The Dallas Cowboys head into the 2017-2018 NFL Season as the favorite from the NFC to win Super Bowl LII. Last I checked, Dallas is at 8 to 1 win the Super Bowl. Are the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl LII odds fair?
2017 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl LII Odds – Are They Fair?
I’m not so sure. The total on Dallas Cowboys’ games is 9.5. That doesn’t seem right, does it? It’s rare that a Super Bowl favorite is at a less than 10.5 games win total. If the Cowboys are such NFC favorites to win the Super Bowl, they should be a lock to take home the NFC East Division, and home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs.
Hence, 10 wins won’t cut it in the NFC this season. Forget home field advantage if Dallas only gets 10 wins. Without home field advantage, making it to the Super Bowl is going to be super tough.
Because of the odds discrepancy, I decided to take a closer look at the Dallas Cowboys. Not surprisingly, there are big questions about Dallas going into the NFL Season. I do my best to answer those questions.
3 Questions on the 2017 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl LII Odds
Sophomore Blues for Ezekiel and Dak?
Most skill players that have great rookie seasons in the NFL take a step back in their second season. When you think about it, this makes total sense. Great rookies at skill positions, WR, RB, and QB, are unknown quantities. Defensive coordinators in the league have worked hard to stop their opponent’s current skill position players.
Since they haven’t watched rookie skill players at the pro level yet, defensive coordinators aren’t sure how to defend against those skill players. D-coordinators stick to the script. If it worked last year against the opponent, why change this year? After all, it takes a ton of effort to teach the entire team a new offensive system then it is to teach a single player, the skill player rookie, a new offensive system.
That’s why rookies with talent often have great initial NFL games. Marcus Mariota did this a couple of years ago in his rookie season. As the starting QB for the Tennessee Titans, Mariota burst onto the NFL scene with a 13 of 15 performance for 209 passing yards, and 4 TD passes. He was exceptional. Mariota’s production, like it does with most rookies, eventually fell off.
Ezekiel Elliot and Dak
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott are different. Both players excelled as rookies for the entire season. Prescott ended up throwing only 4 interceptions. That’s unheard of for a rookie quarterback.
Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards. That’s not unheard of for a rookie. What is unheard of is Elliott rushing for 159 yards in Week 15, and rushing for over a 6-yard per carry average in Week 16. Rookies usually break down the longer the season goes.
Elliott didn’t. Neither did Prescott. Does that mean that both Elliott and Prescott perform the same this season as they did last season? Not at all. We haven’t factored in the growth curve for defensive coordinators. D-coordinators always figure out how to slow sophomore skill players.
With a bevy of tapes at their disposal, D-coordinators should figure out Prescott’s tendencies in the pocket. They should know what plays Dallas prefers to run to get Elliott into the open field.
I’m not writing that Prescott and Elliott don’t play well. What I am writing is that Prescott and Elliott don’t have as much success this season as they did last season.
How Much Better Has the Dallas Defense Gotten?
In 2016, the Dallas D ranked first against the rush. The Cowboys yielded 83.5 rushing yards per game. There’s a reason why. Opponents found it much too easy to pass the football against the Dallas D. The Cowboys failed to get much of a pass rush on opposing quarterbacks. It led to Dallas allowing 260.4 passing yards per game. That ranked 26th in the NFL.
The Cowboys must find a way to be better against the pass. How? There’s good news here. Dallas drafted DE Taco Charlton from Michigan with their first pick. Charlton can turn into one of the very best defensive ends in football. He’s that talented. Then, with their second round and third round picks, the Boys drafted a couple of cornerbacks.
Chidobe Awuzie from Colorado is an underrated corner. He faced some of the most feared passing offenses in college football last season. The Pac 12 is known for offenses that light up the scoreboard. Awuzie can handle himself in the NFL. He’s got some size at 6’ 0” and 205 lbs. He also ran his 40 in 4.43. That’s not bad.
Round 3 pick Jourdan Lewis is somewhat slower at 4.54 in the 40. The former Michigan corner won’t have an immediate impact on the D the way Taco Charlton and Chidobe Awuzie should. But, in nickel packages, Lewis could cover an opponent’s third wide receiver.
The Dallas defense is looking awfully tough going into training camp. It’s hard for me to see how it doesn’t improve against the pass. Just Charlton playing to his potential should help the Dallas pass rush. Any help from the pass rush is going to help the secondary.
Based on Charlton, and Awuzie’s starter potential, I think the Dallas D performs better in 2017 than it did in 2016.
What are the Cowboys’ True Chances of Winning the NFC East?
You can’t expect to win 13 regular season games, and face a cupcake schedule the next season. That’s the case with the Dallas Cowboys. After studying the Cowboys’ schedule, it’s obvious why Vegas odds makers made Dallas’s total only 9.5 games.
The Cowboys must play their opponents in the NFC East. The New York Giants might be the best team in the division. No, wait, it’s probably the Philadelphia Eagles. Then again, Washington is talented as well.
That’s the point about the NFC East. Philadelphia figures to be the most improved team out of the 4. The Giants’ defense turned into one of the best units in the NFL while Eli to Odell is still the most dangerous QB to WR combo in the league. Washington? Washington won the division two years ago. They should be improved as well.
So, if Dallas runs the table, that’s 6 wins. The Cowboys won’t run the table. They should lose at least 2 games in the division. I think they lose to the Giants and the Eagles. That’s 2 losses.
Where will the other 4 losses come from? Who knows? The 4 losses can come from several games. Dallas battles the AFC West this season. Oakland, Denver, San Diego, and Kansas City could all beat Dallas in 2017. All 4 teams should be better this season than they were last season.
Green Bay is on the schedule. That’s not a cakewalk. So are the teams from the NFC West: Arizona, the L.A. Rams, Seattle, and San Francisco. San Francisco and L.A. should be wins. But, Arizona and Seattle are both tough games.
I believe Dallas loses at least 6 games. They might lose 7. What it means is that the 9.5 total on Dallas Cowboy games constitute fair odds.
Bottom Line: 2017 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl LII Odds
If Dallas doesn’t get home field advantage throughout the playoffs, can they make it to Super Bowl LII and face the Patriots? I don’t think so. It’s a question of which team in the NFC does garner home field advantage if the Boys don’t. If Dallas doesn’t secure home field advantage, 1 of the following 3 teams will: Green Bay, Atlanta, or Seattle.
I don’t see the Cowboys upsetting the Packers at Lambeau. I don’t see Dallas beating Atlanta in Atlanta. Taking down Seattle in the Emerald City is near to impossible.
Because the Boys won’t get home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs, 8 to 1 odds, heck, 10 to 1 odds, to win Super Bowl LII aren’t fair. I wouldn’t bet on Dallas at less than 20 to 1 to win Super Bowl LII.
20 to 1 on the Dallas Cowboys, a team that might not even win its division, are fair Lombardi Trophy odds.