The Dallas Cowboys finished last season as the worst team in the NFC conference. They won just four times and averaged the second-fewest points-per-game in the entire NFL. They were, in short, a shambles.
Despite all that gloom, one rather obvious positive emerged in the form of their running game.
They ranked sixth in the league for yards-per-attempt last term thanks to one of, if not the best, offensive lines in the NFL.
That group of path-clearers were so good they helped Dallas’ running back – Darren McFadden – register a yards-per-carry tally of 4.6. In his final three seasons with the Oakland Raiders before joining the Cowboys, McFadden never surpassed 3.4.
All five starting offensive linemen are back for another go in 2016 and with improvements made at running back through the draft, the Cowboys stand to leap to the top of the rushing pile in the coming campaign.
Ezekiel Elliott was selected with Dallas’ fourth overall pick in April, giving the league a particularly unsubtle hint that head coach Jason Garrett intends to do a lot of running on offense this season.
With a college-career-average of 6.7 yards-per-carry for Ohio State, Elliott stands to be an even more punishing weapon than McFadden despite being a rookie.
The 21-year-old finished his Buckeyes career with the second-highest total rushing yards in their history. Ahead of the draft, Elliott was cast as the best, and most rounded, running back to enter the league for nine years.
As a result he is our runaway favourite to be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at 1/1. However, it is a far meatier price of 11/1 that Elliott records the most rushing yards in the season that appeals more.
Our market includes each-way bets, which would mean Elliott fans would be paid out at a quarter of the odds if he lands in the top three.
With a dominant offensive line ahead of him, that’s definitely a bet worth making.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.