goes to show how fast things can turn around for any team, in a short while.

What is the definition of a sports dynasty

We as sports fans have watched a multitude of great teams come and go over many tears of watching the amazing sports that we love. Teams like the Boston Celtics, the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and most recently, the New England Patriots. What is one thing that we could all actually be in agreeance on.  Odds are, they have been consistent historical winners, and oftentimes, the sheer mentioning of these teams brings anger and frustration to fans of other teams, and opposing fan bases get annoyed and aggravated when hearing about them.
Because they have been incredibly successful. They had a period where they were dominating their division, their conferences, and their leagues for a lengthy amount of time, and this in itself, angers others. And if we are being completely honest with ourselves, as fans, they are the teams that we wish our teams could emulate. Who wouldn’t love their underachieving, yet steady 7-9 football team to rack up 12 wins in the season every year, like the New England Patriots or have the reputation and great players, seemingly always, like Pittsburgh and be a preseason favorite to win it all, before the season even begins? We all would love that.
By definition from dictionary.com – a dynasty is regarded as a noun 1. a sequence of hereditary rulers: an Egyptian dynasty or 2. any sequence of powerful leaders of the same family: the Kennedy dynasty
But is that what you, as a sports fan consider as a dynasty?
A ruler?
Lets examine.
A teams season wins count for something. A winning team that has been putting up a large amount of wins a season for a lengthy and long period of time is a huge component for being called a dynasty. In the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers have racked up a .654 win pct over the last 3 seasons – which is far ahead of the next best teams in the Eastern conference  like hot teams like the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics. Winning is hard anyway you look at it, but winning 65% of your games for a lengthy period of time is pretty impressive. Not having the oddball eye opening season of big wins, like the New York Giants or the Portland Trail Blazers – but the 15 straight seasons of 10 wins or more like the New England  Patriots or 8 of the last 11 seasons, like the Pittsburgh Steelers  is something to be admired.
Playoff appearances have to count for a huge part of the equation, absolutely. For instance, New England has made the tournament for 9 straight seasons. The fact is, a team that has been able to utterly dominate their division and blow passed them, and get to the playoffs for so many years straight, is pretty impressive. Who wouldn’t want to feel they had a team that did that every single season? And making it to the championship of their sport is beyond comprehension for the vast majority of sports fans. It isn’t commonplace, which is sometimes misunderstood. What the Buffalo Bills did back in the 90’s was amazing, lets be completely honest about that. How many teams make the Super Bowl – let alone, 4 straight? I will tell you…. it doesn’t happen, that is why we always cherish the precious moment if our team makes it there.
Do you seriously consider the Bills a dynasty though? Or when you think of dynasties do you think of Troy Aikman and the Dallas Cowboys? You think of Dallas and I will tell you why. Not only did they win 3 Super Bowls during a 4 year timeframe, but they were one of the teams to beat for about a decade. And going back to an original statement – why do you think Dallas has so many fans that dislike the team? Because they won and they won for a long period of time.
That’s why.
Championships are the ultimate way to openly judge a dynasty. How many times have they won the top honors as the ultimate team to beat. The Yankees won 5 championships over 14 years from 1996-2009, and made it to the World Series 6 times in 8 years. The Patriots have made it to at least the conference championship at least 10 times over 15 seasons. And the Celtics hung up 11 titles from 1956 to 1968.
It’s trying for most of teams, especially those that are usually a middling organization, like the New Orleans Saints, the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers and you may question why or what happened, or the best of the hypothetical questions  the “what if…” Trust me, we all have entertained those deep thoughts in our heads….but then reality comes back around, and who  actually completed their goals and made the right draft picks and hired the right coaches.
Regardless of how you calculate the way you measure a teams success factor to be a dynasty. A team that wins and wins big consistently for a multitude of years, that’s what a dynasty is. A team that doesn’t play down to their opponents, a team that teams fear, and wins across their league – that is the true signs and key to being called a real dynasty. A team that seems to never get worse, a team that thrill their fans and infuriates fans of other teams, based on their immense amount of success, that is when your team has become a real dynasty.
In sports games we often judge a team, by their championships, or a player, often unfairly, by the 5 boxes that we look at. But a team that brings championships to teams, is the ultimate sign of success for an organization, and those are considered what makes a true dynasty.

