By Chad Lesher
This is a great time of year. Every fan thinks that his team has a chance. Every team is undefeated and the goal of getting to Minnesota in February 2018 is still intact. As we get closer and closer to the training camp, I am ready to post my season long predictions. Buckle up, Cowboy fans…this season is going to be nuts.
Week 1 – New York Football Giants – I don’t know about you but I am incredibly tired of playing the Giants the first week of the season. I can imagine that the Giants are even more tired of it. But, are we really going to lose four straight (dating back to 2015) to this division rival? I don’t think so. With the bitter taste of last January in their minds, I think the Boys get a chippy win with the defense getting a key INT (Byron Jones). Boys 29 Giants 23. (1-0)
Week 2 – at Denver Broncos – It isn’t easy to win at Denver. The altitude and the fans make it a difficult stadium to steal a win and the Cowboys haven’t won there in forever. I feel another stumble for the Cowboys in Denver as they are still celebrating a much-needed win in Week 1. Dak struggles with 2 INT’s and Zeke can’t find the lanes he wants. Broncos 20 Cowboys 17 (1-1)
Week 3 – at Arizona Cardinals – Well, Arizona isn’t much friendlier to the Cowboys as this is another place that we usually find a way to lose. We also add to the fact that it is Monday Night Football so the Cards will be fired up. I think the Boys struggle against David Johnson, who I think may be the top back in the NFL (apologies to Zeke). Dak has a mediocre day but turnovers doom the Boys again. The media is going to have a field day with this team after this one. Cardinals 28 Cowboys 19 (1-2)
Week 4 – Los Angeles Rams - Everyone assumes this will be a laugher but the Rams smell blood in the water and try to capitalize on the Cowboys slow start. Rams jump out to a 10-0 lead but the Cowboys find balance with Zeke running and Dak finding the open guy. Ryan Switzer finally shows up on the stat sheet with a receiving TD in the second half and a really nice punt return to put this game away for good. Cowboys 27 Rams 17 (2-2)
Week 5 – Green Bay Packers – Media is all over this one as expected…”Is this a must win for the 2-2 Cowboys?” “Will Rodgers put a dagger in the Cowboys season AGAIN?” While your season isn’t over if you go 2-3, the Boys feel some pressure to get this win. Plus, it’s a revenge game so we got this, right? Not this time. Despite the possible return of David Irving from this suspension, this one is a shoot-out as Dak finds his rhythm and Zeke goes for 135 yards. Dez is also unstoppable. But Witten is stopped short for a big fourth down and the Boys lose another heartbreaker. Packers 38 Cowboys 35 (2-3)
Week 6 – Bye – Much needed….
Week 7 – at San Francisco – In 2016 against the Niners, the Cowboys started slowly, surged and then held on to win after a big play to Cole Beasley. In 2017, I believe the Boys will come out after the bye firing away on offense. Dez has a big day and Terrance Williams has a pair of TD’s as the Boys roll to a lopsided win. Cowboys 35 49ers 13 (3-3)
Week 8 – at Washington – I have a weird thing where if I see a trend, I think there is more of a likelihood to go the other direction. So, after sweeping the Skins last year, I think it will be time for the Skins to get back on track in a pretty even match-up. The defense holds up with a stiff run defense but Kirk Cousins makes enough plays to get the Skins a big win in the division while Cowboys fall to 1-1 in the NFC East. In the odd statistic of the day, I see Jaylon Smith getting a safety. Redskins 27 Cowboys 22 (3-4)
Week 9 – Kansas City – By Week 9, will Tech fans get to see Mahomes at QB because Alex Smith was benched? I feel like it won’t happen unless there is an injury because Smith can hold his own with a defense at the caliber of KC. The Boys will come home and FEED ZEKE. At this point in the season, Zeke has had his moments but not put it all together. It happens in this game with #21 getting 250 total yards and 3 TD’s. Boys get it going and get ready to make a late season push. Cowboys 37 Chiefs 24 (4-4)
Week 10 – at Atlanta – Most experts have Atlanta as one of the top NFC teams after winning the conference championship last year so this game will be a tough one. Zeke gets fed again, Lewis has a nice INT on a quick slant, Switzer has his first TD return in his return to the southeast, and Dak has a very efficient and effective game. A really big jet sweep to Switzer is what seals this win to set up the Dan Bailey winner. Cowboys 30 Falcons 28 (5-4)
Week 11 – Philadelphia – Primetime game alert! Not only is this a night game, but it also has a short turnaround to the Thanksgiving game. This is a big one for the Boys. Getting a winning record in the division is important as the season is closing in on the end. I think the Boys are going to create complete chaos for Carson Wentz in this game. Taco shows up in a nice way, Charles Tapper has a strip sack and Nolan Carroll has revenge against his old team with a redzone INT. Cowboys 23 Eagles 14 (6-4)
