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 Dallas Cowboys: Game by Game Predictions for America’s Team

ARLINGTON, TX – AUGUST 26: Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) warms up before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks on August 26, 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys: Game by Game Predictions for America’s Team

Can The Cowboys Make It 10+ Wins In Back-To-Back Seasons For The First Time Since 1995 and 1996?

When the dust settled at AT&T Stadium on January 16, the Dallas Cowboys’ season ended abruptly – they’d lost in the Wild Card round to the San Francisco 49ers and entered a long offseason full of more questions than answers. As the season’s opener approaches Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many of those questions have been answered. How effectively they’ve been answered is an entirely different question, and one that can only be answered with time. 

Heading into the offseason, Dallas found itself needing to replace a multitude of offensive players, both at skill positions and on the interior. Among the departures were wide receivers Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr, guard Connor Williams, and tackles La’el Collins and (at least for now due to injury) Tyron Smith. The Cowboys addressed their offensive line first in the draft, picking Fort Worth native Tyler Smith 24th overall with intentions of making him their future left tackle. He now appears poised to be pressed into duty sooner than expected, a concerning development the Cowboys are aiming to mitigate with the signing of 40-year old former Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters. Dallas also drafted Jalen Tolbert in the third round of the draft, a slot receiver from South Alabama they’re hoping can replace much of Amari Cooper’s production from the same spot. 

It’s easy to look at the Cowboys’ offseason and wonder if their offense can possibly look as potent as it has in recent years with such major losses. It’s also important to remember that Dallas was operating from a relative surplus – aside from an extremely talented quarterback in Dak Prescott, players like Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb, and Dalton Schultz have all shown high ceilings as offensive weapons. 

The good news around The Star in Frisco is that the Cowboys’ defense has been seeing steady improvement. They’ve hit with recent draft picks like Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons, and 2022 second rounder Sam Williams has been drawing rave reviews at camp heading into this season. The hiring of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn heading into last season certainly played a part in their improvement, and Dallas is positioned for more success this season if they can maintain a similar level. 

The Cowboys will face a manageable schedule this season, ranked by Warren Sharp’s 2022 Football Preview as the 11th-easiest in the NFL. Let’s take a closer look at each game in order to project the trajectory of this fall’s Cowboys campaign. 

Week 1: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, September 11 / 7:20pm

For the second consecutive season, the Cowboys will open the season against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Dallas lost an incredibly tight game in Tampa Bay last season and are surely chomping at the bit for revenge as they welcome Brady’s Bucs into AT&T Stadium. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, their newly shaky offensive line is running into a bit of a buzzsaw. Tampa Bay’s front seven is vicious and is unlikely to allow Mike McCarthy’s team to establish the run game they’d like. Dak Prescott will need to produce under immense pressure, as will the Cowboys’ defense. They’re certainly capable of winning, but it feels slightly more likely that they fall just short. Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Cowboys 24

Week 2: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, September 18 / 3:25pm

For a second consecutive week to open the season, Dallas plays host to a contending team led by a famously clutch quarterback. Cincinnati doesn’t boast nearly the intimidating faces Tampa Bay’s front seven does but has a solid secondary and arguably the best receiving corps in the NFL. The Bengals have made significant improvements to their offensive line (notably adding former Cowboy La’el Collins, among others), but are still likely to struggle with the Cowboys’ strong defensive front. Dallas ought to be able to pressure Joe Burrow into uncomfortable situations, opening up opportunities for their ball-hawking secondary to go to work. Prediction: Cowboys 30, Bengals 26

Week 3: at New York Giants

Monday, September 26 / 7:15pm

The Cowboys head on the road for the first time in Week 3, taking on their first divisional opponent as well. The New York Giants are aiming to turn the page on recent seasons failures with new head coach Brian Daboll, part of which involves removing themselves from punching bag status in the eyes of Dallas. The Cowboys won last year’s two matchups comfortably, outscoring New York 65-26 while picking off Giants’ backup quarterback Mike Glennon five times. They’ll likely have to contend with starter Daniel Jones instead this season, but ought to be able to handle business against one of the league’s weakest overall rosters. Prediction: Cowboys 27, Giants 12

