Cowboys' Win-Loss Predictions for 2022 NFL Season
The excitement for the 2022 NFL season is growing. The second week of the preseason is nearly complete, and Week 1 kicks off on September 8 with a matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills.
For the Dallas Cowboys, the season opens on September 11 against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's the same matchup with which Dallas opened the 2021 season.
The Cowboys lost in a 31-29 thriller against Brady and the Bucs a little over a year ago. However, they rattled off six consecutive wins after that, finished with a 12-5 record and won the NFC East. But they fell in the Wild Card Round to the San Francisco 49ers.
You can bet that Dallas has its sights set on a deeper playoff run in 2022, but it will first need to reach the postseason.
How will the Cowboys fare this season? Let's dive into what lies ahead and make some predictions.
Cowboys' 2022 Schedule
Week 1: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 2: Cincinnati Bengals
Week 3: at New York Giants
Week 4: Washington Commanders
Week 5: at Los Angeles Rams
Week 6: at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 7: Detroit Lions
Week 8: Chicago Bears
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: at Green Bay Packers
Week 11: at Minnesota Vikings
Week 12: New York Giants
Week 13: Indianapolis Colts
Week 14: Houston Texans
Week 15: at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16: Philadelphia Eagles
Week 17: at Tennessee Titans
Week 18: at Washington Commanders
Analysis and Expectations
Perhaps the best development for Dallas this offseason has been its ability to maintain continuity. The squad that won 12 games a year ago will largely return, with a few notable exceptions.
The offensive line lost both La'el Collins and Connor Williams. The receiving corps parted with Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr. Pass-rusher Randy Gregory spurned Dallas for the Denver Broncos in free agency. However, most of the key players—including Ezekiel Elliott, CeeDee Lamb, Dak Prescott, Dalton Schultz, Tevon Diggs, DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons—will return.
Head coach Mike McCarthy, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn are back as well.
Yet, the general expectation is that Dallas will take a step back in 2022. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the team's over/under for wins is set at 10. It remains the favorite to win the NFC East but is only a slight favorite.
Dallas is +140 (bet $100 to win $140), while the Philadelphia Eagles are +160.
Interestingly, the Cowboys received no votes from Bleacher Report's panel of NFL experts when it predicted division winners in July. Philadelphia was the consensus choice, while Wesley O'Donnell picked the New York Giants.
He said: "There are intriguing roster pieces on paper, they play one of the weakest schedules in the league, and maybe, just maybe, the changes made this offseason will light an unexpected spark. It wouldn't be the first time we've seen something like this."
Indeed, we haven't seen back-to-back division winners since the 2003-04 seasons (Philadelphia).
Dallas is among the favorites to win the conference, at 9-1 and behind only the Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. However, the Cowboys are pegged as a longer shot to win the Super Bowl, tied with the Baltimore Ravens at 20-1.
It seems Dallas is viewed as a good playoff team but perhaps not a legitimate title contender.
Anything can happen in the postseason, of course, and as we mentioned in the intro, the Cowboys first have to get there. Our expectation is that Dallas does indeed reach the playoffs.
While we could go through the schedule on a week-by-week basis and pick wins and losses, it's better to view Dallas' opponents as a whole.
Games against the Giants, Washington Commanders, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars do, at first blush, appear like "easy" wins. However, flukes happen. The Cowboys could easily lose a game in which they are heavily favored and then turn around and win the next week as an underdog.
Looking at the schedule as a whole, Dallas fans should feel confident heading into Week 1. The Cowboys have the league's easiest schedule (tied) in terms of opposing 2021 win percentage (.462).
It would take a significant injury or other setback for the Cowboys to fall below 10 wins in 2022, even with teams like Philadelphia and Jacksonville appearing to be significantly improved this offseason.
The biggest threat in the division is Philadelphia, a team Dallas beat twice in 2021. The Eagles also made the postseason in 2021, and they added some quality pieces in the offseason, including rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis, veteran corner James Bradberry and star receiver A.J. Brown.
The prediction here is that Dallas and Philadelphia split their regular-season series and vie for the division crown right down to the season finale. The Cowboys may ultimately not repeat as division champs, but don't expect them to fall off much in the win column.
Win-Loss Prediction: 11-6
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