We may be 142 days away from the Cowboys 2018 season kicking off, but today we were given an early gift – the release of the 2018 NFL schedule.
Dallas has five primetime games and their annual Thanksgiving game. Contrary to what has become an expected matchup in week one, the Cowboys will not be hosting the New York Giants. Instead, they will start the season on the road in Carolina.
It only seems right with the release that I dive right in and give my game-by-game predictions. I know, I know. How can you even attempt such a feat when the NFL Draft hasn’t even started, and you aren’t sure what type of roster we will have come September 9th?
Work with me, people.
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, at Carolina Panthers, 4:25 p.m. ET
As I mentioned above, the Cowboys and G-Men won’t be lining up opposite of each other to start the season. Instead, the Cowboys will head to Carolina to take on Cam Newton, and the Carolina Panthers. It will be the first time we see Dak Prescott take on Newton, and if you were paying attention to Colin Cowherd the other day, you know what he thinks about this quarterback matchup. If not, well, here you go…. Record: 1-0
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, vs. New York Giants, 8:20 p.m. ET
Who even knows what this matchup could look like. With the news of Brandon Marshall’s release today, could Dez Bryant be on the way to New York to pair up with Odell Beckham Jr.? Aside from that juicy development, I feel that the Cowboys defense will make enough plays to rattle Eli Manning, and get the early divisional win. Record 2-0
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. ET
This is a difficult one as well. Which direction are the Seahawks going? They lost Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman and Jimmy Graham. Could Earl Thomas be in a Cowboys uniform? He didn’t attend the first day of off-season workouts, as he is continuing to request an extension before stepping on the field. Can the Seahawks get enough done in the draft to replace some of the gaping holes they were left with? With all that being said, I’d feel a lot better about this game if it was in Dallas. I think Russell Wilson out duels Dak Prescott in a close game and rides the 12th man, handing the Cowboys their first ‘L’ of the season. Record: 2-1
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. ET
While Matt Stafford has shown he has the ability to pile up the passing yards (488 yards in 2013), he’s 1-2 against the Cowboys in his career. The Lions just lack the offensive weapons to make this a game. I think the emerging Cowboys defensive line gets pressure on Stafford, and Prescott and Zeke put on a show, winning easy. Record: 3-1
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, at Houston Texans, 8:20 p.m. ET
I do not like this game one bit. When healthy, this is a big time squad who will be a postseason threat. You take DeShaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt and that defensive unit, and add in the Houston vs Dallas element, this has a loss written all over it. Yeah, I’m still bitter about the Texans first franchise win – against our Dallas Cowboys, back in 2002. Record: 3-2
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 4:25 p.m. ET
Over the years, this would have been a game we would have salivated for, but these cats aren’t messing around these days. The Jaguars pushed the Patriots to the breaking point, and nearly made the Super Bowl last season. Their defense is no joke, and Leonard Fournette has given Blake Bortles someone to rely on. With that being said, I think this is a matter of which team will have the ball in the end. Cowboys won’t want to fall back to .500, so they get the big win against a great opponent, and ride the momentum into Washington. Record: 4-2
Week 7: Oct. 21 at Washington Redskins. 4:25 p.m. ET
What once used to be a scary match-up between two rivals has been dominated by the Cowboys over the last few years. Since 2013, the Cowboys have gone 8-2 against the ‘Skins, and despite the new quarterback addition of Alex Smith, they just don’t have the weapons to keep up with the Cowboys. Cowboys head into the bye week riding high, but the schedule gets tougher now…. Record: 5-2
Week 8: Bye.