2017 VegasTopDogs NFL SEASON PREDICTIONS

We have just about made it!

The 2017 offseason has been long and we have all waited for our teams to strap on their battle gear – lace up their cleats, and start showing us again, why we obsess over them. The Bucs have made some nice improvements to their team – and Miami has not done much of anything worth being too up or down about. Some teams, as we all know, fall way short of great expectations – and others end up shocking the rest of the league – these are just some of the reasons we love the NFL.
Things could always change.

And likely will throughout the season.

As we all know, hate fact if you want to, but the Cowboys and the Patriots are really good. The Browns are not a good team, and the Jaguars are not going to be competing again this year either. But – there are still plenty of games to be played – some huge games – some games that are nothing more than practice runs for the real ones. But with all that being said – lets take a look at the 2017 VTD FULL ON NFL Predictions for the season.
With playoff indicators and playoffs.
Lets get ready!!

Z – division champion
Y – wildcard

AFC EAST
Z – New England Patriots last season; 14-2
2017 predicted record; 13-3
strengths; talent
weakness; special teams

Y – Miami Dolphins last season; 10-6
2017 predicted record; 10-6
strengths; special teams
weakness; chemistry

Buffalo Bills last season; 7-9
2017 predicted record; 6-10
strengths; running game
weakness; QB

New York Jets last season; 5-11
2017 predicted record; 4-12
strengths; RBs
weakness; QB

AFC NORTH
Z – Pittsburgh Steelers last season; 11-5
2017 predicted record; 10-6
strengths; offensive line
weakness; aging

Cincinnati Bengals last season; 6-9-1
2017 predicted record; 9-7
strengths; WR corps
weakness; offensive line

Baltimore Ravens last season; 8-8
2017 predicted record; 8-8
strengths; defense
weakness; weapons

Cleveland Browns last season; 1-15
2017 predicted record; 3-13
strengths; hope
weakness; young

AFC SOUTH
Z – Tennessee Titans last season; 9-7
2017 predicted record; 10-6
strengths; improvement
weakness; secondary

Indianapolis Colts last season; 8-8
2017 predicted record; 9-7
strengths; coaching
weakness; flawed

Houston Texans last season; 9-7
2017 predicted record; 8-8
strengths; defense
weakness; QB

Jacksonville Jaguars last season; 3-13
2017 predicted record; 4-12
strengths; recent draft
weakness; offense

AFC WEST
Z – Oakland Raiders last season; 12-4
2017 predicted record; 11-5
strengths; hot
weakness; pressure

Y – Kansas City Chiefs last season; 12-4
2017 predicted record; 10-6
strengths; turnovers
weakness; LBs

Denver Broncos last season; 9-7
2017 predicted record; 8-8
strengths; defense
weakness; schedule

LA Chargers last season; 5-11
2017 predicted record; 7-9
strengths; talent
weakness; defense

**************************************************

NFC EAST
Z – Dallas Cowboys last season; 13-3
2017 predicted record; 10-6
strengths; youth
weakness; youth

New York Giants last season; 11-5
2017 predicted record; 10-6
strengths; wide receiver corps
weakness; Oline

Washington Redskins last season; 8-7-1
2017 predicted record; 9-7
strengths; firepower
weakness; RBs

Philadelphia Eagles last season; 7-9
2017 predicted record; 8-8
strengths; Alshon Jeffery
weakness; OC play calling

NFC NORTH
Z – Green Bay Packers last season; 10-6
2017 predicted record; 12-4
strengths; Aaron Rodgers
weakness; defense

Y – Minnesota Vikings last season; 8-8
2017 predicted record; 10-6
strengths; defense
weakness; division

Detroit Lions last season; 9-7
2017 predicted record; 8-8
strengths; Matthew Stafford
weakness; turnovers

Chicago Bears last season; 3-13
2017 predicted record; 4-12
strengths; Jordan Howard
weakness; roster

NFC SOUTH
Z – Atlanta Falcons last season; 11-5
2017 predicted record; 11-5
strengths; firepower
weakness; Super Bowl hangover

Y – Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season; 9-7
2017 predicted record; 10-6
strengths; division
weakness; Oline

Carolina Panthers last season; 6-10
2017 predicted record; 8-8
strengths; offensive ability
weakness; secondary

