2016 has been absolutely wild and the myriad of memes about this year do not even do it justice. But perhaps one of the most truly shocking tales of 2016 is “America’s Team” being 10-1 with a tight hold on the NFC East. If you’re a Cowboys fan, then you probably believe every year is their year and this season the hype train has even more seats in it. But here’s the bad news Cowboys fans: This still isn’t your year.
Dak Prescott certainly looks ready to be an NFL quarterback and Dez Bryant is still one of the most explosive receiver in the league, but defense still wins championships, and that’s where the Cowboys are lacking. Dallas has 10 takeaways in 11 games, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau no team has made it to the Super Bowl averaging fewer than one takeaway per game. Granted, the New England Patriots currently rank the same in takeaway percentage, and every analyst always seems to believe the Pats can go all the way every year. However, Dallas only forces three-and-outs 23 percent of the time, which is dead last in the league. Also, the Cowboys are 22nd in third down defense, 28th in red zone defense and 30th in passing yards allowed per game. These negatives are not offset by Dallas’ third-ranked rushing defense, especially since the Seattle Seahawks are a talented throwing team and are likely going to be the team standing in Dallas’ way for a Super Bowl.
The Cowboys have benefitted from an overall weak schedule which has been able to mask some of their more detrimental defensive flaws, but there are no weak teams in the playoffs.
Ezekiel Elliott may be leading Dallas’ rushing offense, which is ranked second, but that will not be enough in the playoffs. Elliott can run all over the field, but if the Cowboys can’t get the opposing offense off the field or keep them out of the red zone, it’ll be a short postseason for them.