Week 9: Nov. 5, vs. Tennessee Titans, 8:15 p.m. ET
The ‘Boys will have an extra week to prepare for the Titans, but you know what, so will they. Each of the squads will rest up during their bye week for what promises to be a good Monday Night Football match-up. The Titans have moved on from DeMarco Murray, leaving Derrick Henry as their main back. These teams match up quite well to be honest. Two young quarterbacks in Mariota and Prescott, along with two young and big time backs in Henry and Ezekiel Elliott. I think home field plays a huge key as the young ‘Boys defensive steps up and makes a big stand late in the game. Record: 6-2
Week 10: Nov. 11, at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:20 p.m. ET
Reigning Super Bowl champs. Lincoln Financial Field. A chance for Eagles fans to finally get to puff out their chest and feel proud to say they won that championship. Carson Wentz figures to be healthy by this time. Cowboys maybe feeling themselves a little too much and take one on the chin here in Philly. Eagles make their stance in the NFC East heard loud and clear. Record: 6-3
Week 11: Nov. 18, at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. ET
REVENGE game. The Cowboys got absolutely demolished last season when they visited the Falcons. Their offensive line was decimated with the absence of Tyron Smith, and Prescott had no time to get anything done on offense. This will be a game that goes down to the wire. Hopefully the o-line will be much healthier this season and they will be able to rely on Zeke and buy some time their for their young quarterback as well. Cowboys win on field goal in final minute. Record: 7-3
Week 12: Nov. 22, vs. Washington Redskins, 4:30 p.m. ET
Gobble, gobble! It’s Turkey Day and Thanksgiving hasn’t been that kind to the Cowboys over the last few years. While I didn’t think I would say the Cowboys would be sitting at 8-3 after Thanksgiving, I just can’t see how the Redskins can give the Cowboys any issues. They have no receiver threats (assuming Dez stays away from D.C.), and I think the Cowboys defense will stack the box, and make Alex Smith force the issue. Cowboys gobble up the Skins! Record: 8-3
Week 13: Nov. 29, vs. New Orleans Saints, 8:20 p.m. ET
I’ve long been a fan of Drew Brees. The dude just flat out puts up numbers. He now has two running backs in Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, which poses a real problem for opposing defenses and the Cowboys defense will feel just that. I’ve also mentioned that the Saints should seriously consider adding Dez Bryant to the fold. Could you imagine? Sunday Night Football. The veteran and future Hall of Famer Brees going up against the two young stars in Prescott and Elliott. What’s not to like? Probably the final result. Record: 8-4
Week 14: Dec. 9, vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 4:25 p.m. ET
After back to back Thursday night games, the Cowboys will have three extra days to prepare for Wentz and the Eagles. I just feel like the Cowboys don’t pose enough of a threat against this exceptional defense of Philadelphia. I think the game will be close, but Wentz leads a late drive to take the lead, and Prescott forces a mistake, as the Eagles take the season series 2-0 and put a stranglehold on the NFC East. Record: 8-5
Week 15: Dec. 16, at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET
This is the beginning of a stretch in which I think the Cowboys will take advantage of. Will Andrew Luck even be playing? If so, can he pose the same threat he once did when he came into the league? The Cowboys will know how important this final stretch of the season is, and won’t take it for granted. Cowboys lean on Elliott as he has a HUGE day in Indy. Record: 9-5
Week 16: Dec. 23, vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET
Dallas and Tampa Bay faced off two years ago on Sunday Night Football and Dak and Zeke got the best of Jameis Winston and the Bucs. The Cowboys know a win here and that will set up a crucial end of season match-up with the G-Men, which will most likely determine if they get in or not. The ‘Boys get a solid all around performance from every unit and get to 10 wins, and begin to prepare for the Giants. Record: 10-5
Week 17: Dec. 30, at New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET
The Cowboys, after losing both games to the Eagles, will not have a chance to win the NFC East, but a playoff spot will be on the line. If Dez Bryant is indeed int he same huddle as Odell Beckham Jr., then I can’t begin to even comprehend what that could mean. Bottom line: I don’t think Bryant ends up in New York. I don’t think Eli Manning can pose enough of a threat, and I LOVE the fact that this is not a prime time game (at the moment). The Jason Garrett non-believers will be calling for his removal, and he will know just that. Cowboys stun the Giants fan base, and head to the post-season. Record: 11-5
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