New Orleans Saints last season; 7-9
2017 predicted record; 7-9
strengths; offense
weakness; defense

NFC WEST
Z – Seattle Seahawks last season; 10-5-1
2017 predicted record; 10-6
strengths; Russell Wilson
weakness; RBs

Arizona Cardinals last season; 7-8-1
2017 predicted record; 9-7
strengths; veteran team
weakness; age

Los Angeles Rams last season; 4-12
2017 predicted record; 5-11
strengths; division
weakness; firepower

San Francisco 49ers last season; 2-14
2017 predicted record; 5-11
strengths; schedule
weakness; talent

Mike Anthony of VegasTopDogs.com

 

2017 NFL Draft Preview

​​VegasTopDogs 2017 NFL DRAFT PREVIEW –
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With another NFL draft upcoming – that which has an excellent amount of skilled RBs in particular, with Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey, just to name s a few. And guys like Jonathan Allen, Kevin King and Myles Garrett coming out on the defensive side of the ball, this draft is going to be great.
The other positions, we have some guys who some are leery of buying fully in on. The position we are looking at, as one of the most questionable slots is the QB position. the very intriguing DeShone Kizer, Texas Tech big armed Patrick Mahomes and dual threat Deshaun Watson are looked at as some of the top QBs heading into the draft. They all have some pros, but all certainly have their obvious cons.
Kizer was only completing 58% of his passes on the season in 2016.
Mahomes had not been a great leader in 2016, losing 7 games, nothing to be too excited about.
Watson threw 17 picks.
Regardless – we are going to watch and we are going to cheer and sometimes complain at the picks. Here, we will take a projective look at the 1st rd Draft projections as to who will draft who.
Let’s get it underway!
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett – DE – Texas A&M
2. San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Allen -DT – Alabama
3. Chicago Bears: Marshon Lattimore – CB – Ohio State
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Solomon Thomas – DT – Stanford
5. Tennessee Titans (from Rams): Mike Williams – WR – Clemson
6. NY Jets: Deshaun Watson – QB – Clemson
7. LA Chargers: O.J. Howard – TE – Alabama
8. Carolina Panthers: Derek Barnett – DE – Tennessee
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Takk McKinley – DE – UCLA
10. Buffalo Bills: Malik Hooker – S – Ohio State
11. New Orleans Saints: Forrest Lamp – OG – W Kentucky
12. Cleveland Browns (from Eagles): Mitch Trubisky – QB – North Carolina
13. Arizona Cardinals: John Ross – WR – Washington
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Vikings): Leonard Fournette – RB – LSU
15. Indianapolis Colts: Dalvin Cook – RB – Florida State
16. Baltimore Ravens: Corey Davis – WR – Western Michigan
17. Washington Redskins: Christian McCaffrey – RB – Stanford
18. Tennessee Titans: Jamal Adams – S – LSU
19. Tamps Bay Buccaneers: Reuben Foster – LB – Alabama
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles – OT – Utah
21. Detroit Lions: Charles Harris – LB – Missouri
22. Miami Dolphins: Cam Robinson – OT – Alabama
23. NY Giants: TJ Watt – OLB – Wisconsin
24. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley – CB – Ohio State
25. Houston Texans: DeShone Kizer – QB – Notre Dame
26. Seattle Seahawks: Kevin King – CB – Washington
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Jarrad Davis – LB – Florida
28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton – DE – Michigan
29. Green Bay Packers: Quincy Wilson – CB – Florida
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marlon Humphrey – CB – Alabama
31. Atlanta Falcons: Malik McDowell – DL – Michigan State
32. New Orleans Saints (from Patriots): Patrick Mahomes – QB – Texas Tech
So let’s sit back get ready for our teams with hearts pounding, and await what names we hear called out to us from that podium.
The 2017 football season is gong to arrive eventually with mini-camps starting in just a few months – now it’s just time to be patient, and get through our all-too lengthy offseason, and wait to see who is unleashed on the league as rookie phenoms, and the inevitable expected busts, that we all know are going to be there.

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott setting records for Dallas

dak-elliott

When Tony Romo went down for a large part of the 2016 season with a compression fracture in his vertebrae in a preseason game, the fans of Dallas certainly weren’t sure as to what to expect for the upcoming season. Tony had been their resilient leader for many years – to some Romo is a choker and subpar QB, but in reality he has been a great QB for his very
reputable career. Romo was looking to be out of the game for roughly
6-10 weeks. With those kinds of numbers, that would put him available for the field around week 8 against the Eagles and their rejuvenated defensive line, with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham leading them.

