Dallas Cowboys Season Win Total: Under 8.5

Dallas Cowboys

Bet365 NFL betting line: O8.5 +110/U8.5 -140
Last season: 8-8
Our pick: Under 8.5

Few mediocre teams are as revered and celebrated as the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is always a sexy pick to win the NFC East or advance far in the playoffs, but the truth is that the Cowboys have had 10-win seasons only three times in the past 14 years. That includes last year, when Jerry Jones’s bunch bumbled and fumbled its way to an 8-8 record and missed the postseason for the fourth time in five years.

Tony Romo has been known to give defences reason to celebrate over the years.

QB Tony Romo is the epitome of the Cowboys. He can look really great at times, passing for nearly 5,000 yards last year and posting the fourth-best completion percentage in the

league. But you know he’ll always make that fatal mistake that breaks your heart, like the 10 interceptions he threw in the Cowboys’ four meetings last season with the division rival Giants and Redskins.

Romo takes a lot of heat for any Dallas shortcomings, but that isn’t always fair. The Cowboys had one of the league’s worst running games in 2012, partly because DeMarco Murray was injured and missed most of the season. Murray also missed action in his 2011 rookie year, and the Cowboys need him to stay healthy because there isn’t much depth in their backfield.

There also is not a plethora of quality receiving options for Romo to exploit. Dez Bryant emerged last year as a stud WR, catching 12 TDs and nearly 1,400 yards, but Miles Austin is a shadow of his former self in the slot and Jason Witten isn’t getting any younger at tight end. The Dallas offensive line isn’t exactly a fortress around Romo, either.

On defence, the Cowboys will sport a much different look this year as they switch from Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defence to Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 Tampa 2. It could take some time for Dallas to make that adjustment. As far as individual talent goes, the Cowboys boast one of the best pass rushers in football in Demarcus Ware, a solid if unspectacular linebacking corps led by Sean Lee, and a secondary that features two returning cornerbacks.

The NFC East has long been one of the most competitive divisions in football, which has not helped the Cowboys’ cause in recent years. That may change in 2013, with the Giants coming off a disappointing season and the Eagles looking to improve on a four-win campaign. The Redskins aren’t quite invincible, either, particularly if Robert Griffin III goes down to injury. Dallas should be able to get three wins in its six division games.

Outside of the division, the Cowboys don’t have it quite as good. Their only “easy” home game appears to be the Raiders in Week 12, while they will also play host to the Packers, Broncos, Vikings and an under-rated Rams squad. Mix in trips to Kansas City (historically never easy), San Diego, Detroit and New Orleans, and a .500 record against non-divisional opponents would certainly seem respectable.

We see this group of Cowboys as another average group that probably will get more hype than it deserves. Until Romo and his teammates prove an ability to come up big in the clutch, we can’t bet on them winning nine games or more. Give us the under 8.5.


Dallas Cowboys 2013 schedule

1 Sun, Sep 8
  • vs NY Giants
8:30 PM NBC
2 Sun, Sep 15
  • @ Kansas City
1:00 PM FOX
3 Sun, Sep 22
  • vs St. Louis
1:00 PM FOX
4 Sun, Sep 29
  • vs San Diego
4:25 PM FOX
5 Sun, Oct 6
  • vs Denver
4:25 PM CBS
6 Sun, Oct 13
  • vs Washington
8:30 PM NBC
7 Sun, Oct 20
  • @ Philadelphia
1:00 PM FOX
8 Sun, Oct 27
  • @ Detroit
1:00 PM FOX
9 Sun, Nov 3
  • vs Minnesota
1:00 PM FOX
10 Sun, Nov 10
  • @ New Orleans
8:30 PM NBC
12 Sun, Nov 24
  • @ NY Giants
4:25 PM FOX
13 Thu, Nov 28
  • vs Oakland
4:30 PM CBS
14 Mon, Dec 9
  • @ Chicago
8:30 PM ESPN
15 Sun, Dec 15
  • vs Green Bay
4:25 PM FOX
16 Sun, Dec 22
  • @ Washington
1:00 PM FOX
17 Sun, Dec 29
  • vs Philadelphia
1:00 PM FOX