Ah yes, it's almost time...this morning was spent looking at highlights from every single Cowboys game of the 2009 season, and it was totally worth it.
So, without much ado, follow me after the jump as I lead you through the Cowboys' upcoming regular season.
Week 1 @ Washington WIN 20-14 (1-0)
The season starts on a good note, but only if you're looking at the box score. Watching the game doesn't inspire too much confidence in an offensive line missing Kyle Kosier, or an offense that sputters in the red zone. The Cowboys faithful worry over the same ol' problems, but the defense stays tight without generating a turnover.
Week 2 vs Chicago WIN 34-7 (2-0)
Last week's troubles are lost in the wind, as Cutler and the Bears roll into town and then promptly wish they didn't. Free holds Peppers in check, but Romo is the star burning bright when he torches the weak Chicago secondary for multiple bombs and three TDs including one to rookie phenom Dez Bryant. Cutler has no time or room to throw, and turnovers are a forgotten criticism this week.
Week 3 @ Houston LOSS 27-24 (2-1)
Aaand the Cowboy lose a close one as the Texans win the second battle of Texas, which prompts Boys fans to speculate whether the team really has overcome its flaky tendencies. Missed opportunities on defense and lackluster offensive play characterize the Cowboys' effort despite a spirited fourth quarter effort. Too little, too late.
Week 4 Bye (2-1)
Fans fret. Nothing happens at Valley Ranch. Ed Werder weeps.
Week 5 vs Tennessee WIN 35-31 (3-1)
Looks like the defense stayed on vacation when Chris Johnson leaves treadmarks in the secondary. However, the Titans didn't have a defense to begin with, while the Cowboys offense looks well rested and in sync. Felix has a couple of highlight runs to match his draftmate across the sideline, and ST gets in on the act with two thrilling returns by Dez and AOA.
Week 6 @ Minnesota LOSS 17-10 (3-2)
Well, the defense comes to play, but the offense... Once again, the hostile environment plays a huge factor in the performance of the O Line, and in shades of their playoff loss, Romo has an absolutely miserable day -- sacks, fumbles, interceptions, and the kitchen sink. Favre isn't faring much better, but this is Percy Harvin's day. He punishes the Cowboys on ST and catches the go-ahead TD. The loss prompts severe soul-searching among the congregation.
Week 7 vs New York WIN 27-26 (4-2)
The Cowboys avert Defcon 4 with a winning 45 yd FG in the closing seconds by Buehler that could go 65. Romo is still hurting from the punishment in Minnesota, but he manages the game efficiently enough the chalk the W. Roy Williams, in the midst of an okay season, is the unlikely hero with key catches in key moments to keep the chains moving.
Week 8 vs Jacksonville WIN 24-3 (5-2)
Another game that's closer than the score indicates, at least early, but the run defense sparkles to hold MJD under 100 yds. Without another dimension to their offense, the Jags look content to watch the Cowboys put on an offensive clinic. Romo spreads the ball around, including a few Miles Austin highlights, before giving way to Felix, who has a big day. Each back scores a TD.
Week 9 @ Green Bay WIN 27-17 (6-2)
Ladies and gents, the Miles Austin Show! Quietly having a great second season as the top dog, Miles torches the GB defense to the tune of almost 200 yds and 3 TDs inflicting most of his damage before the half. The Packers never recover from the early blow, and Rodgers is consistently bothered by the tremendous twosome of Ware and Spencer. Chops are licked, stats are padded, and the Cowboys go home happy. Superbowl frenzy descends upon Dallas.
Week 10 @ New York LOSS 24-16 (6-3)
Fortune remains a fickle friend to the team that bears the star. The Cowboys play hard, but are undone by poor officiating early. Then, the offense sputters with miscues in the red zone and a missed gimme by Buehler, which precipitates severe teeth gnashing among the fans. Steve Smith somehow maintains ownage of the Cowboys, but even at this point in the season, it's a comfort to see that Brandon Jacobs is on his very last legs.
Week 11 vs Detroit WIN 31-13 (7-3)
It's supposed to be a homecoming for Roy Williams, but Dez and Ratliff steal the show. The Lions certainly look like a capable NFL team, but the Cowboys look like they're out for blood after the Giants loss. The secondary shuts down Megatron, and the front 7 put emerging rookie Jahvid Best in his place. On the other side of the ball, it's becoming clearer who deserves to start alongside Austin after Dez makes some stunning catches and authoritatively demonstrates his spectacular combination of size and speed.
Week 12 vs New Orleans WIN 22-17 (8-3)
This one is actually easier than score shows. The Saints are in a little bit of a funk -- maybe it's the short week -- and Demarcus Ware is in Brees' head. This is his fourth multi-sack game, and he looks hungrier than ever. The Cowboys secondary looks to be in phenomenal shape giving up little other than a garbage time TD. Jenkins continues his ascent up the ranks of NFL CBs, and Alan Ball acquits himself well after a tough start to the season.
Week 13 @ Indianapolis LOSS 20-16 (8-4)
Peyton Manning looks a little seasoned, but he remains absolutely masterful orchestrating the 2-minute drill that breaks the Cowboys' hearts. Despite being ahead until then, the Cowboys were unable to put the pesky Colts away by losing the battle of field position and settling for a field goal after a questionable red flag by coach Wade Phillips.
Week 14 vs Philadelphia WIN 37-17 (9-4)
At least they'll always have Philly. The Cowboys dominance of the Iggles continues with a smackdown in Dallas. Kevin Kolb does not fare much better than his predecessor, which is attributed to his shaky O Line. The Cowboys passing game feasts on their opponents' porous secondary prior to the running game delivering the knockout blow. Expectations rise as the temperature falls. Welcome to December.
Week 15 vs Washington WIN 17-7 (10-4)
The playoffs are imminent, but to the fans' delight, this team still looks hungry. The Redskins don't go down easy, yet McNabb suffers his fifth straight loss at the Cowboys' hands. Romo is having an off night, but Felix and Tashard are in fine form while Barber nurses a minor injury. Both backs pick up over 100 yds, as Garrett uses the running game to shove it down the Redskins' throat.
Week 16 @ Arizona WIN 30-20 (11-4)
The Cowboys meet their objective of escaping the desert with a win and their starters intact. Memories of their last encounter which left Romo with a broken pinky are unequivocally erased as Jason Witten catches a pair of TDs on a sore knee. The Boys are guaranteed a second straight year with a winning record after Turkey Day and an NFC East crown.
Week 17 @ Philadephia LOSS 24-20 (11-5)
Conference supremacy is on the line, but the Cowboys don't control their fate. Sadly, they cannot control the line of scrimmage either, or muster up the fight to end the season on a high note. It's clear they're ready for a mini-sabbatical and a chance to heal, but the look in Romo's eye shows anger at the inability to pull out victory. Post-game interviews are terse, but the message is unambiguous, "It's time for the playoffs, and there's work to be done."
Final Record 11-5