In steps in 23 year old rookie, Dak Prescott, and in a mere 5
games, he has given them around 250 YPG, 101
.5 QB rating, and leading the Cowboys to a 5-1 start.

He has been nothing short of excellent from what has been seen of his on field play. He just threw his first INT in game 6 on Sunday vs the Packers.

Prescott is playing for one of the biggest brands in football – and that on its own carries a burden and he has handled it amazingly well. Dak has not shown any signs of being afraid of playing on the big stage as a rookie, and has displayed great leadership and poise for his team. The Cowboys have obviously had their issues with Romo going down before – but things look vastly
different now. In particular to how they looked last year, when Romo
went down – and they had Matt Cassel leading the team onto the field. Prescott is already far ahead of the learning curve for the Cowboys.

Prescott will without question be the heir apparent to Romo in Dallas. The main question that has to be discussed, is when? Romo has had more than his share of injuries, and he has beaten and battered for numerous long years in the NFL. Regardless of the naysayers and the “haters” –
Romo has continued to put up excellent numbers for a Cowboys team that he has carried for years. But there
comes a time when GMs and coaches have to save players from themselves. This could be that time. Romo would, of course,
immediately going to give value
and pride to the Cowboys – but Prescott is bringing more than enough quality as well. At this point Dak and Ezekiel Elliot could be Co-MVP’s or Rookies of the Year.

Romo is a great vet to learn from, and brings know-how to the table for any young QB to listen to. The Cowboys already have a dynamic duo with Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott. Elliot has given them 546 YDs
and 5 TDs
– while Dak has involved players like slot receiver, Cole Beasley, who instantly has become the Cowboys top targeted receiver.

There is too much that points in the direction of letting Prescott keep the helm. As well as having a smart and established QB like Tony Romo being able to mentor and coach up your future is a super advantageous thing to have – and if the Cowboys go in that direction – they are lucky to have that possibility.

Prescott has been one of the biggest surprises of the NFL season – and the moment Dak was given the opportunity to take the reigns – he took them and held them tight. His accuracy has been excellent at 67% – ahead of greats like Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger. And his QB rating also puts him in the top ended category of QBs.

Of course Prescott will have his bumps along the way – it’s normal. But in complete honesty – it is not going to be the end of the world to have Prescott taking charge of the Cowboys offense going forward. Give him the wheel and let him play.
Written by TonyK for VegasTopDogs.com

Tony Romo or Dak Prescott

dakp

A few months ago I was going to write the Cowboys will be fine going with Dak Prescott as the #2 QB behind Tony Romo.  Then the play that changed this article and the Cowboy’s season with Romo breaking a bone in his lower back in the pre-season.  The Dallas Cowboys currently sit at 3-1 after a win today over the SF 49ers and Romo is still expected to be out another month.

Dak Prescott was a 4th round draft pick has had a good enough preseason for the Cowboys to name him the starter. Prescott has shown Russell Wilson ‘esk’ qualities and hasn’t turned the ball over yet through 4 games.   I am not saying he’s the next Russell Wilson, however he has shown his type of leadership and play! The major thing that Prescott has going for him is the other 10 players around him. One of the best offensive lines in the league, plus weapons like of Dez Bryant, TE Jason Witton, Cole Beasley and 1st round pick RB Ezekiel Elliott who has been a stud so far.

Time of possession will a important key for Dallas this season. The more they can keep the ball, the less their defense will be on the field, which is one of their biggest question marks!  I think he will come back on October 30th after their BYE week against the Eagles.  If that happens it will be eight weeks since the injury. Let’s see how this plays out. One thing is for sure, you are going to be hearing about this a thousands times thanks to the media and if the Cowboys are 6-1 or 5-2 I think you have to stay with Dak.

Written by Mike Anthony for VegasTopDogs.

Dallas Cowboys Return to Mediocracy in 2015

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant reacts towards the fans during a warm up session before playing the San Diego Chargers in an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Dallas has one thing going for them in 2015.  Their loaded offensive line, I believe the best OL in the NFL. Other than that one area of strength, there are serious flaws all over this Cowboys roster. Combine that with an extra dose of incredible luck from last year and a much tougher schedule in 2015 and we have a team primed for regression.

