Cowboys or Texans: Who Will Emerge the Winner in 2022?
It depends on who you ask as to whether or not the Cowboys and Texans have a rivalry but, regardless of the answer, the truth is that both sets of fans want to outdo the other.
With the new NFL season now in its infancy, let’s look at who is best equipped to have a good season.
Who enjoyed a better 2021?
Before we look forward to this season, it’s important to understand where the sides are building from. After all, if we assume neither win the Super Bowl this year, what defines the better season: a better record or the biggest developmental leap?
Last year, the Cowboys blitzed the NFC East with a 12-5 winning record as they avoided defeat in any of their divisional matchups. They did, however, fail to go far in the postseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers in a game that was riddled with Cowboy mistakes and ill-discipline.
As for the Texans, 2021 was a year to forget. The campaign actually started off pretty well as they eased past the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener, but it proved very much a false dawn as they then didn’t win again until week 11. Needless to say, a run like that wasn’t nearly good enough for the playoffs with the season ending in a hugely disappointing 4-13 record.
So, in summary, the Cowboys enjoyed a vastly superior 2021 season. 2022 is a new year, though, and while the NFL odds don’t look particularly favorable on either side to lift the Super Bowl, there is a clear expectation the Texans will once again be looking on enviously at their state rivals. This is how we assess the two sides.
Pre-season and the early days of 2022
Forget everything you’ve read up to this point (well, for a second or two). During pre-season, the Texans enjoyed themselves, winning all three of their warmup games. The same cannot be said for the Cowboys, who only won two of their games with the other match—the first of three—one they will not want to be reminded of after being down 17-7 in Denver.
Of course, the Cowboys fans can always make the argument that pre-season doesn’t count for much; while probably true, sentiment does lose some credibility when the Texans impress more in-game week one. They tied with—and perhaps should have beaten—a much fancied Indianapolis Colts side while the Cowboys were being walloped by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
So-called “normal order” was back in week two, though. The Texans lost out to the Broncos after losing a narrow lead in the fourth quarter, while the Cowboys chalked up their first “W” of the season by beating the Cincinnati Bengals in a game that was largely decided in the opening exchanges—and a 50-yard field goal in the dying seconds. It sets this whole “Texans or Cowboys” debate up quite nicely.
If you’re pressing for an answer as to who has the better defense, then it’s quite an easy one to give; the best defense belongs to the Cowboys. The Texans might boast some high-profile names such as Mario Addison and Jonathan Greenard and an alright mix of youth and experience but—and it’s a big but—they have a serious lack of depth.
Compare that to the Cowboys, and it really is day and night. Randy Gregory, who ironically left Dallas for the Texans game week two opposition the Broncos, has left and it’s barely even noteworthy with DeMarcus Lawrence in the building. Micah Parsons is a superstar, Trevon Diggs led the NFL in interceptions last season, and we haven’t even touched on the likes of Leighton Vander Esch, Malik Hooker and newcomer Anthony Barr.
The Cowboys might have the best defense (by a fair distance), but the offensive situation is a little tougher to call right now. When everyone is available, then the Cowboys again come out on top, but with Dak Prescott out injured for the foreseeable future, it’s far from cut and dry.
Cooper Rush will be picking up that burden with CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in supporting roles. With James Washington also injured and having traded Amari Cooper, the depth beyond those guys just isn’t there. When you then look at the Texans, they lack the star power of the Cowboys but have far more depth to cover injuries and dips in form.
That really means the deciding factor of whose offense is better will come down to good—or bad— fortune. If everyone stays fit, it’s another tick for the Cowboys. If they don’t, the Texans will likely ride out the storm with fewer issues.
With everything considered, you’d have to say the Cowboys are best positioned for a successful 2022 season. That said, the Texans should enjoy a much better campaign than last season so it’s a win-win for both.