The NFL Schedule is out, and if there is anything more addicting than mock drafts, it is breaking down a brand spanking new 16-game lineup. I won't turn this into a three-hour special like ESPN, so start scrolling down.
@ New York Giants Loss
Great for television but as everyone saw last December, the Giants match up well with Dallas on both sides of the ball. Fans will be so excited to see if Brandon Carr can keep Victor Cruz’s dancing to a minimum.
Sadly, the defending Super Bowl champion just doesn’t lose this opening game. The Cowboys will start the season with a loss in New York for the second straight year.
Seattle will be an improved team in 2012, so it is really great to catch them early in the season. Having 12 days to prepare for them will add to the disparity in talent.
The scheduling gods also did Dallas a favor by allowing Dallas to get the longest non-division road trip out of the way in Week 2.
No Seattle Slip this time, Dallas rolls late in the third quarter.
Tampa Bay Win
The Bucs should bounce back closer to their 2010 form than their 2011 form we saw last year.
LeGarette Blount will be the toughest running back the defense will have seen to date, and their backfield will be even better if they draft Trent Richardson from Alabama.
On defense they will have a difficult time matching the weapons at Tony Romo’s disposal, so expect this to look similar to the Saturday night game in Tampa last season.
The Bears demolished the Cowboys in Arlington at the beginning of the 2010 season, and now have a true number one wide receiver to add to the attack.
Matt Forte will probably end up being a holdout into training camp, which would have a similar effect to Chris Johnson’s early 2011 form.
The defense should only need to keep this close, and DeMarco Murray will get an opportunity to run out the clock late.
Usually I am not a fan of an early bye week, but it was a benefit last season due to injuries. Given that Baltimore is the next game, one has to like having an extra week to prepare for that defense.
The Ravens are a team that can creep up on you—all of a sudden there are three minutes left in the fourth quarter and you are down by four.
Ray Rice will give the Cowboys' linebackers everything they can handle, and Joe Flacco ended the season making great throws into tight windows.
Few teams manage games as well as Baltimore, so expect them to creep out to a lead and ride Ray Rice to victory.
One of the brightest stars in the NFL meets the “star” of the league. Many quarterbacks go through a sophomore slump in the second season (Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, for example), and I expect Cam Newton to follow suit.
Aside from Steve Smith, there is no one for Newton to throw to that keeps you up at night. Giving Rob Ryan a chance to throw the kitchen sink at a young quarterback should be fun to watch.
New York Giants Win
Revenge time in Jerry World. October is the time of year when the Giants seem to perennially underachieve, while Dallas has a pretty good record in the second month of the season.
Ryan’s defense will have a second attempt to slow Cruz down, and the maturing offensive line should give Romo plenty of time to pick on the average Giant corners.
It will be close in the fourth quarter, but Romo will make a play late to break the game open.
Michael Turner is a really good running back, but the Falcons passing game hasn’t been phenomenal in years past.
Roddy White is a receiver that our corners should be able to handle one on one, contrary to what you might hear on ESPN (trust me, he has been on my fantasy roster the past two seasons).
White’s declining ability will allow extra resources to be used against Julio Jones—who is a true deep threat. If our secondary can make them one dimensional, Sean Lee takes care of the rest.
The Eagles will be a difficult test coming off a winning streak. Jason Garrett will need to keep this team mentally sharp after having a taste of success the past three weeks.
The Eagles have a focused DeSean Jackson and a Michael Vick who has nowhere to go but up in his play. It will not be as bad as last year’s Sunday Night Football game, but America’s team will come up short.
Colt McCoy will return to a University of Texas hotbed in Arlington, so expect more Texas McCoy shirts than Cleveland ones.
The Browns have given him very few weapons to utilize, and the draft can only help so much (even with two picks). McCoy will struggle against a defense this complex, and disappoint the fans who made the trip up from Austin to watch him win.
The Redskins drafting Robert Griffin III worries me immensely. He is a better passer than Vick, and arguably as fast. This will be his first Redskins/Cowboys game, and you cannot prepare for that.
Again, the defense feasts upon an inexperienced quarterback.
Having a second crack at a team goes a long way, and the Cowboys should take advantage of that. Vick seems to wear down towards the end of seasons, so the defense may be picking off another former UT quarterback in Vince Young.
Divisional games are almost always close, and this one is no exception. If the Eagles defense continues to line up in the nine-technique, start DeMarco Murray on your fantasy team.
The Bengals were extremely solid last season, especially at home. Andy Dalton should also be going through a sophomore slump, which will help Dallas.
With the Steelers looming next week and coming off an important win against the Eagles, the trap game gets the Cowboys again.
Playing the Steelers is tough any time of the season, but the fact that the game is being played in December does not make it any easier.
Unfortunately, there are no signs of stopping the Cowboys’ losing trend in December. Big Ben conducts his usual magic and leads the Steelers over Dallas.
New Orleans Win
This is a tough game to predict without knowing how the Saints will respond to not having Sean Payton calling the plays.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, there are no reports of Drew Brees being involved in the bounty program so he will still be playing. It will be a shootout, but the Saints’ season will be centered around how important their head coach is to their success.
Expect their offense to be potent, but lacking that sixth gear. That edge will push Dallas past them.
The Cowboys barely got out of FedEx Field with a win last season, and now the Redskins have RG3. This one could go either way, but when was the last time Dallas finished a season with a win?
10-6 Is a great record against this schedule, and should enable the Cowboys to garner at least the Wild Card—if not the division title in this parity-stricken NFC East.