Week 12 – LA Chargers – Happy Turkey Day everyone! As Cowboy fans, it is the old tradition of eating a great meal while being really stressed about wanting to get an important win late in the season. Offenses usually do well on this holiday as the defenses have a really short week of preparing for the opposing offense. I think this game follows those guidelines but Zeke has a great second half with two TD’s and the Boys pull away. Cowboys 35 Chargers 27 (7-4)
Week 13- Washington – It’s the rematch from Week 8 and both teams really want this one. The Boys have another shootout on their hands but two rookies help the Cowboys in this game. Ryan Switzer has a huge run on a double reverse and Awuzie has a pick six on a terrible throw from Cousins. Dak puts it away with a great call of a QB Draw and yes, that’s five wins in a row for Dallas and they complete the three-game sweep of their home stand. Cowboys 40 Redskins 35 (8-4)
Week 14 – at New York Giants – The Boys are riding high on a five-game streak and it’s tough to win that many in a row. But this team did win 11 straight last year (was that fun or what?). The Giants need this one much more than the Boys do but there is a lot of fight in both teams. The weather sucks in this game as it is cold and rainy. Zeke gets his fair share of yards but OBJ kills us in the second half. This one goes to overtime and the Boys lose on a chip field goal. Giants 23 Cowboys 20 (8-5)
Week 15 – at Oakland – I know everyone loves the Raiders but I think they are one of the teams that made the playoffs last year but won’t this year. Carr will do his thing as he is a stud but the defense will give up points. This game ends up being a good example of that. Dak has a massive day and Dez has one for the ages with 230 yards. Cowboys cruise to a surprising and somewhat easy win. Cowboys 28 Raiders 17 (9-5)
Week 16 – Seattle – Here’s something that people don’t think about when it comes to Seattle. There isn’t a franchise that just makes the playoffs every year. Seattle is due for a letdown year and I think this is it. Russell Wilson can’t keep carrying this team on his back and this year puts the pressure on the organization to get him lots of help. Cowboys dominate and clinch a playoff spot. Cowboys 34 Seahawks 14 (10-5)
Week 17 – At Philadelphia – As tired as I am on opening against the NY Giants, I am even more tired of the season finales at Philadelphia. I hate that this game could have everything on the line against my most hated team. The good news for the Boys is that the playoffs are locked in. The bad news is that the seed is not. Eagles spoil a division crown for the Boys but they don’t win it either as the Giants are the NFC East champs. A lot of question marks start to surround the Boys after Jason Garrett blows another finale. Eagles 27 Cowboys 21 (10-6)
Wild Card Round – at Arizona Cardinals – The Cowboys need this. The franchise needs this. Can’t back our way into the playoffs and then lose in the first round. It could mean the end of Jason Garrett. Well, never fear. The Boys grind it out on the ground and remember why they were successful in 2016. Zeke has a big game and Dak makes no mistakes in an efficient win. Cowboys 24 Cardinals 17
Divisional Round – at New York Giants – I was one of the people that wanted the Giants as the playoff opponent last year. I firmly believe it is very tough to be a team three times in one year and I think we would have played Atlanta at home in 2016 in the NFC Championship. I think the Cowboys win a crazy one this time around to further silence the critics. Dak has a lot of rushing yards and the Boys hit a long field goal in the snow to win it. Cowboys 19 Giants 16
NFC Championship – at Atlanta Falcons – Super Bowl losers typically struggle the following year. But I think that changes this year. Atlanta is ready for this revenge game after the Boys took one from them earlier in the year. I think the Boys have a halftime lead but start to fade in the 4th quarter. Dak gets stripped for a fumble and that will do it. Falcons 30 Cowboys 22
Falcons beat the Titans in Super Bowl
Key Season Stats
Ezekiel Elliott – 1,440 yards rushing, 530 yards receiving, 17 total TD’s
Dak Prescott – 3,980 yards receiving, 31 TD’s, 9 INT’s, 245 yards rushing
Dez Bryant – 89 receptions, 1,080 yards, 10 TD’s
Benson Mayowa – 8 sacks (team leader)
Chidobe Awuzie – 4 INTs (team leader)
Ryan Switzer – 1 Punt Return TD
Dan Bailey – 30/33 FG’s
Believe me when I tell you that I PRAY that I’m wrong. I want to be in Minnesota with the Cowboys in 2018. I also believe this team has the talent and the mental strength to get there. But winning it all is hard and one bounce of the ball going the wrong way can destroy your season. If we can stay healthy, the dream is achievable. Let’s go make it happen, Boys. Best of luck!!
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