Dallas Cowboys Schedule 2017-18: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Entire Season

Marcus Mosher@@Marcus_MosherFeatured Columnist IApril 21, 2017

Dallas Cowboys Schedule 2017-18: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Entire Season

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    On paper, the Cowboys schedule looks much tougher heading into 2017 than it did in 2016. But that's typically what happens when you finish first in the NFC. In 2015, the Cowboys finished last in their division and that gave them a fourth-place schedule heading into 2016. They won't have that benefit this season.

    The Cowboys will face off against the AFC South and the NFC South in 2017. The team will make multiple trips to the West Coast to take on the 49ers, Raiders and Cardinals.

    While the schedule looks tough, Dallas has the benefit of playing some of their more difficult opponents at home. The Cowboys will take on the Packers, Seahawks and Chiefs at home. All three of those teams are significantly worse on the road than when they are home. 

    However, the team will play four of its final five games on the road, and the only home game will come against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16. December will be the team's toughest part of the schedule. However, November should treat the team well as it plays three straight home games. 

    Now that the NFL has released the schedule, here are my week-by-week predictions for the entire season for the Dallas Cowboys.

Week 1: Giants vs. Cowboys

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 8:25 p.m. ET on Sunday Night Football on NBC

    Once again the Cowboys will open the season at home against the New York Giants. It'll be the third season in a row that the team plays against the Giants in Week 1 and the second time in three years that it will be broadcast on Sunday Night Football on NBC. This will be the 10th time Dallas opens against the Giants in franchise history. The Cowboys are 8-1 in those games, with their only loss came in 2016. 

    That matchup featured Dak Prescott getting his first start in the NFL. The Cowboys narrowly lost that contest, 20-19, as Prescott threw the ball 45 times for just 227 yards. Neither Prescott nor rookie Ezekiel Elliott played at their eventual Pro Bowl level during that game, yet they still had a chance to win at the end of the game. 

    The Giants brought in Brandon Marshall this offseason to play second fiddle to Odell Beckham, while the Cowboys lost Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr at cornerback. However, Dallas' offensive line and the development of Prescott and Elliott should help the Cowboys push past the Giants in a game that comes down to the last possession. 

    Prediction: Cowboys, 20-17

Week 2 : Cowboys vs. Broncos

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox 

    After facing the Giants at home, the Cowboys will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos. The Cowboys have lost five straight against the Broncos, dating back to 1995. Their last meeting was a game for the ages as Peyton Manning and Tony Romo combined to throw for 920 yards and nine touchdowns.

    The Cowboys narrowly lost the shootout, 51-48, as Romo threw an interception on the last drive of the game as he stepped on Tyron Smith's foot. If the 2017 meeting can give us even a fraction of the excitement that game did, we are all in for a treat. 

    The Broncos will be a tough test for the Cowboys as they have one of the best defenses in the entire NFL. It will be strength on strength when the Dallas offense is on the field facing the Broncos' loaded front seven. 

    What will likely be the deciding factor is how Trevor Siemian can play against the Cowboys defense. In what will likely be a low-scoring game, the Cowboys offense will make just enough plays to end their five-game losing streak versus the Broncos. 

    Prediction: Cowboys, 21-20

Week 3: Cowboys vs. Cardinals

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 8:30 p.m. on Monday Night Football on ESPN

    Dallas' one and only game on Monday night football will take place in Week 3 as the Cowboys take on the Arizona Cardinals and their high-flying offense. 

    The Cowboys have struggled with the Cardinals in their last few meetings. Dallas has lost four straight games against the Cardinals, allowing 26 points per game. 

    However, the Cardinals roster is aging and the Cowboys have one of the best young rosters in the NFL. Arizona has talent, but the Cowboys are just too talented on the offensive line. The Cardinals will likely be able to score fairly easily against Dallas, but the Cowboys are overall a far better team heading into 2017. 

    Prediction: Cowboys, 30-21

Week 4: Rams vs. Cowboys

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    Ryan Kang/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 1 p.m. ET on Fox 

    The Cowboys have won three straight games against the Rams and that number should rise in 2017. The Rams are rebuilding and are in the early stages of developing Jared Goff at quarterback. While the Rams offense should be better with upgrades on their offensive line, it's still one of the worst in the NFL. 

    New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips should be able to help hold the Dallas offense down for a while, but the Cowboys are just too talented to lose to this the Rams team. 

    Prediction: Cowboys, 24-13

Week 5: Packers vs. Cowboys

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox

    The Cowboys and the Packers have combined for some of the most exciting games in recent memory. Three of their meetings since 2013 have come down to the final possession of the game. 

