It has been an absolute doozy of a day in the football world. Not only did this blockbuster trade occur, but the NFL also finally reached a decision regarding Ezekiel Elliott’s alleged domestic abuse case, dating back to July of 2016. The league has handed last year’s rushing champ a six-game suspension, and issued a very strict warning to the 22-year-old to stay out of further trouble.
While some are praising Roger Goodell and the NFL for finally treating domestic violence with a little more than a slap on the wrist, others are lashing out at the commissioner for his abhorrent abuse of power. (What else would you expect a man wearing that t-shirt to say?) And I’m sure Josh Gordon and Martavis Bryant align with Mr. Portnoy.
Though Elliott is expected to appeal the suspension, it’s very unlikely it is completely rescinded. So instead of trying to predict the outcome of what will almost certainly be a lengthy process, let’s just assume Zeke is going to be suspended. What will the Dallas Cowboys look like without their brightest star on the field?
COWBOYS PROPS: LIFE WITHOUT ZEKE
OVER/UNDER RUSHING YARDS PER GAME: 110.5
OVER/UNDER YARDS PER CARRY: 3.8
Dallas lost Doug Free and Ronald Leary along the offensive line, and neither Darren McFadden nor Alfred Morris have the same burst as Zeke does. They showed this last year when neither averaged more than 3.6 YPC behind the best line in football.
OVER/UNDER DAK PRESCOTT’S PASSER RATING: 88.5
Without Elliott on the field last season, Prescott was not the same QB. He may not have been terrible, but there was a concerning difference: his passer rating dropped from 112.7 with Zeke to 92.6 without him. And looking at the defenses, the OROY is going to be facing in the first few weeks, a 92.6 passer rating would be great.
OVER/UNDER POINTS PER GAME: 19.5
Last year, the Cowboys averaged slightly over 26 points per game. But again, keep reading and see the defenses the Zeke-less ‘Boys draw to start the season.
ODDS TO BE OVER .500: 7/1
The Cowboys open the season at home against the only team in the NFC East they could not beat last year: the New York Giants. After that, they hit the road for games in Denver and Arizona (two of the best defenses in the league), before returning home to play the Rams and Packers (who ended their 2016 season) in Weeks 4 and 5.
Without Zeke toting the rock, Dallas could very easily start the season 1-4. And if you have any confidence in Jared Goff being remotely serviceable, the ‘Boys could possibly start 0-5. If the suspension remains six games, Dallas should at least be able to take advantage of a 49ers squad in the early stages of a rebuild. But winning more than three of those games is about as likely as Mr. Portnoy agreeing with anything Goodell does.