The Dallas Cowboys have their work cut out for them this season. They didn’t make a whole lot of improvements in the off-season. In fact, it feels like they may have gotten slightly worse. The good news is that they are tied with The Washington Commanders for the weakest strength of schedule. The bad news is that their O-line looked questionable already, and got even more questionable when Tyron Smith went down. Will it be another disappointing season, or will they figure it out despite all the challenges?
The Cowboys have a good team this season. That is not really debated by many people. There’s really one big question though. Are they actually contenders for a Super Bowl? There are a lot of teams who can potentially win ten or more games, but only a few that realistically have a shot at the ultimate prize. Do I think the Cowboys are one of those few? Honestly, no. I do however think they will have a good season, and make the playoffs.
I have broken the season into four quarters. Here is my game-by-game prediction.
The Cowboys’ First Quarter: Tough Start
The competition is fierce in the first two games of the season. The Cowboys are faced with an opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A revenge matchup from last season that was really close to going their way last time, but still a challenging game for us. They follow that up with the defending AFC champs the Cincinnati Bengals. Thankfully both games are at home in AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys should be grateful for any advantage they have against opponents like that.
I think they will get revenge and just barely squeak out a win against Tampa Bay, but I think they will come up short against Cincinnati.
The next two games are divisional games the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders. Divisional games are always hard-fought. They are the grind of any football team’s season. It’s facing the teams that know them and their schemes the best. They have to fight and claw for these wins.
That all being said I think the Cowboys should prevail in both of these contests. They are much more complete as a team, even with some of their flaws than either the Giants or the Commanders. I do think the Commanders will give them the most trouble out of the two teams though because they have the better quarterback.
Record After First Quarter 3-1
The Cowboys Second Quarter: Super Challenging
The start of this quarter is very challenging. It starts with the defending Super Bowl champion the Los Angels Rams. Followed up by our biggest rival for the division title this season the Philadelphia Eagles.
I think the Cowboys will lose both of these games. They are both on the road. Realistically both teams are better and more complete than the Cowboys. I think they will give Philadelphia a good fight. It just won’t be enough for this game.
The next two games bring a couple of NFC North juggernauts to Dallas. The Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. We already had the Bengals earlier this season. Hmmmmm…maybe the Cowboys can make it all the way to see the Wizard this season.
Sorry, got a little distracted daydreaming there. Dreams aside, I think the Cowboys can win both of these games. Both games are at home, and on paper, the Cowboys are better than both teams.
Record After Second Quarter 5-3
The Cowboys Third Quarter: Splitsville
They get the other half of the NFC North to start this quarter the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. Both games are on the road. This is coming out of a bye week, so that is slightly in the Cowboys’ favor.
I think they will split these two games. They will get the better of Green Bay. Minnesota will escape with a close one.
I think they will beat the Giants and complete the sweep of the division matchup. The Colts on the other hand stand out like a sore thumb to me. It just looks like a classic trap game. The later part of their season is easier on paper. This is a team they can easily overlook and underestimate. I’ve seen it happen to the Cowboys so many times. Games like these always get my hackles up. I think the Colts come into town and whip up on them.
Record After Third Quarter 7-5
The Cowboys Fourth Quarter: The Easy Home Stretch
The last five games of the season are probably the easiest and most winnable block of games for us. The first two, in particular, should be wins for them. They face the Houston Texans at home, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, away. I think they win both games going away.
The critical division game against the Eagles follows. This time it’s at home. I think the Cowboys gut out a really hard-fought game and get the split for the season with the Eagles.
The last two games are on the road. The Tennessee Titans and the Commanders. I think it will be a split to end the season. The Titans will get the win, but The Cowboys will get the win over the Commanders.
Record After Fourth Quarter 11-6
I don’t think that 11-6 will be good enough to win the division. So, they are most likely going to be in a wildcard spot. I think Dak Prescott is going to will this team to a playoff win in that first game. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll have enough to get past the divisional round.
Growing up, the standard for this franchise used to be championship or bust. I have to face the truth and admit to myself as a Cowboy fan for 43 years and counting, that’s just not the case anymore. I have been in denial about this for almost thirty years now. No more lying to myself. This team is a very good team, but it’s just not a Super Bowl-level team.
Jerry Jones will also continue to be a plague on my football-loving heart, but I still love this team. Even if it’s not a championship-level team anymore.