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 5: @ Philadelphia Eagles: Sunday Night Football
By week 5, we will have an idea of the competent teams separated from the disappointing or surprising teams. With a 3-1 record, Dallas should be in good shape, but the game right before the bye week is not an ideal time to lose. Dallas will travel to Philadelphia, and after missing out on much of the first game and the entire rematch, Micheal Vick will get to play the Cowboys again. Philadelphia will be 2-2, and with a chance to make a strong case for the divisional title while sending their rivals down the losing path, Dallas will make this game tough for the Eagles to win.
Sean Lee, DAL: Lee is an athletic middle linebacker, which is why he will be a huge factor in how this game runs. With a dangerous runner like Micheal Vick in the backfield, Lee will have some responsibility to contain the threat. While he would play mostly deep, he is the best at reading plays, and if he reacts slowly, the rest of the team could be caught off guard. Not only does he have to mind Vick, but LeSean McCoy can stab Dallas and make it hard for the defense to get off the field.
Miles Austin, DAL: Being the No. 2 receiver now, Austin usually is not seen as a really important player, but in Week 5, he will have to show up. Dez Bryant can have a good game against anyone, but when facing a weak secondary like Philadelphia's, all the teams receivers need to be on the same page to maximize the chance at moving down the field. The Eagles also have a tenacious pass rush, which means Romo may have to look at shallow receivers often. Dez will likely go deep on many plays, which means Austin will have to be the checkdown or quick catch receiver on a number of plays for Romo.
Trent Cole, PHI: The Cowboys have a nice bunch of receivers, and with a bad secondary that Philadelphia fields, their defense will have to come up front, in the pass rush. Cole is a great pass rusher, and will have to shoulder most of the responsibility of not allowing Romo time in the pocket. If Romo has time in the pocket versus the Eagles back 4, he will easily be able to have a 400 yard passing day and chop the defense to shreds.
Quarter by Quarter
Q1: The Cowboys will receive the opening kickoff, and make good use of it. Romo will hand the ball of a couple times for 20 yards, making the defense play the run. Mixing up the play action, run, and pass, Romo keeps the defense on edge and drives to the redzone. Dwyane Harris takes a screen pass to the goal line, and Lawrence Vickers pushes it the last yard in for the TD. Dallas takes a 7-0 lead. The Eagles unhappy offense takes the field, already under pressure to score. Vick, using his legs and arm, moves the Eagles down the field to the Cowboys 30. But a bad throw over the middle makes for an easy pick by Sean Lee who breaks away and is heading for the endzone, but is caught right around the opposite 10 by DeSean Jackson. Dallas, in position to make this a two score game already once again grills the defense, as DeMarco Murray takes the ball once and ends up beyond the goal line. Dallas, 14-0. The Eagles will be trying to put the game back in their control, but the Dallas defense will give them a hard time. However, on third down, the defense lapses, allowing a 65 yard run by Vick, putting the Eagles on the Cowboys 5. LeSean McCoy negotiates his way to the endzone and the Eagles trail 14-7 at the end of the quarter.
Q2: Dallas will want those points back in the next quarter. Romo and Austin will do the work on this drive, taking the team to the Eagles 40. Romo will find a seem in the middle deep, and Witten will make the catch and drag a defender into the endzone. Dallas takes a 21-7 lead. The Eagles offense will need to score again, as the Eagles defense is unable to stop Dallas so far. However, it only gets brighter for Dallas when Tyrone Crawford makes a play, snagging Vick from behind and forcing a fumble. Vick looks to be injured, and after Jason Hatcher recovers the ball, the Eagles fans are quieted. The Cowboys don't get into the endzone on this drive, but get the field goal to take a dominant 24-7 lead. Nick Foles comes on for the Eagles and does a good job with the offense, but without a mobile threat, the Eagles offense just isn't the same in the redzone, and Dallas is able to keep them at a field goal. 24-10. Dallas will try to score right before the first half ends, and thanks to Romo and company, the Boys drive down to the 35, and Dan Bailey hits the field goal to make it 27-10 for Dallas at the half.
Q3: The Eagles will need a score quick on the 3rd quarter opening kickoff, and the fans will be happy to see Vick back on the field (will they really be happy?). Vick will immediately take control and silence the Cowboys sideline by taking a masterful drive to the endzone followed by a TD pass to Brent Celek to make it 27-17. The crowd will happy to be getting back into it. On the next Cowboys drive, Romo will take the team to the Cowboys 30. Trent Cole will beat Smith from behind and knock the ball out of Romo’s hands Fletcher Cox will get the ball in the backfield. The Eagles offense will take a few plays, but ultimately, Vick takes a 10 yard carry to the endzone to make it 27-24, and Dallas has quickly lost a big lead and is just holding on to first place on the score board. Romo will look shaky on the next drive, and it will show when Mychel Kendricks intercepts a pass to Witten in Eagles territory. After breaking a tackle, Kendricks picks up speed and takes it all the way back, and the Eagles lead 27-31 after a wild scoring spree. Dallas will look to shut up the Eagles and gain control of the game again, and will get in a field goal as the third ends. Dallas will trail 30-31
Q4: The Eagles will have the ball, ready to seize control with another score. Vick will look good, running all over the field. But in the redzone, and pass to Jackson will be tipped by Church, bobbled by Church, and finally caught by Church for an interception. Church shows good return ability and brings it out the Dallas 45. Romo will want to take advantage of the opportunity and will drive down the field but only get a field goal, but Dallas will take the lead once again 33-31. The Eagles will take a painstaking drive to the Dallas 10, with about 4 minutes left. Vick will make a break for the endzone, but Brandon Carr will strip him from behind. Carr will pick up the ball and take off for the endzone. A good block on Jackson and McCoy don’t allow them to catch up, and Carr has a clean entry into the endzone, capping a 95 yard return. Dallas takes a 40-31 lead, with about 3:30 to go, and have regained the control they had previously. Vick will try to create the comeback attempt starting with the next drive. But on fourth down, Vick drops backs. He delivers an good pass to an open Jeremy Maclin, but Maclin drops the pass and Dallas gets the ball at their own 40 with just 2 minutes left to play. Dallas runs the ball 3 times, getting the first down. Romo kneels the ball to victory.
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 40, Philadelphia Eagles 31.
Romo: 23/36, 350 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Murray: 22 rush, 120 yards, 1 TD
Bryant: 5 rec, 60 yards
Austin: 5 rec, 50 yards
Witten: 3 rec, 35 yards, TD
Vick: 12/25, 150 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
McCoy: 25 rush, 100 yards, TD