In 2014 the Dallas Cowboys faced one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. Nine of their 16 regular season games came against teams that were in the bottom third of the league at the time. They had two big wins. One came in October against Seattle, but the Seahawks got off to a 4-4 start, and against the Colts in December in a game where the Colts were a complete no-show. The only other games they played all year against playoff teams were a home loss to Arizona and a pair of playoff games, they were lucky to escape with a non-spread covering win over Detroit, before the Packers sent them home. This team feasted on the weak, plain and simple.

The Cowboys face a first place schedule in 2015. Given the expected improvement in the NFC South and the AFC East; two divisions that combine to have only one team lined below 7.5 wins (Tampa Bay). The Cowboys face all eight teams from those two divisions. Dallas went 4-2 against the NFC East last year; a division with only Washington lined below 8 wins. I don’t see any improvement off that 4-2 division mark from 2014. The Cowboys, coming off a first place finish, now must face a first place schedule, with their two extra games coming against Green Bay and Seattle.

The Cowboys defense was horrific in 2013, ranked at or near the bottom of the league in just about every key statistical category. Last year the defense improved marginally in large part because the offense was able to play ball control, keeping their awful defense off the field. They’re counting on the return to full strength for linebacker Sean Lee, a comeback season from embattled pass rusher Greg Hardy and an immediate return from first round draft choice Byron Jones at cornerback; none of which are locks. Considering the Cowboys defense finished #2 in the NFL with 31 takeaways last year, we can certainly expect a decline in their turnover margin this year.

Dallas was a .500 team in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Last year, they won all the close games, going 4-1 in games decided by a TD or less, and outperformed their statistical profile by a fairly wide margin, due to their #3 ranking in time of possession.
I am convinced that their 2014 breakout was caused by the stars lining up in their favor and not a sign of things to come. Look for Dallas to return to 8-8 this season.

Written by Brian Hay.

Who is the most important player for a Cowboys playoff run?

Dallas-Cowboys-3
 
DeMarco Murray has been beyond phenomenal this year with 1845 rushing yds and 13 scores on the ground. His season has done nothing but build an immense amount of confidence in the teams running game, more so than anytime recently.
 
This season, the Dallas Cowboys have had the 3rd most rushing plays in the entire NFL with 508. Murray has been averaging 24.5 carries/game this season. And a total touches of 28.1 a game. Opposed to last year, when Murray was getting just 15.5 carries/game and 19.3 total touches.
 
His pure dominance has blossomed this year, and has become an elite back in the NFL officially this season. Murray has been producing 100-yard rushing games all year for the Cowboys like clockwork with 12 out of 16 games. Demarco Murray carried the team to the amazing season, with his monster games. DeMarco Murray, is obviously the best season of his career.
 
But Murray’s numbers had plummeted in the month of December. Murray had played “human” in December though. At the end of the season, he was putting up just 3.96 yards/carry. And when playing the Colts he had just 58 yds.
 
Think about how Romo has been able to change his style of play, he doesn’t have to throw the ball constantly, as he has had to do in the past. His attempts/game have dropped significantly, from 40.5 in 2012, down to 29 this year. Murray has taken a lot of the offensive burden from Romo.
 
Tony Romo has overcome a back injury that could have easily landed him on the sideline for weeks on end, and Romo, with his turnover issues that so many were concerned about, has only 9 picks and an astounding 7.8% td passing pct. which led the NFL. And has also been the most accurate he has ever been, at 69.9%.
 
The Cowboys used 3 first-round picks to make their O-line what it is currently. Impressively, they have become a dominant squad that has kept Romo up and opened holes like Emmett Smith used to have back in the 90s.
 
Think about this scenario, if Romo ever happened to go down. Could Brandon Weeden lead this team to a playoff win, let alone a Super Bowl? He has shown what he is, when he had played he was awful earlier this season. Going 24-41 with 2 picks. Romo has put them over the top and will be the one who can keep them over the top in the playoffs.
 
Granted during the year, Murray had to play with a broken hand that was surgically repaired and played poorly against the Colts, Romo, in the same game, when so many may have been questioning what would happen when Murray was so questionable as what he would be capable of, Romo took the Boys on his shoulders and picked it up passing the ball at 18-20 with 4 td strikes.
 
