- Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter
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Predicting a season five months before it even starts with so many unknowns is impossible. There are too many twists and turns that will happen between now and the season opener. But that doesn't mean we can't have a little fun and go off what we think we know right now and make a guess. So with that in mind, hold on for a slow start but a fast finish by the Cowboys.
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13 vs. New York Giants, 8:30 p.m.
There was a time Eli Manning and the Giants owned AT&T Stadium. Not anymore. The Cowboys will make it five in a row against New York overall. Cowboys 31, Giants 23. Record: 1-0
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20 at Philadelphia Eagles, 4:25 p.m.
The story of the week will be DeMarco Murray, who led the NFL in rushing last year for the Cowboys but left as a free agent for the Eagles. But don’t be surprised if another former Cowboy, Miles Austin, has a big day. Eagles 33, Cowboys 27. Record: 1-1
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27 vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
With a new coach, the Falcons could be a quick-turnaround team considering the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball. If they get better up front, then this will be a tougher game than many believe. Cowboys 31, Falcons 28. Record: 2-1
Week 4: Sunday Oct. 4 at New Orleans Saints, 8:30 p.m.
The Cowboys last trip to New Orleans was an embarrassment. They aren’t close to being the same team, but the same can be said about the Saints and not in a good way. Still, Drew Brees has some magic inside the Superdome. Saints 41, Cowboys 35. Record: 2-2
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11 vs. New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m.
Tom Brady will be making his first and likely last trip to AT&T Stadium for a regular-season game. The defending Super Bowl champs might have suffered some losses, but they are still the best-coached team in the league and know how to get it done. Patriots 31, Cowboys 27. Record 2-3
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25 at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m.
The Cowboys have won three in a row at MetLife Stadium and will desperately need to get to .500 with a win here. Coming off the bye week will be a big help. Cowboys 24, Giants 21. Record: 3-3
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1 vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m.
The Cowboys won at Seattle last year in a game kept close by some special-teams gaffes. As much as the Cowboys had an offensive formula to beat Seattle in 2014, the defense was outstanding. They get the job done at home versus Russell Wilson. Cowboys 24, Seahawks 20. Record: 4-3
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 8:25 p.m.
The Cowboys seem to have righted the ship with back-to-back wins and will welcome Murray to Arlington for the first time. The bigger question might be who is playing quarterback for the Eagles. Will Sam Bradford be healthy? Dare we wonder about Tim Tebow? Cowboys 38, Eagles 27. Record: 5-3
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Will the Cowboys get to see Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota? Probably Winston. They will get to see ex-teammates Bruce Carter, Henry Melton and Sterling Moore, who signed with the Bucs as free agents. Cowboys 34, Buccaneers 20. Record: 6-3
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22 at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
The last time the Cowboys saw Ndamukong Suh was in the wild-card round in January against the Detroit Lions. He cashed in as a free agent with the Dolphins and will make that defense a lot tougher. So much so that Ryan Tannehill won’t have to carry the show: Dolphins 24, Cowboys 22. Record: 6-4
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 26 vs. Carolina Panthers, 4:25 p.m.
Greg Hardy gets to go against his former team in front of a national audience. Do you think he will be fired up for this one? The Cowboys will need him to be at his best to pressure Cam Newton, who can beat a team with his legs and arm. Cowboys 30, Panthers 20. Record: 7-4
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 7 at Washington Redskins, 8:30 p.m.
No matter the record, this one will be difficult. They always are with the Redskins. But the Cowboys enter this game feeling pretty good and know they need a win with what awaits them next week. Dan Bailey wins it at the gun. Cowboys 24, Redskins 23. Record: 8-4
Week 14: Dec. 13 at Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
It would be sweet justice if the Cowboys win this game on a late-touchdown catch on a fourth-down play to Dez Bryant considering what happened at Lambeau Field in the divisional round of the playoffs. Of course, Aaron Rodgers figures to be healthy, too. Packers 33, Cowboys 24. Record: 8-5
Week 15: Dec. 19 vs. New York Jets, 8:25 p.m.
Todd Bowles had the Cowboys guessing wrong last year when he was Arizona’s defensive coordinator, but that was with Brandon Weeden as the Cowboys’ starter. The Darrelle Revis-Dez Bryant matchup will be a thing of beauty. Cowboys 23, Jets 16. Record: 9-5
Week 16: Dec. 27 at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
How much snow will be on the ground? It won’t matter. The Cowboys are built to win on the ground and will be able to control the game. Tony Romo had five picks in his last trip to Ralph Wilson Stadium, but they still won. Cowboys 31, Bills 17. Record: 10-5
Week 17: Jan. 3 vs. Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.
After a 2-3 start, the Cowboys have gone 7-2 and are in position to earn a first-round bye with a win against the Redskins. Who knows if Robert Griffin III will still be the Washington quarterback. Regardless, the Cowboys wrap up a playoff spot. Cowboys 27, Redskins 16. Record: 11-5
Hold on for a slow start but a fast finish by the Cowboys.