I've waited as long as possible to make my picks for this season. It helps to know the final makeup of the team heading into the regular season when deciding how the season might go down. I'm going to go through the schedule game by game and then make my overall prediction.
Week 1: Cowboys @ Redskins - I expect the Cowboys to come out slowly as they still need to find their rhythm offensively. But, in the end, I believe the Cowboys win this game. Prediction: Win. Record: 1-0.
Week 2: Cowboys vs. Bears - The Bears are an unknown at this point. But they have major problems along the offensive line and that spells doom against Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Prediction: Win. Record: 2-0.
Week 3: Cowboys @ Texans. I can't wait for this game. The Houston fans thought the Super Bowl took place during the preseason this year. It will be a tough game and probably a shootout, but I expect the Cowboys to get their revenge. Prediction: Win. Record: 3-0.
Week 4: Bye.
Week 5: Cowboys vs. Titans. The running game of the Titans will pose a challenge for the defense. But the Cowboys will score plenty of points to pull out the victory. Prediction: Win. Record: 4-0.
Week 6: Cowboys @ Vikings. I don't like the thought of a return visit to Minnesota. I think the game will be closer than the playoff game last year but I think the crowd still makes the difference. Prediction: Loss. Record: 4-1.
Week 7: Cowboys vs. Giants. The Giants are going to be a better team than most people realize. I'm giving the Cowboys the edge in a close game based on home field advantage. Prediction: Win. Record: 5-1.
Week 8: Cowboys vs. Jaguars. The Jaguars simply do not have enough talent to hang with the Cowboys. Prediction: Win. Record: 6-1.
Week 9: Cowboys @ Packers. The Cowboys will be rolling at this point but a visit to Green Bay is a tall order. I don't think the Cowboys will be able to overcome the Packers and their crowd in this one. Prediction: Loss. Record: 6-2.
Week 10: Cowboys @ Giants. The loss to Green Bay isn't a shocker but the media will start writing the obituary for the 2010 Cowboys after they lose a hard fought game against the Giants. Prediction: Loss. Record: 6-3.
Week 11: Cowboys vs. Lions. This game comes at the perfect time on the schedule for the Cowboys. Although the Lions will be dramatically improved compared to recent years I still think the Cowboys will win easily. Prediction: Win. Record: 7-3.
Week 12: Cowboys vs. Saints. This will be a colossal matchup. The Saints will surely be one of the NFC's best but the Cowboys match up extremely well with the Saints high powered attack. Prediction: Win. Record: 8-3.
Week 13: Cowboys @ Colts. The schedule does the Cowboys no favors here. The Colts aren't unbeatable but winning against the Saints and Colts in back to back weeks is too much to ask. Prediction: Loss. Record: 8-4.
Week 14: Cowboys vs. Eagles. The Cowboys proved last season that they have the perfect defense to stop the potent Eagle offense. Kevin Kolb doesn't change that fact. Prediction: Win. Record: 9-4.
Week 15: Cowboys vs. Redskins. The rivalry between these two teams makes a sweep hard to predict, but I don't think the Redskins have the offense to hang with the Cowboys. Prediction: Win. Record: 10-4.
Week 16: Cowboys @ Cardinals. The Cardinals are not the team they have been over the last few years. Despite the distractions of playing on Christmas I believe the advantage goes to the road team because they can easily block out the holiday distractions staying in a hotel. Prediction: Win. Record: 11-4.
Week 17: Cowboys @ Eagles. The schedule makers tried to recreate the drama of last season. But the Cowboys will already have the NFC East and the #2 seed in the playoffs wrapped up at this point. With the starters resting the Cowboys lose. Prediction: Loss. Record: 11-5.
Divisional Playoffs: The Cowboys will be playing this game at home by virtue of the #2 seed. That makes the difference this season as the Cowboys advance. Prediction: Cowboys advance to the NFC Championship. And there will be no repeat of the 2007 bye week Cabo trip. You can be sure of that.
NFC Championship: This is where things get difficult. With the tough regular season schedule the Cowboys face I believe they won't be able to lock up the #1 seed in the NFC. If they end up playing at home for the NFC championship game I think they can win. But I believe they will end up on the road in New Orleans or Minnesota. With that said, I think this is where the season ends for the Cowboys. Prediction: Loss.
I made these picks with my mind and not my heart. In my heart I know the Cowboys can win it all this season. And I know in my mind that they can do it too. But the uncertainty along the offensive line prevents me from making a Super Bowl prediction with any conviction. I have no doubt that the Cowboys can and will advance to the NFC championship this season provided there are no injuries to any key players.
So there you have it. 11-5 and a trip to the NFC championship game. I'm hoping for more, but I'll be disappointed if the Cowboys don't at least advance to the NFC championship game. I really hope I'm wrong and the Cowboys surprise me by winning it all this season.