I have a countdown on my calender at work. There are 54 days until the kickoff of the NFL Regular season on September 5th, at 7pm between our Dallas Cowboys and the defending Super Bowl Champs, New York Giants. There are also 19 days before the start of training camp, and I cannot wait for some football. To answer Hank Williams Jr., yes; I am ready for some football. (Sadly, we won’t be hearing that tune anymore as Hank Williams Jr. and the NFL have parted ways)
Today we are going to take a look at the first 3rd of the season, and I will break down my predictions on how our season will shake up. There will be many new faces in both starting and backup positions, and I’ll try my best to cover them all:
September 5th; Cowboys @ Giants
This will be one of the most watched games in the history of the NFL. The Cowboys and Giants on prime-time television bring out the most viewership, so I am not surprised that the league choose America’s team to play the defending champs on opening night. The Cowboys open up on fire. DeMarco Murray is back in full form, and with a new and improved interior offensive line of Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau at guard, and Bill Nagy at center, Murray paves the way to 130 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns. Chemistry is instantly developed between Murray and Vickers as the weak linebacker core is attacked by Jason Garrett. With the defense so focused on stopping Murray, the play-action is called on and Dez Bryant surpasses the 100 yard mark on the first game of the season. Defensively, the Cowboys are much improved. The speed of our interior linebackers in Sean Lee and Bruce Carter is too much for the quick Ahmad Bradshaw and newly drafted rookie running back, David Wilson, and with Hakeem Nicks still not at 100% after injuring his foot during OTA’s, Eli Manning doesn’t have the time or receivers to throw to. DeMarcus Ware picks up two sacks, and forces two interceptions (one to Brandon Carr, and one to Mike Jenkins). The Cowboys stroll out of New Meadowlands victorious and optimistic for the rest of the season after a 31-21 victory.
September 16th, Cowboys @ Seahawks
With 11 days of rest between the emotional opening night win, the Cowboys had plenty of time to fix the holes on both sides of the ball. Mo Claiborne, baptized by fire and thrown around by Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, takes the personal defeat close to heart and puts on a performance that shows why he was the top defensive player in the draft. The legendary home crowd noise is a non-factor as Murray plows his way towards another 100 yard game behind his new best friend, Lawrence Vickers. Matt Flynn is ravaged in the backfield and is unable to set his feet; ever. Tony Romo, on the other hand, only gets sacked once on a low snap from Bill Nagy, and doesn’t feel much pressure the entire game as Jason Garrett continues to pound the ball up the middle. John Phillips has an outstanding day, raking in 8 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, making us forget Marty B completely.
September 23, Cowboys vs Bucs
Finally, a home game. The Cowboys open up in Jerry World against the young and hopeful Buccaneers. The Bucs drafted Alabama’s Mark Barron, and Romo makes him look like a rookie. Dez Bryant and Miles Austin have a field day, each wracking up 100+ yards a piece. Defensively, Brandon Carr is Vincent Jackson’s shadow the entire game, limiting him to 5 catches for 47 yards. Mr. “Punch you in the face” Blount is the main contributor for the Bucs as they try the “ground and pound” method against the Cowboys solid pass defense. The Cowboys score too quickly, and the slow, methodical offensive of the Bucs is unable to keep up. Ware picks up another two sacks, putting him at six for the year. Cowboys roll, 28-13.
October 1, Cowboys vs Bears:
I shed a tear because my Cowboys are playing on Monday Night Football, but there is no typical theme song. The Bears always bring a tough defense, but this year Brandon Marshall adds a spark to the offense. This Monday night it is the battle of the unbeatens, with both teams sitting at 3-0. Both teams struggle offensively, as both defenses dominate. The halftime score is 6-3, Cowboys up. (Oh yeah, I forgot, Dan “The Man” Bailey is still ice cold) Cowboys come out at the half, and run the no-huddle offense. Romo shows that Amani Toomer was right, and he really is better than Eli Manning as he orchestrates three straight touchdown drives to put this game out of reach. DeMarco Murray finishes off the game in the 4th quarter, punishing the Bears defense a la old school Marion Barber style. The Cowboys win, 27-10 and look to be the team to be in the NFC.
Take a second and voice your opinion downstairs in the comments section.