It's been nearly a quarter of a century since America's Team last hoisted the Lombardi Trophy but owner Jerry Jones and the rest of the Cowboys faithful have every reason to believe the 2019 season could put an end to that drought. The only issue? Well, the drama is certainly not lacking in Big D.
Though Jones believes he has a modern-day version of "The Triplets" in quarterback Dak Prescott, tailback Ezekiel Elliott and wideout Amari Cooper, the problem is that all three are coming to the point where their contracts need extending. Zeke is holding out and has spent training camp south of the border while the other two won't go quietly into the night either. Elsewhere, recently signed defensive end Robert Quinn caught a suspension from the league office and tight end Jason Witten spurned the ESPN booth for another go-around. Oh, and head coach Jason Garrett doesn't know his fate beyond this upcoming year either as he's firmly on the hot seat.
So in other words, the storylines are not lacking in Dallas.
The question is, how does all that coalesce between the lines? There's little doubt that the team has the talent on both sides of the ball to repeat as NFC East champs and make another run in the playoffs. The roster is among the best in the league and has better depth than a year ago.
How will it all play out for that famous blue star? Athlon Sports asked several experts to share their predictions for just how the Cowboys season will play out and what the team's record will be when all is said and done:
Dallas Cowboys Game-by-Game Predictions for 2019
Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer)
There is a lot to like about Dallas this season and don't discount the experience the group has coming back after winning a playoff game last year. The depth in the secondary is sneaky good and you can't help but be impressed with the front seven overall. The big question mark is Zeke — he's the engine that makes the entire offense go. I'd expect him to get his money and be a happy camper eventually so assuming that's the case, a solid but not spectacular season awaits before we see if this group can get over the hump in the playoffs.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Stating the obvious here, but whether or not Ezekiel Elliott plays in 2019 will have a big impact on Dallas’ record this season. The first three weeks – Giants, at Redskins and Dolphins – is very manageable. However, the next stretch – at Saints, Packers, at Jets and Eagles – is much tougher. When you combine Dak Prescott’s contract negotiations, Elliott’s holdout and Jason Garrett’s hot seat, the 2019 campaign won’t lack for intrigue in Dallas. The pieces are there to contend for a trip to the NFC Championship Game – but also enough to hold this team back for merely a wild-card game appearance.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMark)
So much of what I think about the Cowboys hinges on Ezekiel Elliott's status. For the sake of this exercise, I am going to assume he will eventually show up to training camp and be in the backfield for Week 1. But even with a healthy Zeke, I don't think Dallas has quite enough firepower to keep up with a couple of offenses on their schedule, something that will show up more on the road. In the end, the NFC East could come down to the two head-to-head matchups with the Eagles. But if Elliott is serious about staying away, that does not bode well for this team (or Jason Garrett's job security).