The NFL schedule has been released and it makes for some good day dreaming and predictions for all……I had to join in the fun and share with all of you all.
In my early opinion, it is a tough schedule. There are 3 occasions where we have back-to-back road games, we have an early bye week, and travel to New York in December, that ugly stadium is never a good place to be at any time of the year, but especially in the dead of winter.
I also noticed that we play two teams that I think are going to make a step up this year in Seattle and Kansas City. I will hold out on my overall season prediction, because it can be so subjective and things can change so rapidly in the NFL, but here is my take on the first “quarter” of the season:
WEEK 1 – @ Tampa Bay – The Boys start the season on the road for the second straight year. This should be like last year’s opener, a convincing win. The Buccaneers are in rebuilding mode, Dallas should be ready to get things started on the right foot. A slow start with a big second half should end in a 31-13 victory. RECORD: 1-0 (0-0)
WEEK 2 – vs NY Giants – The NFL did us no favors with the G-Men opening up the new stadium in Arlington. A tough matchup every time, the Giants will be fired up to ruin our party on national TV. In a playoff atmosphere, The Boys will be hoping to show an improved run defense and it will be imperative in this game. This is truly a toss-up, but you have to believe we will pull off a thrilling win in the opening game in our new house, 27-24. RECORD: 2-0 (1-0)
WEEK 3 – vs Carolina – A tough follow-up to the emotional home opener, on Monday Night Football to boot. The Panthers will be attacking the Boys new-look secondary with Delhomme and Steve Smith, and it could make for a long night. Romo shines on the big stage but it won’t be enough as the Cowboys take their first loss of the season, and in the new house, and over-reaction ensues as it becomes official that we won’t go undefeated due to a 31-27 loss. RECORD: 2-1 (1-0)
WEEK 4 – @ Denver – We travel to the Mile High city fresh off the first defeat and face a Broncos team minus their pro-bowl QB and long time head coach, I anticipate they will be starting to find their footing by week 4 and it makes for a tough game, on the road. We look sluggish in the first hald but then turn loose the rushing attack to grind out a nail biting victory and the Cowboys nation rejoices in a 3-1 start thanks to a 17-10 win. RECORD: 3-1 (1-0)
WEEK 5 – @ Kansas City………………….
I am just very glad to see the dates and times that we will all be gathered around our TV’s or local sports bars or maybe even the beautiful new stadium for the lucky few, all living and dying with every play. All I know is that it is 148 days until we take the field in Tampa Bay for Game 1. It will be another great season of Cowboys Football and make sure you check in here at Lonestarstruck.com for all the best information and hottest graphics all season long!!
Cowboys Fan for Life – TD
So, this is was how it was supposed to look like?
The only question now: Is it a little too late? Only two weeks after being left for dead at 5-4 and facing a Sunday nighter in Washington the Dallas Cowboys have righted the ship to win two in a row with a bad Seattle team on deck Thursday.
So, whats the problem?
Everyone else won Sunday afternoon. The Giants win realistically closed any hope for the NFC East and are 10-1. With Tampa and Carolina at 8-3 and Washington, Atlanta and Dallas at 7-4 a playoff birth is far from a given at this point. I am usually not one to look ahead but for the sake of this post lets do so. Here are the remaining schedules for the above mentioned teams:
Dallas: H Seattle, A Pitt, H Giants, H Baltimore, A Philly……Pred. Rec: 11-5
Wash: H Giants, A Balt, A Cincy, H Philly, A San Fran…….Pred Rec: 10-6
Atl: A S Diego, A New Orleans, H Tampa, A Minny, H St Louis..Pred Rec: 9-7
T Bay: H New Orl, A Car, A Atl, H S Diego, H Oak……Pred Rec: 11-5
Car: A G Bay, H Tampa, H Denv, A Giants, A New Orl..Pred Rec: 11-5
The loss I gave Dallas was at Pittsburgh..win our home games and at Philly. The point is even with the win vs Tampa, lets give one of the wild cards to the second team in the South. It is going to come down to us and Washington. I dont think there is any arguement that 11-5 would get us in. 5 games left…need to win 4. Time to play like we are capable of. Remind anyone else of the Giants run last year? Played well down the stretch, snuck in as wild card, won all their road games….hmm
The most unlikely way to finish a game may have altered the course of the whole season. Overdramatic? Maybe. True…probably. The difference between 5-1 and 4-2 may only be just one game but in the big picture this loss feels worse than just one game. To come all the way back and have the game end on a blocked punt of all things just feels worse. A BLOCKED PUNT! While one loss in and of itself is not a big deal the psyche of the team is concerning. No longer dominant at home going into this game the Boys have played much better on the road. But now with all of the NFC East road games still to play and Pittsburgh, all of a sudden just getting into the playoffs is no longer a given.
