2013 Record: 8-8
Notable Losses: Demarcus Ware, Miles Austin, Phil Costa, Jason Hatcher, Kyle Orton
Notable Gains: Henry Melton, Terrell McClain, Rolando McClain, Jeremy Mincey, Brandon Weeden, Uche Nwaneri
Draft Class: Zack Martin, Demarcus Lawrence, Anthony Hitchens, Devin Street, Ben Gardner, Will Smith, Ahmad Dixon, Ken Bishop, Terrence Mitchell
The Facts: The Cowboys fielded the third worst defense in NFL history behind the 1981 Colts and 2012 Saints. Then Demarcus Ware was cut as a cap casualty and Sean Lee suffered a season ending injury in OTAs. That doesn't sound like a recipe for success for me. Asking two rookies to come and replace a future Hall of Famer and a very talented (albeit injury-prone) linebacker is a heavy and foolhardy task.
The Cowboys do not have anyone on their roster that has anywhere near the resume that Ware had except possibly Anthony Spencer, who will probably miss the first few games of the season. The secondary doesn't look much better. Brandon Carr isn't playing up to his contract and Morris Claiborne isn't playing up to his draft status and the safeties aren't much better. All of this will result in Tony Romo throwing the ball more as the Cowboys are going to have to air it out to win games this season — which might not be the best thing as Romo just came off his second back surgery. But they do have a very talented line with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Mackenzy Bernadeau/Ronald Leary, and Doug Free.
Fortunately, Romo has a lot of tools to get in a shootout such as Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley, Devin Street, Gavin Escobar, and Dwayne Harris. But will it be enough? Romo played the game of his life against Denver in Week 5 and still lost because his defense couldn't hold. He might be getting a lot of that this season and the start of the schedule isn't a very friendly one.
If you disagree with my prediction and assessment remember: Unless it's something crazy, your guess is as good as mine.