With the release of the 2017 schedule, the Dallas Cowboys now know who the first 16 teams who stand in their way of a Super Bowl are. The schedule is tough but they have the benefit of playing a few of their tougher games at home. With that being said I am going to break down each game and give my prediction on who will win.
Week 1: New York Giants, 7:25 p.m. CT, on Sunday Night Football on NBC
For the second straight year, the Cowboys open aginst their bitter rivals the Giants. In last year’s game Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot made their first career starts and almost came away with a win but thanks to a bonehead play by Terrance Williams they fell in defeat 20-19. In the game, Prescott threw for 227 yards on 25-45 passing and Elliot ran for 51 yards and one touchdown on 20 carriers according to nfl.com. This will be a good test for a revamped Cowboys secondary who lost Brandon Carr, Barry Church and Morris Claiborne in free agency. They will be going up against the trio of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and newly acquired Brandon Marshall. The play of Eli Manning and the new secondary will determine the outcome of this game, however, I will give the Cowboys the edge.
Week 2: at Denver Broncos, 3:25 p.m. CT on Fox
The last time these two teams played then-Broncos quarterback Payton Manning and then-Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo combined to throw for 920 yards and nine touchdowns in a 51-48 Broncos win. I would not expect another shootout as the Broncos offense is not as powerful as it was then and they boast one of the best front sevens in the league. The Cowboys offense will have their hands full aginst the top-ranked pass defense of the Broncos that only gave up 185.8 yards a game according to nfl.com. That being said I can’t see the Broncos middle of the road offense keeping up.
Week 3: at Arizona Cardinals, 7:30 p.m. CT on Monday Night Football on ESPN
This is the only time this season the Cowboys will play on Monday night. This will be another tough test for the Cowboys defense as when healthy the Cardinals boast one of the leagues best offenses. However, the advantage lies in the Cowboys offense and more importantly it line allowing the Cowboys to run the clock in what is sure to be a high-scoring game.
Week 4: L.A. Rams, 12 p.m. CT on Fox
This should be a win for the Cowboys. The Rams defense, under new defensive coordinator and former Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, will play the Cowboys hard but the Rams offense won’t be able to keep up. The Rams ranked last in total offense last year only averaging 262.7 yards per game according to nfl.com, the only team to average under 300 yards a game. While they might believe they have their franchise quarterback in Jared Goff the pieces around him won’t be enough to get the job down.
Week 5: Green Bay Packers, 3:25 p.m. CT on Fox
The match-up every Cowboys fan has been waiting for. The Packers ended the Cowboys dream season with a comeback win in the second round of the playoffs. Again this will come down to the battle between the Cowboys defense, mainly the secondary, and the Packers offense who eight in total offense averaging 368.8 yards a game according to nfl.com. This will be a shootout and unless the secondary improves I have to side with Rodgers.
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: at San Fransico 49ers, 3 p.m. CT on Fox
This should be another easy win for the Cowboys. The 49ers are one of the worst teams in the league and are still trying to recover from the post-Harbaugh era and are breaking in yet another head coach in Kyle Shanahan. With a gutted roster in rebuilding mode, the Cowboys main goal in this one should be to come out healthy.
Week 8: at Washington Redskins, 3 p.m. CT on Fox
The last time the Cowboys have lost to their division rival on the road came in 2012 in a crucial week 17 game that cost the Cowboys a playoff spot. The wild card in this one is which Redskins team will show up as they can be the NFL’s Jeckle and Hyde at times. They also lost two of their top wide receivers in Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in free agency. The Cowboys offense should also take advantage of a weak secondary which will give them the edge in this one.
Week 9: Kansas City Chiefs, 3 p.m. CT on CBS
This game marks the first time newly retired Tony Romo will call a Cowboys game. This game will test the Cowboys offense as the Chiefs constantly boast one of the leagues best defenses although they took a step back last year ranking 24th in total defense according to nfl.com. However, the Chiefs offense might be their downfall as they are now down to two playmakers in Jeremy Maclin and Tyreek Hill with the departure of Jamaal Charles. That being said it isn’t easy to stop those two and if Maclin is healthy the Cowboys could be in for a dogfight. Should be a low scoring game with the Cowboys grinding it out for a win,
Week 10: at Atlanta Falcons, 3:25 p.m. CT on Fox
Seeing the name Atlanta Falcons should make Cowboys fans cringe as the Cowboys jumped out to a 28-14 before allowing 25 unanswered points in a devastating 39-28 loss. The Falcons still boast one of the leagues best offenses ranking second averaging 415.8 yards a game according to nfl.com. The Falcons defense is full of speed which could give the Cowboys trouble. This will be another shoot out and just like it isn’t wise to bet against Rodgers in a shootout I’m not going to bet against Matt Ryan in one either.
Week 11: Philadelphia Eagles, 7:25 p.m. CT on Sunday Night Football on NBC
This is going to be a great rivalry as long as Eagles Carson Wentz and Prescott are under center. While this will be a close game the Eagles offense is still a few steps behind the Cowboys and that will be their downfall in this one.
Week 12: L.A. Chargers, 3:30 p.m. CT on CBS
The Cowboys will face the new-look Chargers on Thanksgiving Day where they will look to raise head coach Jason Garrett Thanksgiving Day record to 4-4. Oddly enough the Chargers have beaten the Cowboys three out of the last four meetings but I don’t see them raising that to four of the last five. While the Chargers do have some young talent in names like Joey Bosa and Keenan Allen they do not have enough especially on defense to slow the Cowboys down. Pair that with the protection of quarterback Phillip Rivers being shoddy at best I give the edge to the Cowboys.
Week 13: Washington Redskins, 7:25 p.m. CT on Thursday Night Football on CBS
This will mark the Cowboys third game in 12 days which might give the Redskins an advantage. Even with that against the Cowboys I still can’t help but pick them again.
Week 14: at New York Giants, 3:25 p.m. CT on Fox
The Giants have owned the Cowboys of late, winning three straight including both games last season and have only allowed the Cowboys to score 46 combined points in those games. While I did pick the Cowboys to win the first match-up, I’m hesitant to pick them again. Not only are they coming off of an emotional game against a rival but they are playing in New York in early December which presents its own set of challenges.
Week 15: at Oakland Raiders, 7:25 p.m. CT on Sunday Night Football on NBC
The Cowboys come into this game winning the previous two match-ups. The Cowboys and the Raiders are very similar. They both have young franchise quarterbacks, young talented players, and a great offense. This will be another shoot out that will test the Cowboys.
Week 16: Seattle Seahawks, 3:25 p.m. CT on Fox
This will be a physical game against two of the more physical teams in the league. The teams have split the last four meetings with the Seahawks winning the last game in Dallas. The Cowboys have improved since their last meeting and with Prescott behind center instead of Matt Cassel things should be different. This could be a preview of the NFC Championship game.
Week 17: at Philadelphia Eagles, 12 p.m. CT on Fox
Depending on where the Cowboys stand in the playoff picture this could be a repeat of last year when the starters only played two series. That alone will determine the outcome of the game. Based on my predictions the Cowboys have a good shot to clinch the number one seed in the NFC again so they will once again rest their starters. With that being the case the Eagles will take this one.