Well, well, well. Apparently, in this off-season of Cowboys non-stories, it would appear that we may actually have a relevant news item to discuss. I won't lie, I enjoy the interviews with Troy Aikman and Deion Sanders, and I certainly enjoy the irony of many players, in an effort to talk about the team talking too much, offer another interview in which they themselves talk too much. But let's get to this glorious moment where we can finally lay out our autumn agendas.
As usual, every scribe in the city must now offer you a 16 game run through, where they will assign with complete certainty a result while having no context, nor information with which to make any of these predictions. And yet, we all do it anyway.
So, I want you to know, I do this under protest. Inside Corner (Evan) asked me if I wished to do this (you know what that means at a new job), but I want you to know that I don't have the slightest idea who Tampa Bay or Denver are going to start at QB (and neither do they!) so therefore to suggest I can tell you with the any degree of confidence that I have a clue what is about to happen is a flat-out lie. None of us have any idea who will be on the field, so this is crazy. For instance, in Week 13 features a date with the San Diego Super Chargers here. Can you tell me if LaDanian Tomlinson will be healthy? I will guess he will not be, but guesses are not very scientific.
We also have this little thing coming up called the NFL Draft. Often, the draft appears to actually supply teams with key elements of their squad for that year. Imagine the absolute idiocy of trying to project Atlanta's or Baltimore's season in 2008, without even knowing that Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco were on the roster - because the draft had not happened when the schedule was released.
At least now we know what order the games will be in. Deion told Max Morgan the other day that the team would go 8-8, and he didn't even know that! But, of course, he is Deion so I guess I am the crazy man for taking note of what he said.
So let's go through this thing and see where I end up.
1 Sun, Sept. 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers FOX 12 p.m.
Opener in Tampa Bay against a team that will have a new coach and a new attitude and the pretty hot temperatures of Tampa in September. I would anticipate the blue jerseys are out for the Cowboys and a stiff early test for the team. But given the simple fact that I honestly cannot tell you who their QB is, and I also cannot tell you their coach will quite know how to do this thing, I am going to give the Cowboys a win in week 1. WIN
2 Sun, Sept. 20 vs. New York Giants NBC 7:20 p.m.
New Stadium, eh? Interesting. This fixture is never easy to assess, but I have made a habit for years of simply rolling with a split against all 3 division foes, so let's give the Cowboys the home win to open the barn. The Giants will have Osi back, but life without Plaxico versus life without Terrell will be run into the ground by Madden and Michaels. WIN
3 Mon, Sept. 28 vs. Carolina Panthers ESPN 7:30 p.m.
A tough call because a game against Carolina can always be tricky. But, home again and prime time again, and I have the Cowboys off to another 3-0 start. WIN
4 Sun, Oct. 4 at Denver Broncos FOX 3:15 p.m.
Kyle Orton? Chris Simms? WIN! 4-0? Am I crazy here?
5 Sun, Oct. 11 at Kansas City Chiefs FOX 12 p.m.
Well, Todd Haley and Matt Cassell and Arrowhead to make me nervous here. I think I will take this opportunity to assure the 1972 Dolphins that they don't have to worry about the 2009 Cowboys. LOSS.
(insert clever punch-lines about winning the bye week here)
7 Sun, Oct. 25 vs. Atlanta Falcons FOX 3:15 p.m.
Hmm. The Playoff Falcons come calling. It would seem that this is another game where the Cowboys should be favored. At first glance, in a game this tight, I will take the 3 points for home advantage and say the Cowboys by a hair. WIN.
8 Sun, Nov. 1 vs. Seattle Seahawks FOX 12 p.m.
Seriously? WIN. Is it just me or has this schedule been amazingly easy? It will turn, but 6-1 is where i see this sitting heading into the meat.
9 Sun, Nov. 8 at Philadelphia Eagles NBC 7:20 p.m.
Actually, the Cowboys have won the last few prime time visits to Philadelphia, but after 44-6, I cannot in clean conscience try selling you on a win here. So that gets you to the turn at 6-2. LOSS
10 Sun, Nov. 15 at Green Bay Packers FOX 3:15 p.m.
This could be a fairly tough mid-November road date. But, who knows which Green Bay team actually is there in November. I suppose I should play percentages here and also consider my tattoo. LOSS
11 Sun, Nov. 22 vs. Washington Redskins FOX 12 p.m.
NFC East Split Theory. WIN - of course, last year the home team lost both games here, but let's play it by the book.
12 Thu, Nov. 26 vs. Oakland Raiders CBS 3:15 p.m.
The Raiders? At least we will all have a happy Thanksgiving. WIN. I have this thing at 8-3 heading into that evil December.
13 Sun, Dec. 6 at New York Giants FOX 3:15 p.m.
NFC East Split theory meets New York in New York where I am sure the Red Jerseys will be out. Once again, the Cowboys have demonstrated that they can win in this place, but we will project sad faces in this one. LOSS
14 Sun, Dec. 13 vs. San Diego Chargers CBS 3:15 p.m.
Home game against Norv? Wade will be flat-out ruthless. WIN
15 Sat, Dec. 19 at New Orleans Saints NFLN 8:20 p.m.
This seems like an extremely tough spot. I certainly find this another winnable road game, but clearly this is a week where if all injuries and expectations are as expected, they will likely be a dog. LOSS.
16 Sun, Dec. 27 at Washington Redskins NBC 8:20 p.m.
NFC East Split Theory LOSS
17 Sun, Jan. 3 vs. Philadelphia Eagles FOX 1 p.m.
NFC East Split Theory and I refuse to stand idly by and accept another loss in the Metroplex to those guys. Won't do it. WIN
So, 10-6? I realize I have the Cowboys winning every home game, but remember the NFC East split theory. I cannot possibly tell you that how NFC East divisional games are going to work out, but I do know that in most years, nobody goes 6-0 or 5-1 against the rest of the division. So, for years I play it safe and predict a 3-3 divisional record, and I am usually right. So, while I admit the Cowboys will most likely lose once or twice in Arlington (since it is tough to say they have built up a homefield advantage in a stadium where they have never played), they also may very well get out of Washington or New York with a road divisional win. I am just playing the percentages by giving them 3-0 at home, and 0-3 on the road.
We know they won't go 8-0 at home, and we are pretty sure they won't go 2-6 on the road, but this exercise understands that it will possibly even out to the overall record of 10-6.
10-6 gets you in the playoffs and maybe a division crown. I honestly will do this about 20 more times in my head before we get to 9/13, but that is where I sit right now.
Now, let me have it. How do you see this shaping up?