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A closer look at the 2007 Cowboys schedule

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Breaking down the Dallas Cowboys 2007 schedule.

The Cowboys will need to come out of training camp with a full understanding of the new offense and defense presented by the new coaching staff. Three of the first five games are on the road and the opener at home is a division game. The Cowboys can’t stumble out of the gate, but the good news is that two of the three road games are against non-playoff teams from last year. They also get a chance to send an early message to the rest of the NFC when they travel to Chicago to play last year’s NFC Champions, the Bears. Win that game and you raise the level of expectations for the team.

This year, the BYE week comes at a very fortuitous time, unlike last year when it came in Week 3. This season the BYE falls in Week 8 and immediately precedes a tough stretch for the 2007 campaign. The Cowboys travel to Philadelphia, to New York, and then back home against Washington in three straight division games. Having the BYE week before that stretch will be helpful in getting guys rested, recovered from nagging injuries and provides a little extra-time to game plan. But going on the road for two straight games inside the division will make it tough for Dallas to capitalize on the BYE.

The Cowboys finish with three out of four games on the road, including a season-ender in Washington. In Bill Parcells’ final years, the Cowboys consistently tanked down the stretch, last year losing their last three home games to close out the season. Nobody likes to have that many away games at the end of the year, and if they don’t find a way to reverse their late-season trend, this could be the stretch of games when a promising season goes downhill again. The Cowboys must learn the secret of finishing strong.

Once you throw out the away games within the division, the Cowboys road schedule is actually not too tough, if you go by what the teams did last year. Miami, Buffalo, Detroit and Carolina all finished out of the playoffs last year. Only Chicago is an elite team from last year on our road schedule. Of course, guessing how teams will be this year compared to last year is an inexact science, but it’s all we have to go on at this point. The Cowboys could pad their overall win/loss record by taking care of business against some average teams on the road.

Lat year, I did a game-by-game prediction of the Cowboys won/loss record when the schedule came out and deduced they would go 10-6. I got close, they went 9-7; I guess I just didn’t predict losing to the Detroit Lions! So I’ll make a fool of myself again by predicting the schedule game by game, and invite you to do the same in the comments. I really didn’t spend any time researching this; I’m just going on gut feel.

W - 9/9, NY Giants
W - 9/16, at Miami
L - 9/ 23, at Chicago
W - 9/ 30, St Louis
W - 10/ 8, at Buffalo
L - 10/14, New England
W - 10/ 21, Minnesota
10/28, BYE
L - 11/ 4, at Philadelphia
L - 11/11, at NY Giants
W - 11/18, Washington.
W - 11/22, NY Jets
W - 11/29, Green Bay
W - 12/9, at Detroit
W - 12/16, Philadelphia
L - 12/22, at Carolina.
W - 12/30, at Washington

The Cowboys will go 11-5 this year. I think that’s too optimistic, but there it is. As you can see, this year I’m predicting the Cowboys get hot down the stretch and win six of their last seven, including five in a row. I think by mid-season everything will start to gel; the Phillips 34 will turn nasty, Tony Romo will really hit his groove, and the laid-back approach of Wade Phillips will have the team mentally and physically ready to dominate at the end of the schedule. Now it’s your turn.