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2011/12 Dallas Cowboys Season Predictions

With the 2011/12 season only two weeks away, it’s time to walk out on that limb and put predictions into print. The first quarter of the season is laid out below and the three remaining quarters will be published over the next two weeks one quarter at a time.

1)@ New York Jets

This game has plenty of story lines and is the NFL’s juiciest matchup opening week. The Cowboys have the ability to pull off the upset and it would be a big upset to win on that day, in that stadium and against that defense.  A Potentially unhealthy Austin should make Cowboy fans nervous.  Plaxico Burress had a great preseason opening and could be dangerous but this game comes down to the Cowboys defensive line against the Jets offensive line.  Advantage: New York.  Result: Jets 23 - Cowboys 20. (L)

2)@ San Francisco 49ers

49ers will be plenty motivated with Dallas coming to town. This is not close to the same rivalry that existed in the 90s but there will be some fire.  The 49ers will be trying to start the season 2-0 after beating Seattle at home in week one.  Patrick Willis is an incredible player and Vernon Davis will provide some headaches in the middle of the field for the Cowboys defense.  Unfortunately for the 49ers, they will have no answer for Romo and Witten early on and the Cowboy running game will have a chance to take the air out of the ball in the fourth.  The 49ers led by Alex Smith will not be able to put enough points on the board in this one.  Advantage:  Dallas.  Result: Cowboys 31 – 49ers 20. (W)

3)Washington Redskins

Monday night Cowboys - Redskins can be explosive but these two teams did combine for one of the most embarrassing Monday night spectacles I’ve ever seen in a pathetic 9-7 victory that had Richard Simmons and Tony Robbins as part of pregame intro from ABC back in 2001. Dallas has a dramatic QB edge; Washington will have a dramatic edge in the running game despite Dallas having more talent in the backfield.  Think 4 to 5 bizarre or huge plays and the rest a pretty boring affair. These teams always come out like gangbusters and settle into a penalty ridden, mistake-laden, field position battle usually won by the home team.  Advantage: Dallas. Result:  Cowboys 17 – Redskins 13. (W)

4)Detroit Lions

Whatever control Dallas has exhibited thus far on defense containing opposing offenses goes out of the window in this game.  Despite Suh who will destroy the interior of the Cowboy line, this will be a Texas size shootout.  Stafford and Megatron will give the secondary fits all day but expect significant damage also to be inflicted by Brandon Pettigrew who will have a great year this year at TE.  Detroit will come into this game with surprising proficiency in the ground game and this game will serve as the toughest matchup of the young season for the Cowboy defense. Detroit’s weak secondary will be in trouble all day and Garrett may finish this game with a 2-1 ratio of pass to run.  Advantage:  Dallas.  Result: Cowboys 34 – Detroit 30. (W)

5)@ New England Patriots

This game will be an extremely high scoring affair but it’s not a guarantee that Dallas will contribute to the high score. New England will start throwing with four and five wides before the national anthem is over. If Dallas is not healthy in the secondary, they have no chance. Brady will get rid of the ball quickly and the only defense for him is to keep him off of the field. Dallas will need to pound the ball at New England which is not easy if both Wilfork and Haynesworth are playing. Dallas should see some success through the air and they have a big advantage individually against the New England secondary. Being an away game, it’s hard to imagine Dallas keeping up with New England much beyond the third quarter. Results: New England 37 – Dallas 24. (L)

6)St Louis Rams

This game appears to be a game the cowboys should win but the rams will be a tough win to get by this time in the season. Bradford’s growth is on a steep curve and he should be in strong command of this offense. The running game will be tough for Dallas to stop and Jackson is more than formidable enough to cause major issues for the Cowboy defense. The Cowboys should be able to pressure the Rams line but it could be scheme pressure vs. individual unless Spencer has a split personality we have yet to see. Offensively, the rams probably do not have enough talent at receiver to challenge the cowboys secondary. On offense, it will be all systems go for Romo and the air game. Expect a down the field early approach for Romo but the screen game will be very effective against this team with the aggressiveness of their Des. Chris Long will have an outstanding year this year but this will be a tough one for him. Results: Cowboys 27 – Rams 16. (W)

7)@ Philadelphia Eagles

This game will come with lots of hype but the real impact will come from the Cowboys safety position and the Cowboys offensive line. The cowboys will have to contend with a spirited Eagles pass rush and an overall much improved and more physical defensive line with the addition of Cullen Jenkins. However, the Eagles' linebacking core is suspect at best and if the backs can get to the second level, the Eagles will have to single up the outside where I like the Cowboys' chances. Witten will have a huge day if the Cowboys are playing close or with a lead. Defensively, Dallas will play over the CB on Jackson’s side almost all game and will blitz CBs and a safety with regularity. They need rusher in the backfield who have the wiggle and speed that Vick possesses and Spencer has no shot. The eagles will test the cowboys deep and often and Maclin should finish the game with a heavy number of targets. This is almost an even game mainly because the Cowboys offensive line is far superior to the Eagle line. Results: Eagles 23 – Cowboys 20. (L)

8)Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks most likely won’t be trotting in Tavaris Jackson at QB by this time of the season. With heavy limitations in the passing game, a no real speed threat offensively, The Seahawks should run of steam early in this one. This will prove to be one of the Cowboys most balanced affairs of the season with the running game setting up play action deep and over the middle to Witten with LB matchups. The Dallas defense will be solid and the pass rush should see at least five or six sacks while Seattle plays catch up for much of the game. Results: Cowboys 31 – Seahawks 13. (W)

9)Buffalo Bills
10)@ Washington Redskins
11)Miami Dolphins
12)@ Arizona Cardinals
13)New York Giants
14)@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15)Philadelphia Eagles
16)@ New York Giants

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