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2019 Dallas Cowboys record prediction with a game-by-game breakdown

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Looking at this year’s schedule, how many wins do you think the Cowboys will get?

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are a good football team. They were a good football team last season and you have to be excited about the net gain the team has had over the offseason. Additions like Robert Quinn and Randall Cobb outweigh losses like Cole Beasley and Damien Wilson. The team also will get two of their former All-Pro’s back as Travis Frederick and Jason Witten are making their triumphant returns after missing all of last season. Not only that, but the Cowboys have one of the youngest teams in the league and every new year brings about more valuable experience. Make no mistake about it - this Cowboys team is going to win a lot of football games in 2019.

But just how many?

We decided to run through the Cowboys opponents this upcoming season and try to determine the likeliness of the Cowboys winning each game. Rather than just a straight up guess between winning and losing, we will use confidence level for each game to come up with a win value based on a percentage. For example, if we think they have a 50/50 shot at winning a particular game, they will receive 0.5 wins for that matchup. Then, we’ll tally up each game and come up with a projected win total for the season.

Let’s do this...

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles

Key Adds: DT Malik Jackson, RB Jordan Howard, RB Miles Sanders, WR DeSean Jackson

Key Losses: DE Michael Bennett, LB Jordan Hicks, WR Golden Tate, QB Nick Foles

Howie Roseman does a great job loading the fridge with talent as he’s restocked the trenches with Malik Jackson and continues to cycle through offensive weapons for his young quarterback. With a roster full of good players, the Eagles undoubtedly will be the Cowboys biggest obstacle in the division, and perhaps even the entire league.

Win confidence: 50% (x 2 games) = 1.0 wins. The Cowboys swept the Eagles last year, but both games were close. A split seems to be the most logical choice here.

Washington Redskins

Key Adds: S Landon Collins, QB Case Keenum, QB Dwayne Haskins, DE Montez Sweat

Key Losses: LB Zach Brown, DE Preston Smith, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, WR Jamison Crowder

After a gruesome leg injury sidelined Alex Smith, the team is in search for answers at quarterback with bargain free agent Case Keenum and top prospect Dwayne Haskins. The Redskins still have some good players on defense, but they also have too many holes to be a legit threat this season.

Win confidence: 80% (x 2 games) = 1.6 wins. The Redskins have a sneaky way of giving the Cowboys trouble, even when they’re outmatched. The wild card factor for Haskins lowers the confidence level a tad, but the Cowboys still have a reasonable shot at sweeping them this year. Washington is the Cowboys Week 17 opponent this year and over the last three seasons, this has been a “meaningless” game for them. Something tells me that won’t be the case this season.

New York Giants

Key Adds: G Kevin Zeitler, WR Golden Tate, DT Dexter Lawrence, QB Daniel Jones

Key Losses: WR Odell Beckham Jr., DE Olivier Vernon, S Landon Collins

The Giants lost a lot of talent this offseason, which is not what fans of a 5-11 team want to hear. The offensive line is taking steps forward and landing Kevin Zeitler in the OBJ trade shouldn’t be discounted. When you combine him with the rising star Will Hernandez, the Giants finally are building some protection for whomever they end up throwing behind center.

Win confidence: 90% (x 2 games) = 1.8 wins. It will be a genuine disappointment if the Cowboys don’t sweep the Giants.

Projected NFC East win total: 4.4 wins

AFC East

New England Patriots

Key Adds: WR N’Keal Harry, DT Mike Pennel, RB Damien Harris

Key Losses: DE Trey Flowers, DT Malcolm Brown

Can you believe it’s been 23 years since the Cowboys have beaten the Patriots? But in their most recent contests - it hasn’t been from a lack of trying. In 2007, both teams were the top team in their respective conference, and the Cowboys lost 48-27. There was a lot of offense on that day, but what people probably remember the most was Marion Barber’s impressive two-yard run. Then, in 2012, the Cowboys appeared to have the better of them before conservative play-calling and a last second touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Aaron Hernandez spoiled things for Dallas.

Hopefully, this is the year the Cowboys can end the New England curse. It doesn’t help that the Patriots have added some nice weapons like N’Keal Harry and Damien Harris to an already highly effective offense.

