During the 2012 season, I continuously made "previews" for the Cowboys games each week. It was a very detailed story pretty much, where I basically went through the entire game by quarter, "predicting" what would happen. Now, before the draft or free agency is even complete, I will do that for every game on the schedule right now. Granted, this fake preview is probably not accurate in the least. I have no idea how rookies and other free agent signing will impact the games. However unrealistic and detailed beyond belief this is, it is not a real preview, but it is just fun to pretend I have been to the future and seen these games.
Week 1: @ New Orleans
Week 2: vs St. Louis
Week 3: @ Detroit
Week 4: vs Green Bay
Week 5: @Philadelphia
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: @ Kansas
Week 8: vs Minnesota
Week 9: @ New York (Giants)
Week 10: vs Washington
Week 11: vs Denver
Week 12: @ San Diego
Week 13: vs Philadelphia
Week 14: vs New York (Giants)
Week 15: vs Oakland
Week 16: @ Washington
Week 17: @ Chicago
The Cowboys will begin the season by traveling to Louisiana and facing off against familiar faces Rob Ryan, Victor Butler, and Kenyon Coleman. Cowboys vs Saints has been a great game these past few years, and it will be a great candidate for the first Sunday Night Football game of 2013. In Battle of the Nines, both offenses should feature lots of fireworks, and projects on the defensive side, where both teams will debut new defensive coordinators and schemes.
Dez Bryant, DAL: This game will have lots of offense, and in order for Dallas to keep pace with New Orleans, Dez Bryant will have to provide his quarterback with a weapon and get on his game from the first game. Last time Bryant played the Saints, he busted out the best game of his career, going for over 220 yards and adding 2 scores. If Bryant isn't going on all cylinders, Dallas will struggle to get enough going on offense to keep the game close.
DeMarcus Ware, DAL: In a game with two elite quarterbacks going at it all night, the pass rush will have opportunities to make plays, and Ware will have to take advantage. If the Cowboys allow Brees to feel comfortable in the pocket, the way he did on some drives against Dallas in 2012, he will tear the defense to shreds. Dallas needs to get under his skin to stymie the offense and give Dallas some breathing room in the scoring department.
Keenan Lewis, NO: In a game with Dez Bryant and Tony Romo on the same team, you need a corner who can ball. The Saints signed Keenan Lewis to aid the pass defense, which was pretty horrendous in 2012. Lewis is experienced and is a big game player. He will be important to the Saints defense in keeping Dez Bryant quiet. If Lewis can't handle Bryant and allows the big plays, the Saints offense will be put under pressure to score.
Quarter By Quarter
Q1: New Orleans will start with the ball. Dan Bailey will kick a touchback and the Saints will begin their drive from the 20 yard line. On the first play, Ware will itch Brees, but Brees will get the ball out to avoid the sack. After moving to the half field mark, the Saints will face a third and short. Ware will get within inches of the sack again, but Brees will be able to target Jimmy Graham. Fortunately for Dallas, Barry Church will come up and make a big hit, knocking the ball loose and forcing a punt, which will pin Dallas at their own 15. Romo and company will begin their first drive with a DeMarco Murray Rush. After slowly moving the ball to half field with a couple third down conversions, Dallas will make the first splash. Miles Austin will take a 10 yard pass, before finding some room and weaving through defenders for a big gain and taking the ball to the opposite 20. Dallas will be unable to make the redzone TD however, but a field goal will give them a 3-0 lead after their first possession. New Orleans will take a slow, agonizing drive themselves to the 10 yard line. Ware will almost wrap up Brees again, but Brees will find a way to escape and find Darren Sproles on the short pass, who will go the distance and score the first TD. Saints lead 7-3.
