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NFL Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Final 2014 Win-Loss Prediction

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

After an 0-4 preseason, it looks like the same old story with the Dallas Cowboys. Injuries have ravaged this team for the fourth-year straight. Not a down in the regular season has been played yet and this team is already without key players.

Head coach Jason Garrett is likely in a make-or-break year. The Cowboys need to make the playoffs in 2014, but the likelihood of that happening is extremely slim. With the overall lack of talent on this defense, Dallas’ offense will need to finish in the top five if they are to win the NFC East in 2014.

Despite coming off two back injuries and getting older in this league, Tony Romo has the best offense he’s ever had in Dallas in front of him. With a spectacular offensive line in front of him and weapons like Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Jason Witten, Romo could have the best season of his career in 2014.

On the opposite side of the ball, new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will have to work his magic to get the most out of his players. There is some belief that this defense could surprise some people, but there are a ton of unproven players who are trying to make an impact going forward.

Unlike the past few years, the Cowboys will have a tough schedule in 2014. The NFC East will be playing against the NFC West and AFC South. That being said, the Cowboys will have to go against teams like the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts. Don’t forget that the Cowboys still have to play six games in the division against teams that have all improved.

The good news is that the Cowboys are playing the 49ers at the best time. The 49ers will be without two key defensive players in Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith. I believe the Cowboys can win against the 49ers and from there, the Cowboys could easily take their next two against the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams. From there, the Cowboys will have a rough road against six tough teams before heading to London to play the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After the Jaguars’ matchup, the Cowboys will have their bye week and that will be coming at a perfect time. After the bye, the Cowboys will be playing in all cold-weather games. Dallas will have their hands full in the 2014 season. If this defense can step it up, then the Cowboys will surprise some people, but I do not see that happening. I have the Cowboys finishing 7-9. I’m a diehard Cowboys fan, but I’m also a realist and this defense is simply not good. I hope the Cowboys finish better than that, but I can’t see this defense being any better.

Ryan Ratty is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanRattyNFL or add him to your network on Google.