Where Did It Go Wrong for the Dallas Cowboys This Season?

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most popular NFL franchises around the world. Unfortunately for supporters of “America’s Team”, their wait for a sixth Super Bowl crown continues, as they were beaten in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs by the Green Bay Packers.

Dallas were expected to be one of the leading contenders for the NFC Championship going into the 2023/24 playoffs, but that will now feature the San Francisco 49ers for the second straight season. The 49ers will take on the Detroit Lions for a place in the Super Bowl.

The Cowboys had won their previous 16 matches at their home stadium, so defeat against the Packers came as a big surprise to fans of the franchise and its owner Jerry Jones. It now leaves them to reflect on where it went wrong and how they can come back stronger ahead of the 2024/25 season.

Mike McCarthy Under Pressure

It has been reported by ABC News that Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is not expected to sign a contract extension with the franchise ahead of the 2024/25 season but he will remain in charge for now. His future could depend on how well Dallas fare in the next campaign.

McCarthy has been with the Cowboys since 2020. The former Packers coach has a 43-28 record with Dallas, however, his record in the post-season is 1-3. When he was hired by Jones four years ago, it was made clear to him that the objective at the franchise was to win a Super Bowl.

As a Super Bowl winner, McCarthy must try and figure out what is going wrong with his team during the offseason. He may have to make some tough decisions with his coaching staff in early 2024, as the defeat to the Packers left pundits criticising the way his team had prepared for the game.

Question Marks Over Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott had another excellent campaign in the regular season; however, the MVP award looks set to go to Lamar Jackson. The Baltimore Ravens QB bounced back from injury to have an excellent second half of the year.

As of the 22nd of January, the Baltimore Ravens are 2/1 in the NFL betting to win Super Bowl LVI. Jackson has been the key driving force in helping the AFC North team have a successful campaign. Prescott, a player who is very similar to Jackson in his qualities, must now replicate what the former regular season MVP has achieved in Baltimore.

No player threw more touchdown passes in the 2023/24 regular season than Prescott. The Cowboys QB topped the charts with 36 passing touchdowns. He accumulated an impressive 4,516 passing yards and had a 69.5% completion percentage. The problem for the former Mississippi State player is his numbers often decline in the playoffs.

It is hard to see Dallas offloading Prescott in 2024. They have invested heavily in him, and they still believe he can lead the franchise to Super Bowl glory. To prove himself as one of the best QBs in the sport, Prescott must start delivering in big postseason games.

Defence May Need Further Reinforcements

Dallas are expected to use their early 2024 NFL Draft picks to enhance their defensive roster for next season. Conceding 42 points against the Packers showed they are still vulnerable defensively.

It was not just in the playoffs where the Cowboys’ defence was exploited during the 2023/24 campaign. Dallas conceded 42 points to the San Francisco 49ers at the Levi’s Stadium, while the Seattle Seahawks put up 35 points against them in a thriller back in December.

With several players now out of contract, Dallas’ defence is likely to look much different ahead of their week one encounter in September. The franchise will be working hard in the offseason to bring in players from free agency that can improve their roster.

One player Dallas can have a lot of confidence in on their defence is DeMarcus Lawrence.  The defensive end had another excellent season, recording 50 combined tackles. He played all 17 regular season games in the latest campaign, and he is someone the franchise will want to build around.

The 2024/25 NFL season begins on the 5th of September and Dallas will find out who they are set to play in week one when the fixtures are revealed in April.

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