    The Cowboys will be looking for revenge at home against the Packers as they are the team that eliminated them from the playoffs in 2016. Dallas' defense is still a work in progress and that will likely be the Achilles' heel for Dallas in the next meeting against Aaron Rodgers. Dallas' offense will keep it close, but Rodgers and the Packers offense will likely outscore the Cowboys at home. 

    Prediction: Packers, 37-34

Week 6: Bye

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    After back-to-back home games, the Cowboys will have their bye week in Week 6 of the NFL season. The team plays back-to-back road games after the bye. The team has had earlier byes in the past three seasons, with 2015 being the last time the Cowboys have had a Week 6 bye. 

Week 7: Cowboys vs. 49ers

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 4 p.m. ET on Fox

    The Cowboys have won four out of the last five games against the 49ers and three straight in San Fransico. The only loss occurred in 2014 in Week 1. Romo threw three interceptions as Dallas lost to the Jim Harbaugh-led 49ers. But the 49ers roster has been gutted over the past three seasons, leaving them void of talent on both sides of the ball. 

    With the 49ers having a new coach and one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, the Cowboys should be able to win this one quite easily. In 2016, the Cowboys beat the 49ers with rookie Dak Prescott and without the help of Dez Bryant.

    Prediction: Cowboys, 27-17

Week 8: Cowboys vs. Redskins

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Tim/Station: 4 p.m. ET on Fox

    The Cowboys have won their last four games in Washington. Their last loss in Washington came in 2012 during Week 17. That game has stuck in the minds of Cowboys fans as the game where Tony Romo threw three interceptions. It was another frustrating loss in an elimination game for the Dallas Cowboys, who failed to make the playoffs

    Dallas has had no problems scoring on the Redskins as of late, averaging 28.8 points per game in the past five games. The Redskins roster is in turmoil, and Dallas matches up well with Washington's defense. While it will likely be a close game, the Cowboys should be able to get a win on the road. 

    Prediction: Cowboys, 35-30

Week 9 : Chiefs vs. Cowboys

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    Peter Aiken/Getty Images

    Time/Station: 4 p.m. ET on CBS

    In Week 9, the Cowboys will take on the Chiefs at home. That likely means it'll be the first national game that CBS broadcasts in which the Cowboys will be playing. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo are expected to cover the game for the network. 

    The Cowboys and Chiefs have only met 10 times since 1970. In their last meeting, the Chiefs beat the Cowboys 17-16 in 2013 as Dallas struggled to run the ball (37 yards on 16 carries). While Kansas City's defense is still one of the best units in the NFL, the Cowboys have drastically improved their rushing attack and their offense overall. 

    The Chiefs offense relies on big plays from Tyreek Hill and turnovers on defense. If the Cowboys can control the clock and run the ball effectively, they should be able to handle the Chiefs at home.

    Prediction: Cowboys, 23-20

Week 10 : Cowboys vs. Falcons

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox

    Dallas' last meeting with the Falcons was a game that fans soon want to forget. After jumping out to a 28-14 lead with Brandon Weeden at quarterback, the Cowboys allowed the Falcons to score 25 unanswered points. Julio Jones caught 12 passes for 162 yards and two scores while running back Devonta Freeman accounted for 193 yards and three touchdowns as they dismantled the Cowboys defense.

    The Falcons have one of the best offenses in the NFL, and their defense is predicated on speed. While the Cowboys should be able to run the ball against the Falcons, Atlanta's offense is just too strong at home. In what should be one of the more entertaining games of the season, I expect the Falcons to narrowly beat the Cowboys in Atlanta in their new stadium.

    Prediction: Falcons, 31-27

Week 11: Eagles vs. Cowboys

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 8:25 p.m. ET on Sunday Night Football on NBC

    In the team's last meeting with the Eagles in Dallas, the Cowboys needed a fourth-quarter comeback to get to overtime, where they eventually won 29-23. It took a spectacular comeback by Prescott to get the game to OT and eventually seal the win. 

    Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott will always be linked because of the 2016 draft. Prescott was able to win the first real meeting as he only played two series in the Week 17 finale. In their first meeting, Wentz threw the ball 43 times for just 202 yards and one touchdown. However, after an offseason in which the Eagles have loaded up on playmakers, their offense should be much more lethal. 

    Their first meeting in 2017 won't occur until Week 11, but they will face each other twice in the final seven games of the season. As for this matchup, Prescott and the Cowboys offense are just too far ahead of Wentz and the Eagles, so it makes sense that Dallas can hold serve at home in a somewhat low-scoring game. 

