Dallas Cowboys 2012 Schedule: 5 Must-See Games and Predictions

Lawrence BurnealContributor IApril 21, 2012

Dallas Cowboys 2012 Schedule: 5 Must-See Games and Predictions

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    Every season, the Cowboys play a lot of nationally televised games. The Cowboys are referred to as America’s team, after all. This season however, the Cowboys seem to play a game every week that could have been nationally televised.

    Each team in the NFC East is continually building. Soon, the Redskins will add their franchise quarterback and add the second mobile quarterback to the division.

    There is no doubt that the Cowboys have a tough road to the postseason. They have to beat playoff-caliber teams, or they will finish on the outside looking in on the playoffs.  

1. Week 1 at NY Giants

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    The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants kick off the NFL season with their Tuesday night opening game at the New Meadowlands. The Cowboys will be looking to revenge their Week 17 loss last season that propelled the Giants into the postseason and eventually the Super Bowl.

    This game is going to set the tone for the season. Two seasons ago, the Cowboys lost a nationally televised game against the Redskins in Week 1 because of a holding call on a last-second touchdown pass. The Cowboys never recovered, resulting in numerous changes in personnel and coaches.

    The Cowboys need to win this game. They need the confidence that will come from beating the defending Super Bowl champions. If the Cowboys can come out and beat the Giants in their stadium, they will set the tone for the rest of the season.  

2. Week 7 at Carolina Panthers

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    This is the Cowboys’ first look at Cam Newton. Newton was the most statistically productive rookie quarterback in history last season, and he will be looking to duplicate that season while winning more games.

    Between Newton, Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III, the Cowboys will face at least five extremely mobile quarterbacks during the season.

    When the Cowboys face Newton, all of America should be watching, because Sean Lee and DeMarcus Ware attempting to stop Newton will be a great show.

3. Week 9 at Atlanta Falcons

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    In Week 9, the Cowboys will visit the Falcons. Matt Ryan and Tony Romo will face off as two of the second-tier quarterbacks attempting to establish themselves in the elite class. This will also be the Cowboys' first look at the Falcons' new explosive offense.

    Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez will be a true test of how well Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones selected free agents and draft picks this offseason. The new-look Cowboys secondary will be put to the test against some of the best receivers in the league. A win against the Falcons could help position the Cowboys for an opportunity to have a first-round bye.  

4. Week 15 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The last time the Steelers and the Cowboys met was in 2009 when the Cowboys blew a fourth-quarter lead, costing themselves a playoff berth and basically ending the Terrell Owens Era in Dallas. Romo threw a late interception for a touchdown to seal the game for Pittsburgh.

    After the game, the Cowboys team imploded. Between Romo, Owens and Witten’s fued and Jerry Jones questioning the toughness of Marion Barber, the Cowboys were in full circus mode, and it could have been stopped by a win in Pittsburgh.

    This season, they still play late in the season, but this time, it will not be in the Pittsburgh cold. The Cowboys need to win this game and prove they can win against the powerhouses in the AFC.

5. Week 17 at Washington Redskins

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    In recent years, the Cowboys have always seemed to have something to play for in Week 17. Whether it is for a division title or a Wild Card berth, three out of the last four seasons have had playoff implications in Week 17.

    This season, the Cowboys get their second look at Robert Griffin III in Week 17. The Cowboys will have already faced a mobile quarterback four times in the season. If they still have not found a way to defend against these quarterbacks, the Cowboys will have trouble reaching the postseason.

    Cowboys fans should be ready to watch Griffin play against the Cowboys for a long time. This will be the first chapter in a long rivalry between the Cowboys and Griffin, and it's a chapter they need to win.  

Final Record

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    Record:  11-5

    Wins: @ NY Giants, @ Seattle, Tampa Bay, Chicago, @ Carolina, Cleveland, Washington, Philadelphia, @ Cincinnati, New Orleans, @ Washington  

    Losses: @ Baltimore, NY Giants, @ Atlanta, @ Philadelphia, Pittsburgh