The first 2017 NFL regular-season over/under win totals were released by South Point sportsbook in Las Vegas following the NFL Draft, and the Dallas Cowboys' number was set at 9.5 wins following a 13-3 season that ended in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe predicted Cowboys' 2017 record on Tuesday's episode of Undisputed, and while Bayless is confident Dak Prescott will lead Dallas to 10-plus wins, Sharpe sees misery in the Cowboys' future.
The Cowboys made big improvements in the NFL Draft
“Pre-draft, I said [the Cowboys] would go 11-5, and I thought that was conservative, but I said I reserved the right to change after the draft.
I really liked the Cowboys’ draft. I told you I give it an A-, the only reason for the minus is if Reuben Foster is as good as I think he’s going to be, they should have taken Reuben Foster instead of Taco Charlton just because the 49ers divulged yesterday through Peter King they were poised and ready to take Reuben Foster as No. 3 … That scares me a little bit.”
Charles LeClaireCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas will go 12-4 in 2017
“I do like Taco Charlton, and I do like the two corners [Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis], and I do like Ryan Switzer. So I think just on energy and high-motor, enthusiasm from highly productive college football players, that the defense just got considerably better. I think there’s going to be impact from those kids, so I’m going to go up one game.
I’m going to say they win at Washington, I say they can sweep the Redskins. I don’t think the Redskins got that much better through the draft.
So I’m going to say 12-4 for the Cowboys - so they win going away over the 9.5. I think they clear 9.5 pretty easily, and I believe the Patriots will clear 11 pretty easily.”
You can't expect the new crop of rookies to play as well as Dak and Zeke
“I’m looking into the future, the smoke and the haze is starting to clear. I see pain and misery. I see nine wins. I believe they’ll be 9-7.
I know what you’re doing, and I know what a lot of other people are doing. You’re basing it on how well the rookies played last year from last year’s draft class. You’re looking at Zeke, you’re looking at Dak.
How often does that happen, Skip? Normally, if a team is lucky, they’ll have one rookie that plays really, really well. The Dallas Cowboys had two.
They lost their entire secondary and a defensive lineman. You’re banking on the guys that they signed, the rookies, you’re actually expecting them to play as well as Dak and Zeke did offensively, you’re expecting the guys they drafted to play that well defensively? Don’t you think you’re asking an awful lot?”
Kirby LeeKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Cowboys' star sophomores are now saddled with great expectations
“And there is this one thing that’s burdensome. It’s called expectations. See, now you don’t have that luxury, Dak. You’re not a rookie anymore. The expectation now is to do exactly what you did last year and even more.
It’s not good enough to win 11 straight. They’re expecting you to win every ballgame, now. They’re expecting you to go f further into the playoffs. ‘Well he’s a rookie, he’s playing beyond his years!’ He doesn’t get that luxury anymore.”
Matthew EmmonsMatthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
You can't predict how rookies will deal with the transition to the NFL
“When you pair expectations with rookies … Skip, you have no idea. I know you would like to think that they’re going to play well, but you have no idea what these guys are going to do, these rookies.
Now last year, you’ve got to realize, what did Dak do, Skip? They played a last-place schedule. Tell the people at home what’s on the menu this year. A first-place schedule. Expectations, and asking a lot of rookies to come in and be major, major contributors on the side that you’re the weakest on.”
Kim KlementKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots are a sure bet to win over 11 games
“Allow me to address another over/under that leapt off the page to me, and that was the Patriots at 11. Merely at 11? So if I were a betting man, once upon a time I was, I would want lots of action on these two over/unders.
Patriots [are] winning more than 11 games, because I think they’ll go 5-1 in the AFC East. I think I’m going to give the Dolphins one win at Miami. Which would mean they’d have to win seven of their 10 non-division games, and they’ve got five home games. All of them pretty tough, but I think they’ll win all five of them. Then they’d have to win one road game, maybe at Pittsburgh, to top the 11, and I just think they will. I think it’s pretty easy, actually, because they are head and shoulder pads above anybody in the NFL, now, when they won the Super Bowl and then Belichick won the offseason.”