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 8: vs Minnesota Vikings
The Cowboys will come back home in week 8 to take on the Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys will be coming off a very disappointing 21-19 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and will look to redeem themselves against the Vikings. Adrian Peterson will be ready to go, hunting down a league rushing title.
Sean Lee, DAL: Sean Lee will be most responsible for going one on one with Adrian Peterson. Peterson arguably the best RB in the league, and no one will say he isn’t at least top 3. Peterson can kill on the ground, but Dallas has their own weapon in Lee. Lee is a very good tackler, reader, cover man, and run defender. If Lee has a bad game, the Vikings could dominate in terms of possession time.
Bruce Carter, DAL: Next to Sean Lee is Bruce Carter, Dallas’ other up and coming star linebacker. Between Lee and Carter, Dallas has one of the best linebacker duos in the league. Lee may be able to do a lot to stop AP, but he can’t do it alone. It will be up to Carter to defend his side of the field and not allow AP to run wild.
Christian Ponder, MIN: Normally, AP can take the load of the offense upon himself. in this game however, Ponder will need to show. With Lee and Carter, Dallas could have a good day against AP, meaning Ponder will have to add another dimension to the offense. With Harvin in Seattle, Ponder will need to do a little extra to get the passing game going. He will need it in a game featuring Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten on the other side.
Quarter By Quarter:
Q1: The Vikings will receive the opening kickoff and will bring it out to the Dallas 25. On the first play, Ponder will pull a play action and give a short pass to Kyle Rudolph who will extend a little bit and get the first down. AP will take two carries after that, resulting in a 3rd and 5. Ponder will drop back but a pass to his receiver on a short slant will be dropped and Minnesota will punt. Harris will get the fair catch, and Dallas will begin its series at their own 10. Romo will give a screen to Dez on the first play, and he will take it 15 yards. A run by Murray on the next play foes for 10 and another first down. Romo makes 3 more consecutive 10 yard passes and Dallas finds themselves in long field goal range. On the next play, Romo drops back but with everyone covered, runs up the middle for 5 yards. Romo goes deep on the next two plays, both incompletions and Dallas has to settle for a field goal. Dallas takes a 3-0 lead. Minnesota takes the field again. This time, its all AP as he gets 5 carries in a row and takes it out to the Cobwoys 40. Ponder uses play action next, and with nothing, runs it himself for another 10. A screen pass and an AP run later, Minnesota is in a 3rd and 1 situation from the Dallas 21. Bruce Carter gets in the backfield and brings down Peterson behind the line on the run, and Minnesota goes for a field goal as well to tie the game, 3-3. The Cowboys take the field. Romo doesn’t look sharp on the next drive, but his receivers do some good work and make the first downs happen. Dallas drives all the way to the Vikings 30. Romo drops back and goes deep to Austin, who gains separation and makes an easy catch in the endzone. Dallas takes a 10-3 lead after 1.
Q2: The Vikings will want to make up for the bad defensive drive before. Ponder will look troubled on the drive though, as DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer both pressure him and make their presence known to the young QB. After a first down, Ponder cannot complete on third down and the Cowboys will force a punt again. Harris gets a decent return, and Dallas starts from their own 40. Romo will not be able to do anything, and the two teams trade punts until the last five minutes of the half. Romo, Murray, Harris, and Witten take control, taking a drive for a field goal. Dallas leads 13-3. The Vikings are not ready to go into the half trailing by two scores. Kyle Rudolph catches a deep pass from Ponder. With 20 seconds left, it is Rudolph again, making a catch over Barry Church in the back of the endzone for a TD. Dallas lead going into halftime, 13-10.
Q3: Dallas will receive the opening kickoff. It will be a balanced drive between the defense and offense, but the Vikings ultimately force a punt. Ponder then drives, converting two 3rd down conversions. But an underthrown deep pass is picked off by Brandon Carr, who returns it 10 yards and is pushed out of bounds and the Dallas 35. Romo wins this drive, but in the redzone on third down is sacked for the first time in the game. Dallas gets the field goal, leading 16-10. The Vikings will get the ball, trying to repeat their previous success right before the half. The next drive is very long, filled with runs, third down conversions, and penalties. But with about 1 minute left in the third quarter, AP takes a 1 yard run to the endzone and Minnesota lead for the first time, 16-17. Dallas gets the ball, but only run 2 plays (first down) and the third quarter ends.
Q4: The Cowboys will start the final period with the ball, trailing by 1. Romo leads a very good looking drive to the 5 yard line, eating up 5 minutes. From the 5, a draw play to the backup RB gets into the endzone. Dallas opts to go for two and take a full 7 point lead. On the conversion, Romo puts up a jumpball on a fade for Bryant, who makes an incredible catch in the corner of the endzone, and after review, is rules a catch. Dallas leads 24-17. The Vikings get the ball, but are quickly punting. Dallas tries to build on the lead, but the Vikings defense doesn’t allow it. The Vikings quickly. With 3:30 left, the Vikings are facing a 4th and 3 from the Dallas 28. They are forced with the decision of going for the field goal and trying to get the ball back for the game winning drive, or go for the 4th down. The opt for the 3 point, and Dallas lead 24-20. Dallas gets the ball, and runs the clock out to the 1:30 mark, before punting it. Chris Jones does a great job though, putting Minnesota at their own 5 to start the drive. Ponder makes some nice plays and gets to midfield, with 20 seconds left, no timeouts. On the ensuing play, Sean Lee blitzes through a wide open hole in the middle and wraps up Ponder for a crucial sack. The Vikings hurry up and spike the ball, leaving time for one last play. Ponder drops back and throws a 10 yard pass to Peterson. Peterson runs a couple yards, and the Vikings start the lateral game. It doesn’t do anything, as an offensive lineman cannot hold on to a pitch. Morris Claiborne picks it up, and Dallas wins, 24-20
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 24, Minnesota Vikings 20
Romo: 24/30, 320 yards, 1 TD
Murray: 18 rush, 100 yards
Bryant: 6 rec, 100 yards
Austin: 4 rec, 80 yards, 1 TD
Carr: 4 tackles, 1 INT
Ponder: 23/36, 240 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Peterson: 25 rush, 90 yards, TD