The Big Dance – The Super Bowl
Upon review of the 2018 football season, the Dallas Cowboys as a team scored 339 points and allowed 324. That’s a whopping average difference of just under 1 point per point game. The Cowboys played in 10 games last year that were decided by 7 points or less. For them to get where they want to be this season which many say is the Super Bowl, that number has to change dramatically.
In 1977, Dallas scored 345 points for the season, averaging 28.75 points per game. On defense, they allowed 212 points that season with an average opponent score per game of 15.1 points. That season, they nearly doubled the scoring of their opponents and then they dominated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII en route to a 27-10 win.
During the Super Bowl runs of 1992, 1993 and 1995, Dallas outscored their opponents by an average of 10.3, 9.5 and 9.2 points per game respectively. As you probably know the Cowboys won the Super Bowl each of those seasons.
The Cogs that Run the Machine
Many experts are saying that for the Cowboys to make it all the way to the “Big Dance” they will need the services of Ezekiel Elliot or they will not make the playoffs. I agree that Elliot is a generational talent, but is he the one piece that will help Dallas win the prize? During the final game of the 2018 season, Elliot did not play one down and the offense scored 36 points. Their opponent, however, scored 35. A difference of 1 point which matched their 2018 average.
So, though I agree Elliot is a key cog in the machine, a stingy defense will be the element that sends Dallas over the top. The defense has the ability to be special this season. The defensive end position is solid with All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence. In the off-season, Dallas traded for Robert Quinn and potentially poised for his best season is Taco Charlon who is entering his 3rd season.
Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli leads this group of guys and the defensive tackle position has key players ready to make an impact. He is said to use “madness” to “demand greatness” from his defense. The linebacking core is led by veteran Sean Lee but young stars like Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are set to out-perform the 2018 season.
The secondary is led by Coach Kris Richard who once coached the “Legion of Boom” of the Seattle Seahawks. Since Richard has arrived, some have made comparisons to the Seahawk defensive backfield because of players like Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie. Awuzie is looking to improve his solid 2018 performance.
Success = Turnovers
But the biggest factor that could take the Cowboys from just contenders to Super Bowl winners other than fewer points allowed is turnovers. The Cowboys defense forced 20 turnovers last season and had only one defensive score. Defensive scores are the fumbles returned for touchdowns or the pick 6, an interception of an opponent’s pass that is returned for a touchdown. Those plays always serve to greatly increase a team’s chances to play in the postseason and have success.
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