This article is the second in a series of articles I have decided to write. Each article presents the five biggest questions for each team in the NFL. The second article is dedicated to the Dallas Cowboys, the NFC East's most recent champion.
1. Can They Win a Playoff Game?
Last year, Dallas had arguably the best team in the NFC. But they failed to even win a single playoff game. When you put 13 Pro-Bowlers on a roster, you should see outstanding results.
When answering this question, I think you have to consider the most common competition among the four and five seeds. Tampa Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans, and New York. The Cowboys were ranked sixth against the run last year, and I personally think that they are just a better team than Minnesota.
You also have to think that will hurt Tampa Bay some. They were 13th against the pass, which isn't bad. That rank could probably get to New York and Tampa Bay, leaving only New Orleans.
As far as offenses go, they are pretty even. As far as defenses go, New Orleans is unproven, while Dallas is top 10. Go with Dallas in any of these match-ups, but it won't be easy.
2. Can They Overcome the Questionable Characters on the Team?
Looking at the Cowboys roster, certain names stick out: Terrell Owens, Tank Johnson, rookie Mike Jenkins, and newly acquired Adam "Pacman" Jones. Owens isn't legally bad, but is a distraction.
Tank Johnson hasn't committed any wrongdoing, but that doesn't mean he won't blow at any time. He is still young, and has several years to blow up.
Mike Jenkins did have an incident when he was attending South Florida. However, he is still young, so Wade Philips will have to keep him under control early, just to be safe.
And now we go to Jones. Jones was banned from the league for one whole season. He is a lot like Tank; young, and a loose cannon.
I think you could easily see one of them do something questionable off the field at any point in time this season. Philips has to keep them under control.
Focus is a key ingredient in winning a Super Bowl, and when you are causing issues off the field, you're not focused, point blank.
3. Can They Surpass the AFC Big Three?
If you look at any power rankings list, you will most likely see Dallas listed 4th. The three teams in front of them? The San Diego Chargers, the New England Patriots, and Indianapolis Colts. The Cowboys only meet with the Chargers, and that is in the preseason.
They will need to rely on their high power offense and a developing defense to set the NFC on fire. I honestly think they rank right up there with these guys, but if they were in the AFC, I think they would either be third or fourth, beating out the Chargers in the former situation.
4. Can They Slow Down the Giants?
The Giants won the Super Bowl on four straight road games, as well as winning seen of their eight regular season contests on the road, which totals to 11 straight road victories. With valuable championship experience that the Cowboys lack on their side, the Giants could be a top five team in the NFL.
I honestly don't think the Cowboys will sweep the Giants. Instead, I believe the Cowboys will lose. Whether its at home or on the road I can't predict. Its very possible that they lose at home.
5. Will They Rule the NFC Once Again?
Last season, the Cowboys came back from a 9-7 season to take top spot in the NFC. But can they repeat? Its a difficult question to answer, considering the Packers are most likely keeping Brett Favre, New Orleans is once again relevant, and the Seahawks only have to put up with Arizona in their division.
While most view the NFC as the Cowboy's possession, I think the Giants, Saints, Seahawks, and Packers have chances to take the title. However, the Cowboys come in with a chip on their shoulder, after losing to the Giants at home in the playoffs. Anything can happen in the NFL.