So many football fans have awaited for the December downfall. And yet they went 4-0 in the month, and proved many wrong, outscoring opponents 165-79. The month of December where everyone awaits the crumble and the collapse, Romo’s play had soared, while tearing defenses apart in the month, with 12 tds and just 1 int.
 
With the defense adjustments that teams have to make when playing the Cowboys, it makes them that much more difficult to matchup with on the field. They have built a confidence, that they haven’t had in a long time in Dallas. They can rightfully have a a feeling that they can move the ball anyway they want to now.
 
Tony Romo came off off back surgery, and has had one of his best seasons ever. Think about that, a back surgery, and has thrown for 3705 yds, and 34 tds. Romo is having one of his finest seasons in his 11 year career.
 
Romo has been nothing but terrific this season, and keeping him down will be the biggest key for the opponents of the Cowboys this playoff season. Romo is the cog that keeps the starred helmets clicking on all cylinders. He did it vs Detroit, and he played just fairly, wait until he is forced to kick it in.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

NFL Most Valuable Player Race for 2014

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There have been some great play during the season so far, but there are a select handful that really stand out to me as being the best in the league currently. Who are the best and are carrying their teams on their shoulders. We are just about the midway point in the NFL season, so let’s take a quick look at my top 3 candidates for this years 2014 NFL Most Valuable player award.

3. Andrew Luck, QB; Indianapolis Colts

Luck has been absolutely absurd, with how his game has been. His passing games have been ridiculous, with 8 games of 300 YDs of more, 26 TDs and just 9 INTs he has been the real deal. Leading the Colts to a 6-3 record in the AFC South division. Luck has been doing this on his shoulders alone, they have a very poor and nonexplosive running game, that gives him no support. Trent Richardson is getting them 3.5/YPC and is about as helpful as a fork to eat tomato soup. The fact of the matter is, he has almost single handily made TY Hilton a possible pro bowl player, with 866 YDs and TE Dwayne Allen suddenly is relevant. And actually has played bigger than life in some games, avoiding the rush with his nimble feet and always finding his men when need be.

2. Tom Brady, QB; New England Patriots

Let’s be just honest here, from the start, the guy has simply endured a lot of questions early. Remember when folks were asking if he was done? He has been playing some great football. Brady, who many thought was pretty much just riding the storm out, after a many great years, and was never going to regain his form from the 2010-2012 seasons where his numbers were simply ridiculous, of 109 TDs and 24 INTS in that span. Brady has taken back his team, like a storm. The Patriots were a team that many thought would possibly fold up after starting 2-2, and having some issues scoring the ball, and could possibly play second fiddle to the Bills, well guess again. They are fighting tooth and claw, with them not just for the division, but for the AFC best. They are fighting for the division with pride in their blood. Brady has gotten everyone involved in the team, spreading the ball around. With 3 players with 500 or more receiving yards, and 4 guys getting 49 or more targets. He is just playing really clean ball, 22 TDs and only 3 INTs with 64% passing. Yea, Brady is back folks.

1. DeMarco Murray, RB; Dallas Cowboys

How ’bout them Cowboys? The season that Murray is putting together has been beyond phenomenal. The only player in NFL history to have 8 straight 100+ YD rushing games to start the season? Seriously? Leading the NFL with 1133 YDs on the ground, he’s on pace for 2000+ easily. Also picking up 5.0 a carry, which is 6th in the league, and he’s also carried it more times than anyone else in the NFL. He has simply been incredible, no other words. Taking a team that no one really took seriously this year, and making them, now a more than serious contender. He has loaded the Boys on his back and ran off to the the endzone. The Cowboys a serious contender from the NFC, and will be as long as he stays healthy. He has been more than explosive, with 8 20+ YD scampers, as well as the tough 2 and 3 yard runs to keep drives alive, with 55 1st down runs. Murray has hit paydirt with 7 TDs as well, which is 1st for RBs in the NFL, and could end up with 14+ for the season.

Now, I know the reigning MVP, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, has been marvelous with his usual self, as well as DE JJ Watt, but these 3 guys here are the MVP’s of the season so far, for what they have done as individuals and the value they have brought to their teams.

Written by TonyK of VegasTopDogs.com