As a series of articles, we look at game by game predictions for each NFC East team. We continue with the Dallas Cowboys in this article as we look forward to their matchups between week 14 and 17, before looking at how their season panned out as a whole.
Week 14 – Away @ NY Giants – LOSS
As we enter the final quarter of the season, it’s crunch time for the Cowboys who sit at 7-5 and are right in the race for the NFC East; this about the time when the usual Cowboys collapse right? Well, these aren’t your usual Cowboys with their rookie QB at the helm, but it’ll be the same result this time around as the Cowboys drop a big divisional game away to New York who are also in the hunt for their first Division Title since 2011. Odell Beckham loves to turn it on against the Cowboys, maybe this time he’ll catch the ball inside a bicep curl to mix it up a bit; and once again he tortures America’s team for over 150 yards. This one is going to sting for Dallas.
Week 15 – Home v Tampa Bay Buccaneers – LOSS
I can’t stress how much I love the Buccaneers this year, I genuinely think if a few things go their way that they could be in for a deep run into the play-offs with a dynamic offence that has sophomore Jameis Winston under centre, Doug Martin and Charles Sims arguably one of the better RB duos in the league and Mike Evans a dynamic playmaker at Wideout could be an incredibly underrated offence. Their defence is at least improved from the sieve that it was last season with Brent Grimes added to the secondary; and I think will need a win to stay in the NFC Wildcard hunt and that’s exactly what they’ll deliver as Dak Prescott begins to crumble.
Week 16 – Home v Detroit Lions – WIN
With a bit of a splutter at the wrong time, it’s a welcome break to have a team that will likely be out of contention this year rock up at AT&T Stadium to allow them to get back on track and with the Redskins having exactly the same record at 8-7, leaves the NFC East well up for grabs in Week 17. The Lions secondary is certainly a group that needs to be recognised by Jason Garrett and planned for accordingly; whilst Ziggy Ansah may have a say on how long Dak Prescott (or Tony Romo for that matter) has to stay upright and pass the football. But I think they can squeeze out a result here with Matt Stafford missing Megatron too much and a so-so RB group that won’t put up enough points against Dallas.
Week 17 – AWAY @ Philadelphia Eagles – LOSS
A familiar scenario for Dallas this, Week 17, win and you’re (likely) in, and then Dallas goes and finds a spectacular way to blow; my personal favourite was Kyle Orton’s mini-meltdown in 2013 that allowed the Eagles to claim the NFC East title. Those same Eagles with nothing to lose spray the ball around with Carson Wentz now acclimatised to the NFL and is thriving in Doug Pederson’s offence enough to put up points. A loss here and a win for the Redskins against the Giants confirms back-to-back NFC East title for Kirk Cousins’ men and yet more final day disappointment for the Cowboys *the Redskins supporting writer of the article tries not to grin too much*
Summary: 8-8 Record
On the whole, despite missing Tony Romo for the first 6-10 weeks of the season, they find a potential face of the franchise in Dak Prescott, who I do genuinely believe can take the starting QB job and run with it this season. If he does so, then Prescott, Elliot and Bryant is going to be fearsome for years to come in the NFC East. The Cowboys could also have success by bringing Romo back when ready, however it runs the risk of turning into a 2015 repeat if they’re talking up Romo and his return (great confidence booster for a rookie ey?!) only for him to get injured yet again and derail them into another top 5 draft pick. Sorry Cowboys, if you’re expecting a comfortable worst to first like some NFL Pundits are predicting, then it’s worth tempering your expectations.
Photo copyright: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News