I don’t need to regurgitate all the consistently mentioned failures of the Dallas Cowboys, whether from the recent Dak Prescott years, the past decade, or the longer run of frustration that dates back to the second half of the 1990s.
Every negative talking point and notorious statistic is constantly highlighted by media on all platforms and blasted out by the team’s massive army of detractors as the Cowboys regained unrivaled status as the most hated team in the NFL once Tom Brady left New England.
Just so you know where the viewpoints are coming from here, I neither despise nor revere the Cowboys, which is seemingly rare. Besides, I must be objective in these matters.
Yet, I will credit Cowboys fans for remaining very loyal in huge numbers despite the annual futility that has plagued them since Jerry Jones drove Jimmy Johnson away. Their resolve to band together against the heavy amount of disdain and disappointment is admirable.
- Get ready for football season: Bet Dallas Cowboys odds & futures.
Dallas fans don’t seem to have much firepower nowadays when debating and trash-talking with supporters of other high-profile or successful franchises, as being the most popular and financially valuable team in the league doesn’t mean anything when it comes to winning.
Viewing the team strictly through a 2023 lens and putting most previous seasons aside, the Cowboys have a legitimate shot to contend for the NFC title this season. Dallas (+600) has the third-best odds of winning the NFC Championship, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Cowboys 2023 Season Outlook
10 Reasons Why Dallas Can Win NFC Championship
- The NFC Is Wide Open: There isn’t a clear-cut favorite to win the NFC. Only one team since the 1993 season has won a conference title the year after losing in the Super Bowl, which does not bode well for the Philadelphia Eagles. The San Francisco 49ers don’t have a quarterback with any track record to suggest they can get to the Super Bowl, especially since Brock Purdy won’t sneak up on anyone this season.
- Potential High Playoff Seeding: Yes, we have seen the Cowboys squander away a top seed before, but it’s been seven years since that happened, and it has no bearing on this year’s team. The Eagles will deal with key personnel losses, and no team has repeated as NFC East champs since 2004, so Dallas can not only win the division but also nab a top seed in the NFC, possibly the first overall.
- One Win Can End A Drought: The 2022 Cowboys won the team’s first road playoff game in 30 years. If Dallas earns the top seed in the NFC, it will need one home win to advance to its first NFC Championship Game since 1996. As the Cowboys demonstrated last year, history doesn’t influence an outcome in the present.
- Better Than Last Year: The Cowboys have won 12 games in each of the past two seasons, and the 2023 version looks better than last year’s when examining the depth chart. The running game won’t be bogged down by Ezekiel Elliott, the passing game is more potent, and the defense is solid up front and in the secondary. That suggests that even if Dallas doesn’t earn the top seed, this could be the best Cowboys team since the ill-fated 2014 version that lost at Green Bay on the controversial Dez Bryant call.
- Dak Prescott In A White-Hot Spotlight: The quarterback is seeking a contract extension, yet he only has two career playoff wins and tossed an NFL-high 15 interceptions in 12 games last season. Now is the time for Prescott to prove himself in the postseason, with possibly the best Cowboys team he has played on to support and boost him. (See where Prescott ranks in our NFL QB power rankings.)
- Mike McCarthy On The Hot Seat: The head coach will take over the play-calling duties, and he has obvious and valuable experience in reaching NFC Championship Games and winning a Super Bowl. Like Prescott, McCarthy is under significant pressure to deliver more playoff success, and recent past failures can lead to better results in the present because of his experience.
- Dan Quinn: He has an illustrious record as a defensive coordinator and as a primary tactician of Seattle’s legendary Legion Of Boom defense, and Quinn was the 2021 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year with Dallas. The former NFC champion head coach for the Atlanta Falcons has a bevy of impressive talent to work with and has already shown he can get stellar results out of such units.
- The Defense: The defensive line is fearsome, led by superstar Micah Parsons, mainstay DeMarcus Lawrence, and also features menacing pass-rusher Dorance Armstrong and promising rookie run-stuffer Mazi Smith. An already stout secondary added still-solid veteran CB Stephon Gilmore and re-signed ball-hawk Trevon Diggs to a long-term deal this offseason. After Dallas allowed the second-fewest points per game in the NFC last season, it is poised to field a top-notch unit in 2023.
- The Playmakers: Tony Pollard is set to become a featured RB for the first time in his career and should further energize the running game with regular work. Brandin Cooks gives Prescott the No. 2 wide receiver he was sorely lacking, and this Dallas offense will be balanced while supporting the QB effectively.
- The Past Doesn’t Matter Now: The 2023 Cowboys won’t wallow in past shortcomings like the fans do, as the focus is clearly on winning games now. Yes, the Cowboys have been the most high-profile underachievers in the game and maybe all of pro sports since their glory days, but this team is well-positioned to outperform its recent predecessors.