September 7, 2014
Dave Brown serves as a special contributor to CHANNEL 5 Sports and produces his Overtime blogs on a regular basis for www.krgv.com/sports.
Channel surfing on my television last week, I ran across a movie I hadn't seen in a while. I thought "Dodgeball" was a fun movie, that shouldn't be taken too seriously, but provided a few laughs nonetheless. My son and I saw it first-run in the theater. I remember telling my friend Tony Forina live on his sports talk radio show, that I would reimburse him the price of his movie ticket if he didn't enjoy it, if he didn't laugh a couple of times out loud.
Because who can resist the sound of a dodgeball hitting anything? It makes me laugh just thinking about it. The movie spawned adult dodgeball leagues in cities across America. Sure it was a fad. Like it or not, the movie was visionary in predicting ESPN Ocho, the eighth tier channel of the worldwide leader, which all but exists now. It also gave us the cuddly name of "Average Joe's, the name of the gym that sponsored one of the dodgeball teams.
It stuck with me at that moment last week that the Dallas Cowboys are really the NFL's version of "Average Joe's." The Cowboys have watched the other three NFC East rivals all win the division title with season-ending wins that have cost them a spot in the playoffs. No NFL team has ever gone 8-and-8 four seasons in a row. The Dallas Cowboys have that opportunity this season. Will fans be happy with another dose of mediocrity? Will eight wins be good enough to make the post-season?
Acting again as the voice of reason rather than the voice of a hater, I would suggest that Dallas fans won't have to worry about an 8-win season. That's the over-under total in Las Vegas for total team wins this season. I expect Dallas to win only five this year. My prediction isn't based on the inabilities of Tony Romo. I actually think the Cowboys will score lots of points. The bottom line is that their opponents will score even more.
The Dallas defense looks hapless, and my observation has nothing to do with the winless pre-season. Remember DeMarcus Ware? The salary cap strapped Cowboys couldn't afford to pay him. He's in Denver this season. Jason Hatcher is also gone. Linebacker Sean Lee was lost for the season to an injury in non-contact, off-season, organized team activities. They were the three most accomplished players from last year's defense that was the worst in team history. The subtractions far outweigh the additions. It leaves me believing that Dallas will lose a lot of games 34-27.
The Houston Texans were the victims of horrendous luck last season. It cost head coach Gary Kubiak his job, and ended with 14 straight defeats. I totally agreed with passing on Johnny Manziel in favor of defensive standout Jadeveon Clowney with the number one draft pick. This defense should be very good. However, I'm not sold on Bill O'Brien as the team's new head coach. Not sold on how motivated wideout Andre Johnson will be after threatening to retire rather than go through another spectacle like last season.
The Houston over-under is seven and a half. Most observers see Houston making huge improvement from a year ago. I think the Texans win seven. If I'm right, the state of Texas will be watching others run in the playoffs. It could get ugly again this season for both the Cowboys and the Texans.