Win confidence: 40% = 0.4 wins. Honestly, my gut tells me this is the year the Cowboys get the Belichick/Brady monkey off their back, but out of respect - the edge still goes to the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Miami Dolphins

Key Adds: DT Christian Wilkins, QB Josh Rosen, TE Dwayne Allen (FA)

Key Losses: DE Edge Cameron, DE Robert Quinn, QB Ryan Tannehill, T WakeJa’Wuan James

The Dolphins are in rebuild mode, which is why the Cowboys were able to steal edge rusher Robert Quinn from them for a future sixth-round draft pick. The team waved the white flag on Tannehill and instead are rolling the dice on Josh Rosen. Expect things to be bumping for now, and time will only tell if the Dolphins long-term plan of building through the draft produces positive results.

Win confidence: 90% = 0.9 wins. Unless the Cowboys get caught looking ahead to their Week 4 game against the New Orleans Saints, this home game against the Dolphins should be an easy win for them.

Buffalo Bills

Key Adds: DT Ed Oliver, WR John Brown, WR Cole Beasley, RB Frank Gore, TE Tyler Kroft

Key Losses: TE Charles Clay, G John Miller

The Bills were active in free agency and loaded up on the offensive line. That’s a good start considering they want to protect their young quarterback investment in Josh Allen. They also provided him with receiving threats as vertical target John Brown and the saucy slot receiver Cole Beasley should help. Despite the adds, the Bills offense is mistake prone and finished third-worst in the league last season in points scored and yards gained. They have their work cut out for them.

Win confidence: 80% = 0.8 wins. In reality, the confidence level should be even higher, but this game just has one of those “trap” feelings. Beasley is no stranger to playing on Thanksgiving and it wouldn’t shock us to see an upset here. Just think of his twitter feed should that happen.

New York Jets

Key Adds: RB Le’Veon Bell, DT Quinnen Williams, LB C.J. Mosely

Key Losses: DT Mike Pennel

The Jets opened up their pocketbook this offseason by adding Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley to the squad. And spending the no. 3 overall pick on the top interior defensive linemen certainly doesn’t hurt either. The success of the 2019 Jets relies on the development of second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. While they could show improvement this season, this team still has a lot of holes.

Win confidence: 90% = 0.9 wins. Only three teams allowed more points that the Jets, and with a offense ranked in the bottom third, they just don’t have enough pieces to beat Dallas.

Projected AFC East win total: 3.0 wins

NFC North

Chicago Bears

Key Adds: RB David Montgomery, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Key Losses: S Adrian Amos, RB Jordan Howard

The Bears didn’t do much to upgrade the team, but they didn’t lose much either. The loss of safety Adrian Amos may sting a little as he had a great season last year. The team didn’t add much in terms of draft picks as past trades left them short on draft capital, but Chicago is still growing from previous pieces added as players like Mitchell Trubisky and Khalil Mack continue to make their impact felt.

Win confidence: 50% = 0.5 wins. The Cowboys will be coming off a long week and should be well rested, but a cold Sunday Night game in December won’t be an easy task.

Minnesota Vikings

Key Adds: C Garrett Bradbury, TE Irv Smith Jr., RB Alexander Mattison

Key Losses: DT Sheldon Richardson, RB Latavius Murray

The Vikings are strapped for cap space as they have a lot of money spread out to several different players, including paying a premium price for quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mike Zimmer’s defense played well, but the offense struggled despite having one of the best wide receiver tandems in the league in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. The team struggled running the ball (30th in the league in yards rushing) and Dalvin Cook’s inability to stay healthy hurts, but the team added some fresh young legs in the draft with Boise State’s Alexander Mattison.

Win confidence: 60% = 0.6 wins. The Vikings are a good enough team to give the Cowboys trouble, but Dallas gets the slight edge playing in front of the home crowd.

Green Bay Packers

Key Adds: S Adrian Amos, DE Preston Smith, DE Za’Darius Smith, DE Rashan Gary, S Darnell Savage

Key Losses: WR Randall Cobb, DE Nick Perry

The Packers have been a thorn in the Cowboys side, but wouldn’t you know it the year they only produce six wins is the year Dallas doesn’t end up playing them. The Cowboys will get a shot at them this year, but this Green Bay team has reloaded. After revamping their secondary a year ago, they made big changes to bolster their defensive line this year. The Packers uncharacteristically went shopping in free agency to bring in extra help. On offense, it’s still Aaron Rodgers show to run and we’re all hoping the loss of Randall Cobb is felt, especially in their Week 5 matchup.

