1) How do the Cowboys make the Super Bowl?
(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com has answered the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2023 season. Today, the staff writers conclude the series with a question regarding their Super Bowl chances.)
Patrik Walker: It starts with protecting the ball on offense and extends to taking it away on defense. The latter was top-3 in the league in several categories and has upgraded for 2023, so it's expected hey'll continue their dominance and potentially become the best in the entire NFL — capable of carrying Dallas to and through the Super Bowl. That's contingent upon the offense getting back to its own dominant ways, using Brandin Cooks to take that step and a RB group that's a mixed bag of versatility. Crown a worthy kicker as a cherry on top and go get No. 6.
Nick Eatman: Stay healthy. Win the games you're supposed to win (which will be nearly all of them), keep staying healthy, find a player that takes a big leap into superstar status and also, get some luck. And that might be the toughest thing for them to do. Let's be honest, you've got to be lucky to make it. So if they can get to the playoffs, make sure there's no doubt the receiver catches the ball, and make sure they don't drop the key snap on a field goal and make sure they don't let an average tight end make the play of his life down the sideline and make sure they have a little more depth if they suffer an injury in the playoffs. This is a really good football team. But in January, they have to be good enough to overcome the quirky things that have plagued them for the last 25 years.
Mickey Spagnola: First of all, don't lose to the 49ers in the playoffs. Secondly, win the NFC East with a record to receive a first-round playoff bye and earn homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, unlike last year, finishing second in the East and as a wildcard playoff team having to play those first two playoff games on the road. And then, from a playing standpoint, the offense during the regular season must be as good if not better than last year's when averaging 35.1 points a game in the first 10 Dak played after returning from injury or the 31.0 the Cowboys averaged in the 13 games, including the two playoff games, they averaged after his return. After that, the defense must play better against the run and the Cowboys must develop a capable place kicker.
Nick Harris: Trades have been made to boost potential in certain areas, high-level draft picks have been made to alleviate weaknesses and the roster is as talented as it has ever been since the last Super Bowl win in 1996. This team has the pieces to put together a run, but consistency issues have plagued the franchise in the playoffs for much of the modern era under Prescott and McCarthy. If this team can stay healthy and consistent all the way through January, then there's no reason why this team can't make a run to the Super Bowl. Moves were made to address these issues this year, but will it be enough to wear the NFC crown?
Kurt Daniels: Pray the football gods smile upon them? Seriously, how often does this come down to just dumb luck? Would the Eagles have made the Super Bowl last season if the 49ers' third-string quarterback hadn't gotten hurt? Obviously, there's more to it than that. The defense needs to be one of the best in the league and the offense has to be explosive and consistent. Dak Prescott, in particular, can't have the lapses we saw last year because, as Mike McCarthy said, "Quarterbacks win Super Bowls." And the Cowboys have to stay healthy … which, you know, takes a little luck.
Kyle Youmans: Every season under Mike McCarthy, his teams have added another level their team identity. From year one to year two it was a thirst for victory. Going from a down season in 2020 to establishing a winning culture and building confidence in the other teammates in the locker room. From year two to year three, it was toughness. Remaining levelheaded by not letting opponents set their own tone and tempo to a game. Executing a game plan despite some of the challenges, like key injuries, that could get in the way. To make a run to the Super Bowl, those added elements the coaching staff has instilled for the last four years has to be present with an added consistency. Winning attitude, toughness, consistency. As simple as it sounds, putting these three together is not an easy thing to do, but it is something that's possible with the current roster and the amount of leadership in the building.