Well going to make a bold prediction here with the NFL season getting underway. Taking the Dallas Cowboys to win the SuperBowl.— andrew zultok (@azultok14) September 6, 2013
The Cowboys are a hot topic across social media, as the fog of the offseason has lifted, and the sensational hype of a new NFL season has brought out the high expectations for Jerry Jones' team. But where do they actually stand heading into the upcoming season?
One of the biggest changes in Dallas is the hiring of Monte Kiffin and the subsequent change to a 4-3 defense. As Jonathan Bales of the official site for the Cowboys wrote, this must lead to an overall downsizing for the Cowboys' defense, with shorter and lighter players proving to be a better fit in the "Tampa 2" scheme.
That will be a problem for the Cowboys, who faced the harsh reality of the NFL offseason and were unable to completely overhaul their defense. And according to a player who did quite well in Monte Kiffin's defense, they just don't have all the pieces they need to run the defense properly.
John Lynch not sure Dallas Cowboys have the DT needed to be a great Tampa-Two defense: Former Tampa Bay Buccan... http://t.co/DxTykAvkMZ— Dallas Cowboys news (@dmn_cowboys) September 4, 2013
So this season in Dallas will be a test of whether scheme or talent is more important, because the Cowboys will be using a proven scheme on defense with less-than-ideal talent.
But the defense isn't the focus of the most speculation and hype for the Cowboys. As is the case across the NFL, the offense, and the quarterback in particular, are the biggest topics of discussion.
Tony Romo received a massive contract extension in March of 2013, giving one of the most closely followed players in football one more high expectation that he'll be crushed for failing to reach.
As NFL Network's Ian Rapoport pointed out earlier this offseason, Tony Romo's story is truly incredible. He's a polarizing player, but it's crazy to think about how far he's come in his career.
It's too bad Tony Romo gets so much crap. Because its an amazing story: An undrafted guy no one wanted gets $100M contract to be #Cowboys QB— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 30, 2013
Romo is truly better than most people believe. The general sentiment towards Romo has gone completely off the tracks in recent years.
Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, who played the same position for the Cowboys, gave his support for Romo to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. The Dallas legend said that Romo needs more from his teammates, but that "He makes plays. He's got a strong arm, and he just does a lot of good things out there [that] only a few quarterbacks in the league can do."
Dez Bryant says if everyone does their job, Tony Romo will be MVP, not him http://t.co/LF82NGE7NT— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) September 5, 2013
Sounds like Dez Bryant agrees with Mr. Staubach. It's up to the rest of the Cowboys to contribute and support their quarterback, and Bryant will be one of the players with the most to offer.
The explosive receiver finally came into his own at the end of last season with a string of impressive performances, and that is causing a ton of optimism about him heading into 2013.
Dez Bryant is a going to put on a show this season.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) August 25, 2013
Somewhat bold prediction: Dez Bryant is NFL's best WR this season. #Cowboys— Ryan Mensch (@RMensch53) September 6, 2013
But will there be enough besides the highly paid Romo and the emerging star Bryant?
Running back DeMarco Murray is injured far too often to be counted upon, as is wide receiver Miles Austin. Tight end Jason Witten is great "between the 20s" but lacks the skills in the red zone to help finish drives for the Cowboys.
So what does all of this add up to? How will the Cowboys actually do in 2013?
Let's turn to Twitter for some of their best answers.
Bold prediction SI Peter King,on DP, “Cowboys miss playoffs & Jerry Jones might b calling Alabama area code, 205 & 813 2 inquire abt Gruden”— RudyMartzke2013 (@FakeRudyMartzke) August 27, 2013
Div winners: NE, Cincy, Hou, Den. SF, Wash, GBay, Atl. Wild cards: Pitt/KC. Dal/Sea. NE over Den. SF over Wash. SBowl: NE over SF.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 5, 2013
Before season starts, my Super Bowl prediction: Broncos over Cowboys. 2 teams I guarantee you've never heard me root for.— Nixon (@fhnixon) September 6, 2013
I know i will be bashed for this but this is my NFC East prediction: Cowboys 10-6 Skins 9-7 Giants 8-8 Eagles 6-10— Joe Zomp (@TheZompster) August 30, 2013
That last one is truly the best one of all. He's a Philadelphia Eagles fan.
There is a general sense of optimism among NFL fans about how the Cowboys will finish this season. But I am not convinced. Ed Werder summarized my thoughts on the offense perfectly in this tweet.
I'm skeptical mechanical improvements will make Tony Romo significantly better. Cowboys need to run ball and he must cut big-game mistakes— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) September 2, 2013
Relying on the running game in Dallas is foolish, as there's not enough proven durability and consistency. And the offensive line isn't going to make up for a lack of talent in the backfield.
Are the Dallas Cowboys a playoff team in 2013?
The defense seems like the classic case of a square peg being forced into a round hole. I am not sure Monte Kiffin is a magic pill who is going to solve everything that's wrong with the Dallas defense.
I see the Cowboys as an 8-8 team, outside of the playoff picture in the NFC.
Tony Romo and Dez Bryant will be much better for your fantasy team than they will for their actual NFL team, because the team as a whole just isn't good enough to contend in a very tough NFC.