Week 4: vs. Washington Commanders

Sunday, October 2 / 12:00pm

The Washington Commanders pay a visit to AT&T Stadium in Week 4, a second consecutive divisional opponent who couldn’t figure out Dallas last season. The Cowboys outscored Washington 83-34 over two games last year, though most of that margin came in a 56-14 drubbing on December 26. Dallas’ defense stifled Washington last year, allowing quarterback Taylor Heinicke to complete just 18 of 47 (38.3%) of his passes for two touchdowns and three interceptions. The Commanders’ offense should improve at least somewhat after a productive offseason – Washington acquired quarterback Carson Wentz while spending draft capital on weapons at both running back (Brian Robinson Jr.) and wide receiver (Jahan Dotson). Prediction: Cowboys 23, Commanders 16

Week 5: at Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, October 9 / 3:25pm

A trip out west to battle the reigning Super Bowl Champion LA Rams comes next in Week 5, a team the Cowboys haven’t faced since the opener of 2020’s season. That game was also at SoFi Stadium, but without fans – this game will have plenty of fans, a significant number of which might be rooting for the traveling Cowboys. Despite that, Dallas will certainly have their work cut out for them in Tinseltown against one of the league’s strongest overall rosters. Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, and Bobby Wagner all make the Rams front seven on defense a fearsome unit, and Los Angeles’ ability to stick Jalen Ramsey on CeeDee Lamb all game will make them a tough shell to crack here. Prediction: Rams 31, Cowboys 21

Week 6: at Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, October 16 / 7:20pm

The Cowboys’ trip to Philadelphia in Week 6 marks their third primetime TV slot already, and appears preseason to be a battle between the NFC East’s top contenders. Like Washington and New York, Dallas pulverized the Philadelphia Eagles last season by a combined 92-47 score. They only saw Jalen Hurts once, as Philadelphia benched many of their starters in favor of a Gardnew Minshew-led attack in Week 18. The Eagles are a trendy pick to steal the division crown from Dallas after some big additions, most notably star wideout AJ Brown. Philadelphia ranks near the top of the league on both the offensive and defensive lines, and have set up Jalen Hurts for success if he rises to the occasion. Prediction: Eagles 24, Cowboys 20

Week 7: vs Detroit Lions

Sunday, October 23 / 12:00pm

Dallas returns home after road trips to each coast, and finally lands in a softer scheduling spot against the Detroit Lions Week 7. The Cowboys ought to shred the Lions’ defense, a unit projected by Warren Sharp’s 2022 Football Preview to rank in the bottom third both in the front seven and secondary. Detroit does have some intriguing offensive weapons around Jared Goff and a top-tier offensive line, but have yet to put it all together under second year head coach Dan Campbell. The Lions may improve from an awful 2021 but aren’t ready to win a game like this one on the road in Dallas. Prediction: Cowboys 37, Lions 17

Week 8: vs Chicago Bears

Sunday, October 30 / 12:00pm

The Cowboys stay at home in Week 8, taking on the Chicago Bears. The Bears are firm believers in second-year quarterback Justin Fields, a dual threat player oozing with talent. If Fields is going to take the next step, though, it’s going to happen behind arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. Dallas more than has the ability to make Fields’ life miserable here, and ought to also take advantage of Chicago’s poor secondary. Prediction: Cowboys 35, Bears 7

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: at Green Bay Packers

Sunday, November 13 / 3:25pm

There is hardly ever a good time to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, but after a much-needed bye might be the best time to head to Lambeau for the Cowboys. This game represents the Cowboys’ first 2022 exposure to potentially very cold weather, as well as an opportunity to see where they stack up against one of the NFL’s premier rosters. The departure of Davante Adams to Las Vegas hurts Aaron Rodgers downfield weaponry considerably, but the Packers are otherwise formidable across the board. In order to win at Lambeau, the Cowboys will have to play mistake-free football on offense while pressuring Rodgers into situations that highlight his lack of weapons. Prediction: Packers 31, Cowboys 28

Week 11: at Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, November 20 / 3:25pm

Dallas stays up north for a second consecutive week to take on the Minnesota Vikings, this time playing indoors at US Bank Stadium. Minnesota’s offense is full of elite weapons, from running back Dalvin Cook to an elite pair of receivers in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Kirk Cousins has plenty of options but may suffer behind one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines – especially against the likes of Dallas. The Vikings are also projected to start two rookies in the secondary, and an aging front seven may struggle to get pressure all season. Prediction: Cowboys 34, Vikings 27

Week 12: vs New York Giants

Thursday, November 24 / 3:30pm

While it’s hard to imagine Daniel Jones and the Giants looking comfortable in a new offense under Brian Daboll during the season’s first few weeks, they’ll likely look a lot better by the time they head to Dallas for Thanksgiving. This would be an understandable spot for the Cowboys to exhale a bit after two difficult road tests in Green Bay and Minneapolis, and New York could certainly make things interesting if they do. Ultimately, Dallas’ talent at home wins out. Prediction: Cowboys 21, Giants 16

