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Can The Dallas Cowboys Repeat As NFC East Champs?

Dallas will be the 2017 NFC East champions KEITH ALLISON VIA FLICKR

NFL

The Dallas Cowboys Will Be NFC East Champions In 2017

The Cowboys shocked the NFL in 2016 as they were the NFC East champions. After a 4-12 2015 campaign, and watching Tony Romo suffer another injury, no one expected them to win the division with a rookie quarterback. Dallas went on to earn a 13-3 record and captured their first division title since 2014. Was 2016 a fluke or are these Cowboys for real? This team looks like it’s built for success and should repeat as NFC East champions.

The other teams in the NFC East seem to be making big moves to catch up to Dallas. The Eagles and Giants continue to add pieces in order to compete. Dallas has suffered more losses in free agency so far. So how can the Cowboys continue to have success and repeat as NFC East champions? The solution is actually pretty simple, they just need to do what they do well. With the most explosive and consistent offense in the division, Dallas has nothing to worry about.

The Running Game

The ultimate advantage in the game of football is to possess an elite rushing attack. Possessing a solid and effective ground game doesn’t solely impact the offense. When a team can run the football well, it grants them control. The clock will be on that offense’s side throughout the game. And especially in a case like what Dallas is in, it rests the defense. Dallas has an elite rushing attack, which keeps the offense flowing and helps cover up their defensive issues.

Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ offensive line are the heart of this Dallas team. When Elliott gets going, the entire teams feeds off  of that energy and momentum. Dak Prescott benefits from it, the receivers benefit from it, and the defense benefits from it. The Cowboys will repeat as NFC East champions due to how well they can run the ball. The other three teams in the division lack a rushing attack. The Eagles, Giants, and Redskins don’t really have a lethal ball carrier on their roster. The Cowboys have a huge advantage in this phase of the game, and it cannot be underrated.

Evolving Passing Attack

Dak Prescott put Cowboys fans in awe last season. He was able to step in and play at an elite level with the help of a talented supporting cast. Prescott did exactly what was asked of him and he more than exceeded expectations in his rookie season. Along with a strong running attack, the Cowboys are a dangerous passing offense as well. Prescott has several reliable weapons at his disposal and the offense remained intact from 2016.

All five of Prescott’s key weapons will be back in 2017, and they will continue to guide Prescott in his development. The Giants may have signed Brandon Marshall and the Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery, but Dallas has great receivers as well. Team continuity and chemistry is very important for an offense, as it allows for more progression. Sure, signing elite talent should make any team better, but a learning experience comes along with that. The Cowboys know exactly who they are on offense. They know each other’s habits, skills, and tendencies. The other three NFC East teams are still attempting to establish their identities. Once again, another advantage in Dallas’ favor.

Defensive Upside

Yes, the Cowboys have lost some starters on defense in free agency. At the same time, they didn’t really lose anyone of high caliber. Dallas has an opportunity to see their younger players in the secondary and add pieces in the draft. No one really knows what this defense will look like in 2017. There will be a lot of question marks, but the Cowboys do have some upside defensively. Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee will finally be able to play together at the linebacker position, and that will be exciting to see.

The Cowboys added a few defensive lineman in free agency as well. Dallas will get a better look at last year’s draft selections, Charles Tapper and Maliek Collins. Along with drafting defensive prospects, the defense will have energy and youth its side. The Cowboys can’t really play any worse on defense than they did last season. They ranked close to the bottom of the league in total defense, so there’s only room for improvement.

The Cowboys do have big questions on defense, but with their consistent and high octane offense, they can repeat as NFC East champions in 2017. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dez Bryant will lead this team in 2017. With exciting momentum from last season, the Cowboys will be ready to strike again in 2017.

 

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