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
Week 2: vs St. Louis Rams
The Cowboys will open at home in week 2, hosting the young and talented Rams. While the Rams haven't had success in the previous seasons, things are looking up with the young talent on the team and Jeff Fisher's new coaching. The secondary is feisty, the pass rush is above average, and Sam Bradford is coming into his own. A couple season's ago this game would have been a cupcake, but in 2013 this should be a good game.
Jason Witten, DAL: Between Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins, Romo will not have too many opportunities to pass the ball the way he may have in week 1. Since Bryant won't be open as much, Romo will have to improvise and that means Jason Witten stepping up as a lead receiver. While Bryant and Austin may still as well have good games, Witten will need to be much more active to give Romo a receiver on every play.
DeMarco Murray, DAL: In week 1, Murray wasn't too much of a factor because that was a battle through the air. This time, the Cowboys will need more balance on offense, giving Murray more carries against the very team he broke out against.
Cortland Finnegan, STL: With Dez Bryant in the game, a stud corner is a necessity. Jenkins could be in this role playing on Dez, but considering his inexperience, the Rams may opt to put salty veteran Finnegan on him. Dez is always ready to make big plays and splash for the Dallas offense, and if he gets loose stopping the Cowboys becomes exponentially harder. If Finnegan allows Bryant to dominate the game, the Rams should leave Dallas disappointed.
Quarter by Quarter
Q1: The Cowboys will receive the opening kickoff first, and Dwayne Harris immediately gets it rolling with a nice return out to the 35 yard line. The Cowboys start by pounding the ball, giving the ball to Murray 4 times in a row for 2 first down, taking the ball to the opposite 40 with ease. But then the Cowboys will run into a wall, and on third down, Romo will make an early error on a forced pass to Miles Austin. Jenkins will be there to make the pick and bring it to the Rams 45. The Rams will take advantage of the momentum, having a couple runs only go 5 yards, before Bradford finds Chris Givens in the middle on third down for a short pass, but Givens uses his speed and eeks out 30 yards, putting the Rams at the edge of the redzone. The Cowboys will allow the Rams to keep moving on first and second down, but on third down Jay Ratliff penetrates the pocket and gets Bradford behind the line, saving the TD. Rams lead 3-0. On the Cowboys second drive, Romo will be trying to make up for the early mistake. The Cowboys will take the ball to the redzone on the strength of Romo, but Murray will make a crucial mistake and fumble inside the 10, giving the ball back to the Rams at the 5 yard line. Fortunately for the Cowboys, the defense will force a three and out and get the ball back on a punt to set them up at half field as the first quarter ends.
Q2: The Cowboys start the second quarter hot, driving it furiously to the opposite 10, via 3 receptions by Witten on the drive. Romo can't put the ball into the endzone though, and the Cowboys are forced to even the score with a field goal. 3-3. The Rams will get a nice return on the kickoff and Sam Bradford will come on to make something happen. Chris Givens will get the ball, trying to take it somewhere, but Barry Church will lay down a hard boom and knock the ball loose. Morris Claiborne will land on it, giving Dallas the ball at the Rams 40. With all the momentum, Murray will take 2 handoffs for 10 yards, before Romo goes deep and hits Bryant on a 30 yard TD to take a 10-3 lead. The Rams will take the field next, needing to shake off the series of events and get back in the game. But another 3 and out, finished by an Anthony Spencer sack on third down will make the crowd even louder. Dwayne Harris will take advantage of all the energy and take a punt from the Cowboys 30 all the way to the Rams 25 yard line. Romo will make another connection with Witten and put the ball on the 10 yard line. Murray will carry the ball 3 times and find the endzone on third down, putting Dallas in control with a 17-3 lead. The Rams will get the ball with just a couple minutes left before halftime. Bradford will be able to negotiate his way to the 30, setting up a field goal on the last play of the half. Dallas will lead 17-6 after two quarters.
Q3: The Rams will get the ball at the start of the third, needing to do something and get back in the game. Bradford and Company will look much better, taking the ball down slowly to the Cowboys redzone. But it will end there as Morris Claiborne will get in front of a pass from Bradford and find space on the sideline all the way to the endzone, giving Dallas a 24-6 advantage. When the Rams get the ball, they really will have to score something on the drive, or the game may be too far out of their reach. Bradford will get something going but will have to punt. The Rams will force out a punt from Dallas on the next series, before taking a good looking drive to the endzone as the third ends, taking the game to the fourth quarter with Dallas leading 24-13.
Q4: The Rams will have to show up big if they want to make this comeback. When they are on defense to start the fourth quarter, they will do just that, sacking Romo twice and forcing a 3 and out. On the next drive, the Rams will be under pressure by Ware, but Bradford will be able to lead a choppy drive to the redzone. DeMarcus Ware will show up and make the sack on third down and force the field goal. The Rams will still have a ways to go, but the game will be back to a one score contest, with Dallas leading 24-16. DeMarco Murray will once again be given responsibilities of draining the clock, and he will do a good job before Dallas ultimately punts and puts St. Louis inside their 20, with about 3 minutes left to get a TD and two point conversion. The Rams are short lived though. At 1:30, with no timeouts left, the Braford is put under pressure and makes an errant throw into the middle of the field to Jared Cook. After a bobble, Sean Lee secures the pick, and Dallas holds on to a 24-16 victory over the Rams.
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 24, St. Louis Rams 16
Romo: 21/25, 240 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Murray: 31 rush, 185 yards, 1 TD, 1 Fumble
Bryant: 5 rec, 80 yards, TD
Witten: 11 rec, 95 yards
Bradford: 25/39, 1 TD, 2 INT
Givens: 4 rec, 70 yards, 1 TD
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