With less than two weeks left before the regular season kicks off, we’ll make our best guess at what the 2017 Dallas Cowboys win-loss record will be.
Even though there is still one preseason game and final cuts left to be made, it just feels appropriate to start thinking about the regular season.
Less than two weeks from now, the Dallas Cowboys will kickoff their season against the New York Giants. For what feels like every single year in a row, these two longtime divisional foes will square off on the NFL’s opening weekend.
Both teams may have injuries or suspensions affecting some significant players. For the Giants, it’s no sure thing that All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. is ready to go as he’s dealing with an ankle injury. For the Cowboys, it appears only a court injunction will allow Ezekiel Elliott to get on the field for that game, due to his pending six-game suspension.
Other players will be serving suspensions as well. We know David Irving and Damontre Moore won’t be available due to their bans. Will Damien Wilson or Nolan Carroll? Hopefully we’ll know their answers in the next week.
For now, let’s take a trip through the entire 2017 Dallas Cowboys schedule and map out the wins and losses for a team hoping to make another playoff run.
The Cowboys have a brutal opening month. The suspensions certainly don’t help their cause but neither did the schedule makers. After Dallas squares off against their toughest divisional foe, they have back-to-back road games at Denver and Arizona.
Those three teams are definitely atop the food chain defensively. Furthermore, if the Cowboys are without Elliott, that could make the task of outscoring these teams daunting.
Whether you want to call it a hunch or not, I truly believe that Elliott fights the suspension in court and plays all year. As a result, I think the Cowboys get out of September at 2-1. Chalk up wins against the Giants and Broncos and a loss in the desert.
While it seems a little odd to call any month in the NFL “easy,” the month of October is the Cowboys easiest. That tells you all you need to know about their strength of schedule. Home games against the Rams and Packers start the month. While playing the Rams is never fun physically, they have no business challenging Dallas. As for the Packers, you know this team has that game circled on the calendar.
After that, the Cowboys hit the road for two straight against San Francisco and Washington. I would be shocked if Dallas ends the month with anything less than three wins. If you’re scoring at home, that’s 5-2 heading into November.
Five games in one month? That’s tough. Two divisional games. Two high-powered offenses and a juggernaut defense? That’s two dollar steak tough. The Cowboys start out at home against the Chiefs before visiting the reigning NFC champion Atlanta Falcons. From there, Dallas stays at home for three straight.
While three home games sounds great, they will all be in the span of eleven days. That’s taxing. There is also comeuppance to pay the following month for so many home games. Of the three contests, my guess is the Chargers will be the easiest foe. You just never can tell with divisional games but at least Dallas will be done with Washington after this month. I’m going to say Dallas finishes November at 3-2, making them 8-4 heading into the final stretch.
Three out of four on the road will be difficult but at least the weather should not be a problem. Dallas starts December at the Giants and then at the Raiders. One home game against Seattle will be in play before the wheels go up on the jets to Philadelphia. Could this be where they Cowboys stumble and come crashing back to Earth?
Barring a complete disaster, I think a split here gets them into the playoffs. We’ll say Dallas goes 2-2 here with wins against Oakland and the Eagles to get them to 10-6 on the year.
Will 10-6 be enough to win the division? Stay tuned for my column this Labor Day weekend to find out.