    Prediction: Cowboys, 24-20

Week 12: Chargers vs. Cowboys

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    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS (Thanksgiving)

    On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys will take on the new-look Los Angeles Chargers as Dallas begins their back-to-back Thursday games. The Cowboys beat the Redskins on Thanksgiving in 2016, but they have struggled on the holiday since Jason Garrett has taken over as head coach (3-4). 

    The Cowboys have struggled against the Chargers as of late, losing three out of their last four games. However, the Chargers are nowhere near the same team they were in 2013 when the Cowboys lost 30-21 in San Diego.

    The new-look Los Angeles Chargers have a talented roster, but they are still a distant fourth in the AFC West. Their defense has playmakers, including 2016 first-round pick Joey Bosa, but they don't have enough talent on defense to slow down the Cowboys' rushing attack. The Chargers will be able to score in Dallas, but they won't be able to hold Dallas to under 27 points. It'll likely be a close game, but the Cowboys should be able to win this game at home.  

    Prediction: Cowboys, 30-24

Week 13 : Redskins vs. Cowboys

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 8:25 p.m. ET on Thursday Night Football on CBS

    For the second week in a row, the Cowboys will play on a Thursday and once again it will be on CBS. The Cowboys have won four out the last five games against the Redskins as the only exception came in Week 17 in 2015, when Kellen Moore played quarterback.

    The Redskins have had one interesting offseason, from the Kirk Cousins trade drama to firing the team's general manager. The team also lost Cowboy killer DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon at receiver and numerous other starters on defense. 

    The Cowboys haven't been a great team at home over the past few seasons, but Dallas seems to know how to score against the Redskins defense. With less talent on offense, it's hard to imagine the Redskins being able to keep up with the Cowboys' elite offense. This will be a tough game for Dallas as it will be the team's third game in 12 days. 

    Prediction: Cowboys, 34-31

Week 14: Cowboys vs. Giants

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox

    After winning five straight games against the Giants from 2013 to 2015, the Cowboys have lost three straight to New York. In the past three games, the Cowboys have only scored 46 total points. The Giants have built their roster to beat the Cowboys as they've added talent at receiver and numerous big-time pass-rushers on their defensive line. 

    The Giants beat Dallas twice in 2016 with Prescott at quarterback, holding Dallas to 26 total points. Playing in New York will be a tough test for Dallas, but this is likely a game the team will lose to a talented Giants roster. 

    Prediction: Giants, 23-17

Week 15: Cowboys vs. Raiders

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 8:25 p.m. ET on Sunday Night Football on NBC

    The Cowboys' third Sunday Night Football game and fourth night game of the season will come against the Raiders in California. This will only be the 12th meeting between two historic franchises. The Cowboys have won both of the previous two matchups, each on Thanksgiving Day. 

    The Raiders are very similar to the Cowboys in the fact that they have a young quarterback that plays behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Oakland has one of the best rosters in the league that will test Prescott and the Cowboys. This game could go either way, but Dallas just doesn't have enough talent on defense to hold the Raiders under 30 points.

    Prediction: Raiders, 30-27

Week 16 : Seahawks vs. Cowboys

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    Time and Station: 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox

    The Seahawks/Cowboys matchup will be one of the most anticipated games of the season, especially as it comes in Week 16. After Ezekiel Elliott's initiation with Seattle in the 2016 preseason, the league will get to see the most physical defense versus the league's best rushing attack. 

    Seattle and Dallas have alternated wins in their past four meetings, but in their last game, Dallas lost to the Seahawks by just one point despite starting Matt Cassel at quarterback. In that game, Dallas was only able to gain 220 total yards at home.

    Dallas' roster has been improved since their last meeting, and these are two of the top teams in the NFC. Expect a physical game that ends with the Cowboys winning by a last-second field goal. 

    Prediction: Cowboys, 20-17

Week 17 : Cowboys vs. Eagles

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Time/Station: 1 p.m. ET on Fox

    While this game is not scheduled as a prime-time contest, it very well could be flexed if this game could determine playoff seeds. Just like 2016, the Cowboys will finish the season against the Eagles in Philadelphia. 

    The Cowboys lost their matchup in Philly last season, but that came in Week 17 as Dallas had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Prior to their 2016 meeting, Dallas had won four straight in Philadelphia. 

    The Eagles have one of the better overall rosters in the NFL, but their weakness at linebacker and cornerback have allowed the Cowboys to exploit them through the air. Philadelphia isn't the easiest place to win, but Dallas has enough talent to beat the Eagles on the road. While this game may not mean anything, the Cowboys should prevail if both teams are at full strength. 

    Prediction: Cowboys, 21-20