It’s a slow day in Cowboyland today, which means it’s the perfect time to conduct that time honored ritual practiced by sports talk radio hosts the nation over. Oh yes, children. Time to play the schedule game, where we look down the 2010 schedule, pick every game, and end up with an overall record prediction for your Dallas Cowboys. One of the things I like about the schedule game is that it makes the effort and toll of a four-month season seem like nothing at all. Oh, September? Oh, we’ll win all those games. NEXT!
So let’s get right into this puppy and figure out where your team stands. Dallas plays the third most difficult schedule in the league this year, according to preseason strength of schedule rankings. Their out-of-division opponents include every team from the NFC North and the AFC South, two extremely top-heavy divisions. Finishing first in the East last year means the Cowboys will also play the other three division champs in the NFC. Think 13-3 is a given? Yeah, I don’t think so, Bubba. Here goes nothin’.
Week 1 at Washington: The perfect time to catch the Redskins as they adjust to a new coach and a new QB. They’ll have kinks that need ironing out, and I expect the Skins offense to struggle mightily against this Cowboys defense. Also, Dan Snyder will be all sad the Skins lost, because he’s a child like that. Verdict: WIN
Week 2 vs. Chicago: Ooh! It’s the Martzified Jay Cutler! I think 40 picks for Cutler is practically a done deal. Verdict: WIN
Week 3 at Houston: Every year I pick Houston to finally break through and make the playoffs, and every year I am proven horribly wrong. Anyway, this is a dangerous team with Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, but I think the Cowboys will go into the bye week unbeaten. Verdict: WIN
Week 4: BYE
Week 5 vs. Tennessee: One of the hottest teams in the NFL at the end of last season and a team that has looked pretty dynamite thus far in the preseason. Perfect spot to lay an egg. Verdict: LOSS
Week 6 at Minnesota: No Sidney Rice this time in the divisional rematch. Surely, the Cowboys will be all revengey after Favre and company supposedly ran up the score in the playoffs. Verdict: WIN
Week 7 vs. Giants: I have no clue what to make of the Giants this year. They aren’t that far from winning the Super Bowl, yet they went into the tank after starting 5-0 last year. I just have no idea. Verdict: WIN
Week 8 vs. Jacksonville: But I KNOW the Jags will suck! Yes I do! Verdict: WIN.
Week 9 at Green Bay: Potential NFC title game preview. Green Bay has a better o-line this year and they still have the same defense that crushed Dallas last year. Not good. Verdict: LOSS
Week 10 at Giants: I’ll call it a split with New York. Verdict: LOSS
Week 11 vs. Detroit: Oh, what a perfect spot for a letdown. The Lions aren’t all that bad this year, and this is the soft spot in the center of an absolutely brutal six game stretch that includes both of last year’s Super Bowl teams. They can’t afford to lose this game, yet it’s exactly the kind of game Wade Phillips can screw up. Verdict: LOSS
Week 12 vs. New Orleans: The Saints game turned everything around last year and made the Cowboys the favorite of many to reach the Super Bowl that the Saints eventually wound up winning. Verdict: WIN
Week 13 at Indianapolis: Yeah, no way. Verdict: LOSS
Week 14 vs. Philly: Both Philly games come in the final four weeks of the season. Again, both could prove pivotal in the division race. Call it another split. Verdict: WIN.
Week 15 vs. Washington: I fully expect the Skins to be hovering around .500 and on the fringes of the playoffs by this time. Dallas knocks them out. Verdict: WIN
Week 16 at Arizona: Never overestimate Matty Leinart and his collection of puffy vests. Verdict: WIN
Week 17 at Philly: I have Dallas at 10-5 going into this one, the third straight year they meet Philly in the final week of the season. I think that’ll be enough to get them in the playoffs. Verdict: LOSS
So there you have it. 10-6 and a playoff spot. A fairly successful season that you will find disappointing given your sky high expectations. But hey, I hear Bill Cowher will still be available.
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