Q2: The Saints defense will play very aggressive on the next drive, after building up momentum and getting the crowd involved. Romo will be sacked on third down, and the Saints will have a chance to increase the lead. With good field position, it will take just a couple big plays and runs before Sproles will run into the endzone to expand to a 14-3 New Orleans advantage. Dallas will need to climb back into it on the next drive. Dallas will take another long drive this time, and take it to around the 30. Romo will get excited and throw it into the endzone on third down, but Keenan Lewis will defend the TD and force another field goal. New Orleans will still lead, 14-6. This time Drew Brees will not be as successful. Two incomplete passes will precede DeMarcus Ware's first sack and give the ball back to Dallas on the punt. Dwayne Harris will start the season hot, returning the punt 20 yards and just out of scoring range. Romo will find Witten then Austin for big gaines and take the ball to the 15 yard line. A play action will fool the defense and Romo will hit Witten in the back of the endzone for the first Cowboys TD of the year. An extra point will put Dallas within 1,down 14-13. The Saints will not have much clock left, and there will be no more scores in the first half.
Q3: The Cowboys will get the first possession of the second half, and do good with it. Romo will find Harris, Beasley and Hanna multiple times to move the ball to the Saints 30. On third down, Romo will be sacked again, forcing another field goal. Dan Bailey will connect on a 53 yarder, giving Dallas a 16-14 lead. The Saints will refuse to lose the lead, and will use big plays to get into scoring range. Brees will have time in the pocket and deliver a 25 yard TD to Graham in the endzone to take a 21-16 lead. Romo will look unfocused on the next drive, and force a pass deep to Dez on third down, which will be intercepted by Keenan Lewis. The momentum will swing towards New Orleans greatly. On the next drive, Dallas will do some good however, forcing a three and out. Dwayne Harris will have an average punt return, and Dallas will start from their own 15, nearing the end of the third. Dallas will take it to half field before the 4th quarter starts.
Q4: Dallas will drive to the redzone, before Romo will deliver a great pass right into the basket of Dez Bryant past Keenan Lewis. Dallas will go for 2, Witten will make the grab in the endzone short. Dallas will take a 24-21 lead. Brees will head out onto the field, looking to regain the lead. He will get too pass happy however, and a deep pass intended for Colston will be intercepted by Brandon Carr. He will return it all the way to the 10 yard line, setting up Dallas to take control of the game with a TD. It won't happen though, because the Saints defense will come up big, stuffing Murray twice and once again introducing Romo to the turf on third down. Dallas will be grateful for a field foal however, and take a 27-21 lead. Drew Brees will step onto the field, trying to make amends for the previous mistake. The Saints will drive to the the redzone, with about minutes to go in the quarter. Brees will find Graham in the endzone again, but a good play by Barry Church will force the first field goal by New Orelans. The Saints will trail 27-24 with the final minutes coming. DeMarco Murray will have his turn to carve up the defense on the next series, picking up multiple first downs and bringing the clock down to 2 minutes before being stopped on third down. Dallas will punt from half field, a touchback, With about 1:45 left in the game. the Saints will have 2 timeouts and 80 yards in front of them to tie the game with a field goal. Drew Brees will take his team to midfield, with about 1 minutes left and third down coming up. On third and 5, Ware will show up again, wrapping up Brees behind the line and bringing up a 4th and 12, with the game on the line. On the next play, Ware will once again get into the backfield. He will get Brees at the legs, but Brees will be able to stumble away from the hit. Fortunately for Dallas, that will give Jason Hatcher just enough time to come around from the other side and grab Brees from the other side. The sack will give the ball back to Dallas, who will kneel the ball to victory.
Final Score: Dallas 27, New Orleans 24
Romo: 27/38, 320 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Murray: 21 rush, 115 yards, 1 rec, 10 yards
Witten: 6 rec, 85 yards, TD
Bryant: 8 rec, 110 yards, TD
Austin: 5 rec, 75 yards
Harris: 4 rec, 35 yards
Hanna: 2 rec, 25 yards
Beasley: 1 rec, 8 yards
Lee: 10 tackles, 1 pass defended
Ware: 6 tackles, 2 sacks
Carr: 5 tackles, 1 INT
Claiborne: 4 tackles
Brees: 26/35, 290 yards, 2 TD
Sproles: 14 rush, 80 yards, TD, 3 rec, 50 yards, TD
Graham: 5 rec, 80 yards, TD
Lewis: 3 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 INT