Week 13: vs Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, December 4 / 7:20pm

The Cowboys find themselves back in primetime once again on Sunday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 13. Since Frank Reich took over as the Head Coach in Indianapolis, he’s worked with a different quarterback every season. This year will be no different, with Matt Ryan taking over after Carson Wentz was jettisoned to Washington. Most believe this is an upgrade for Indy, as the assumption is that Matt Ryan’s final days in Atlanta weren’t his most motivated. What we do know about the Colts is that they are proficient at running the football behind an excellent offensive line and have one of the NFL’s better defenses up front. Dallas will need to be physical to win, and I think they’ll do just enough. Prediction: Cowboys 28, Colts 27

Week 14: vs Houston Texans

Sunday, December 11 / 12:00pm

First year coach Lovie Smith and the Houston Texans make the trip up I-45 to Arlington in Week 14 for the first matchup between these in-state opponents since 2018. The Texans won that game 19-16 as favorites, but certainly won’t be expected by many to do the same this year. Davis Mills has shown some promise under center, and Houston fans are excited about rookie running back Dameon Pierce as well. Things may be moving in the right direction in Houston but winning on the road in Dallas doesn’t appear likely. Prediction: Cowboys 33, Texans 21

Week 15: at Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, December 18 / 12:00pm

For the third time in the 2022 season and the second time in two weeks, Dallas takes on a second-year quarterback in Trevor Lawrence when the Cowboys travel to Jacksonville for a date with the Jaguars. Jacksonville also mirrors Houston in that they’ve hired a new head coach, and a former Super Bowl Champion in Doug Pederson. Given all the noise surrounding Urban Meyer last season and Travis Etienne’s season-ending injury, it’s difficult to know how Jacksonville may have looked if things broke their way. When considering Trevor Lawrence’s incredible talent and career at Clemson, it’s not hard to imagine a more competitive team emerging in the Jaguars if healthy. Prediction: Cowboys 28, Jaguars 22

Week 16: vs Philadelphia Eagles

Saturday, December 24 / 3:25pm

Philadelphia’s Week 16 trip to Arlington just might decide the NFC East and should be quite a Christmas Eve treat to watch. Following games against Houston and Jacksonville, Philadelphia will have probably had Dallas’ full attention for several weeks already. This is also Philly’s third consecutive road game, a historically poor sign for a team needing a late season win. This will be must watch television, and I don’t think the Cowboys let Philadelphia clip them twice. Prediction: Cowboys 20, Eagles 17

Week 17: at Tennessee Titans

Thursday, December 29 / 7:15pm

Dallas’ second Thursday game of the season is a difficult trip to Tennessee in a spot both teams will likely be ultra-motivated and needing a win. Head coach Mike Vrabel lost his best weapon on at wide receiver this year in AJ Brown and is hoping Arkansas rookie Treylon Burks can replace at least some of his production. The biggest factor for Tennessee, of course, is the return of Derrick Henry. The Titans’ journey to the #1 seed in the AFC without Henry last season was nothing short of remarkably impressive and speaks to a well-coached group. Prediction: Titans 27, Cowboys 21

Week 18: at Washington Commanders

Sunday, January 8 / TBA

To this point, we’ve projected Dallas to hold an 11-5 record including winning four of their five divisional games. If they do manage such a season, it’s difficult to imagine Philadelphia (or anyone else) remaining in tight contention for the NFC East title. I’m doubting that Mike McCarthy and his staff would allow his starters to play under these circumstances, especially on offense – and Washington would love nothing more than a morale-boosting win over the Cowboys before their season whimpers to an end. Prediction: Commanders 23, Cowboys 9

Final Prediction: 11-6

As is usually the case, Jerry Jones has high hopes for his franchise heading into the 2022 season. Dallas hasn’t won the Super Bowl since 1996, and fans have grown restless while waiting for America’s Team to once again break through. If things break right for the Cowboys, they’re certainly capable – and their schedule allows them ample opportunity to set themselves up for success in January. From there, the road won’t get any easier – and while Dallas is as talented as any team in the league, they’re far from the favorite to take home the Lombardi Trophy. Whether they can make the most of the opportunities ahead remains to be seen.

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1 Comment

  • Loved the article. Go Cowboys!

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