The Dallas Cowboys are used to turbulent offseasons of change, but few can compare to what the team has gone through since they last walked off the field at AT&T Stadium last December.
Out went Jason Garrett, in came Mike McCarthy as head coach. Then a global pandemic hit. When COVID-19 wasn't a talking point for the team, quarterback Dak Prescott's contentious contract negotiations were. Free agency netted key losses (CB Byron Jones) and some late gains (DE Everson Griffen). Barely days into camp, expected splashy signing Gerald McCoy was injured and lost for the season.
All in all, it has already been a wild up-and-down 2020 for Jerry Jones' crew. Now comes the hard part, putting all that behind them and focusing on making noise in the NFC and, ideally, the playoffs. The offense should be one of the best in the league, but the defense could well prove to be an Achilles heel. One thing is clear, the 'Boys won't be boring whatsoever.
How will things end up playing out in Big D? Athlon Sports asked several experts how the season would play out and what the team record would be when all is said and done.
Dallas Cowboys Game-by-Game Predictions for 2020
Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer)
The Cowboys are probably the most interesting team in the NFC this season. Obviously the offseason drama that is a constant in Dallas contributes to that but the addition of Mike McCarthy combined with the weakest division in football should provide quite a lift to the team's fortunes in 2020. The offense is legit loaded and might be the best unit not named the Chiefs or Ravens. I'm not quite as concerned about the defense as others and the coaching change alone should provide a boost in the win column over last year. We'll see if that can translate in the postseason but an NFC East title is the bar minimum for this group.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Regardless of what changes are made, the expectations remain the same in Dallas — Super Bowl or bust. Mike McCarthy has a championship on his resume, and he certainly inherits a good situation, as the Cowboys offense should be among the best in the NFL. My concern lies on the other side of the ball, which has already been bit by the injury bug, as well as the fact that as talented as Dallas has been in recent years, this team just hasn't been able to get over the hump. Will that be the case again this year? We will have to wait until the playoffs to see but I fully expect the Cowboys to be in the mix and battle with Philadelphia right to the end for the NFC East title.
Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)
The Cowboys had an elite offense with a questionable defense last season, and that only got more exaggerated over the offseason. However, in a topsy-turvy NFC East, they may just be talented enough to win a division title for the fourth time in seven seasons. Not that he needed too much more motivation, but Dak Prescott is playing on a franchise tag and has more weapons than ever to work with. Their schedule also is a bit more forgiving than the Eagles' since they get to play the Falcons and Vikings instead of the Saints and Packers. That, paired with the safe choice in Mike McCarthy makes me optimistic about their divisional chances this season, even if this core has let us down before.