It was the same time last year that a dramatic win in Buffalo, in roughly the same cercumstances, had Cowboy fans thinking big..real big. But now, just one year later, this loss could be a sign of things to come. Again, without being overdramtic they are still 4-2 and with games against the Rams and home vs Tampa in two weeks we could be 6-2 heading into a showdown with the Giants. But the bigger picture remains that this current edition has weaknesses, lots of them, that we supposedly corrected and are not:
- The offensive line, the same O-line that got abused by the Giants last year, got Romo beat up again yesterday. Also, for a 3rd straight game could not open many holes for MB3.
- The secondary, supposedly bolstered by M Jenkins & A Jones, could not stop K Warner in the 2nd half.
- Romo. When does he stop getting his a pass for his play? For a guy that has never won a playoff game he sure does get plenty of leeway. Should have at least 3 more turnovers yesterday. I know you are going say that I am crazy and to look at his stats. Thats fine. The numbers are there & when he is hot he is very good. All valid and I do agree. But Eli Manning took that next step. B Rothersberger has as well. P Rivers also. Maybe he needs a playoff win to do so. But the more I see Romo with his head down moping off the field instead of the fun loving, playful, winning QB the more I see the Cowboys season ending in the same heartbreaking fashion as it did yesterday …and last year.
Several weeks ago, the NFL released the opponents the Cowboys will be playing in 2008. Although we have been told which teams we will play at home and which are road games, the NFL has not yet released the date that each game will take place. I am sure that when the dates of the games are released, Kelly, here at StarStruck, will be busy designing schedules for us all to post on our sites.
Naturally, we will face each opponent in the NFC East twice during the regular season. This means that we will have to face the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles once on the road and once at home for a total of 6 games of the 16 game season. Although we won our division handily this year, we cannot take any of these games for granted. I have said it before and I will continue to say it: Year in and year out, the NFC East is one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NFL. Although I believe we are better overall than each of these teams, any one of them is capable of beating the Cowboys on any given day. I think we are the stronger team out of these opponents and will win the division again next year, but I will not be surprised at one or even two losses within the division. I can already feel some of you steaming at that last remark. Please understand, I am not being pessimistic, just realistic.
One side note: Considering that the Giants knocked us out of the playoffs this year, I would be very willing to bet that one Monday night game will involve us playing the Giants either at home or on the road. There’s too much drama there. The NFL almost has to put one of those games in prime time.
The remaining ten games in the regular season are made up of non-division opponents.
Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Of these teams, only four had losing records last year: the 49ers, Ravens, Bengals, and Rams. The rest were .500 or better. Six of our opponents made the playoffs. These were: the Giants, Redskins, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Packers, and Steelers. Since we play the Redskins and the Giants twice, that means that 8 of our 16 opponents for 2008 were playoff teams in 2007.
I have read some comments from other fans that we have an easy schedule and we should go undefeated in 2008. Again, I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but this is the NFL and since we were the number one seed in the NFC this last year, the powers that be in the league have no intention of making it easy on us. Although most of these teams didn’t come close to matching our 13-3 record last year, this will still be a tough schedule. Remember, we almost lost to Buffalo early this last season (and to be honest, we probably should have the way we played) but we pulled it out in the end. Just like I said about the NFC East, any team in the NFL has talent and can put together at least one great day of football (I think the Patriots would agree with that anyway).
As for an undefeated season, I would enjoy that just a much as any Cowboy fan. However, history makes me face the realistic probability that this won’t happen. Seldom does a team have that opportunity. It takes talent on your team, but due to the level of opposition in the NFL, a little luck is also usually needed. Personally, I would rather see us take a loss or two in the regular season and then go into the playoffs fighting mad. Lose early, get it out of our system and enter the playoffs knowing that we are a good team but not overconfident about it (Once again, I think the Patriots might agree with me here).
So, here’s what I think and some of you may write nasty things to me about it – but it’s ok, I can take it. We will win the NFC East. We will be the frontrunner for the Superbowl title and I think we WILL take it. Undefeated? No. I honestly believe our record will be no better than 14-2 and could even be 12-4. Again, I am not being negative, just realistic based on that schedule. We will lose at least one or two games in the NFC East and maybe one or two among our remaining opponents. I hope I am wrong. 19-0 would be wonderful. If I’m wrong I will gladly let my wife spank me and call me names (Hmmmm…..Now that I think about it……never mind. Now where was I??? Oh yeah….). The bottom line is that a tough schedule with some losses will prepare us to rise to the occasion when the playoffs arrive. Just like diamonds are made under extreme pressure, it may very well be the pressure of losses that cause our Stars to shine. Shine on Cowboys. Run for the Ring baby!!!
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