Win confidence: 60%. = 0.6 wins. It feels like the confidence level should be higher, but you just can’t feel safe whenever it comes to Rodgers and the Packers.

Detroit Lions

Key Adds: DE Trey Flowers, TE T.J. Hockenson, WR Danny Amendola

Key Losses: DE Ezekiel Ansah, G T.J. Lang, S Glover Quinn, DE Kerry Hyder

The Lions thought they had an elite edge rusher in Ziggy Ansah, but let him leave in free agency as his franchise-tagged season resulted in a four-sack, injury-riddled season. Instead, the team paid $18 million per year for the younger Trey Flowers who hasn’t reached eight sacks in any of his four years in the league.

The Lions have work to do, but they’re hoping second-year running back Kerryon Johnson can have a breakout season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has a nice young talented tight end in T.J. Hockenson, so maybe they can return to a Top 7 scoring offense like they had in 2017.

Win confidence: 70% = 0.7 wins. The Cowboys are better than the Lions, but Detroit always has a funny way of making things interesting. It took a last second field goal to beat them last season so nothing ever comes easy from these games.

Projected NFC North win total: 2.4 wins

NFC SOUTH and NFC WEST

Up until this point, the Cowboys have the same strength of schedule as the rest of their NFC East foes, but now there will be two final games that separates them. Based on where they finished in the division, the team will play their corresponding opponent from the NFC South and West. The Cowboys draw the toughest spread here, having to play games against the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams.

The Eagles get the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, which aren’t gimme’s by any means. The Falcons struggled last season, but they still have a talented roster which should make for a tough game for Philly. And the last time the Eagles played Seattle was in 2017 when the Seahawks beat them 24-10, handing them one of their three losses that year.

But that’s the Eagles problem; what about the Cowboys?

New Orleans Saints

Key Adds: C Erik McCoy, TE Jared Cook, RB Latavius Murray, DT Malcolm Brown

Key Losses: RB Mark Ingram, C Max Unger

The good news for the Cowboys is that New Orleans didn’t do much to improve their team. Cap space and lack of draft capital has handcuffed the team in making any meaningful moves this offseason. The bad news is - they were already a pretty good team and didn’t take any significant hits to their roster. And what money they did spend in free agency, they used on tight end Jared Cook, which gives Drew Brees another weapon for his offense.

Win confidence: 40% = 0.4 wins. The Cowboys proved they could beat the Saints last year in a game that highlighted their regular season. But the Saints will be looking for a little payback and on a Sunday Night game in the Big Easy - New Orleans has the edge.

Los Angeles Rams

Key Adds: S Eric Weddle, S Taylor Rapp, RB Darrell Henderson

Key Losses: S Lamarcus Joyner, T Rodger Saffold

The Rams defense has taken a hit in recent years after losing edge rusher Robert Quinn last year and then safety Lamarcus Joyner this offseason. Head coach Sean McVay has done a good job finding replacements as 2015 no. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler and six-time Pro Bowler Eric Weddle are on the team. And when you take into account that wide receiver Cooper Kupp is coming back, the Rams should be locked and loaded for another big run.

Win confidence: 40% = 0.4 wins. The Rams are the reigning NFC champs and they deserve their respect. Dallas is at home and would love to avenge their playoff loss, but Los Angeles still earns the slight edge here.

Projected NFC South and West win total: 0.8 wins

Total projected wins for the 2019 season: 10.6 wins

Throwing a prediction out there right now, we have the Cowboys going on the low end 10-6 or the high end at 11-5 for the 2019 season. Will that be good enough to win the NFC East? If not, what about a Wild Card spot? A lot is made about the Cowboys first-place schedule, but it’s not as bad as some make it out to be. In fact, the Cowboys catch a couple breaks. Their AFC division this year is the East, which features New England and essentially nobody else. Every other NFC division is playing an AFC division that has at least two teams with a winning record, and some even against three teams. And even some of the teams with a losing record like Cleveland (added Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt, and Olivier Vernon) and Jacksonville (they now have a quarterback in Nick Foles) are expected to be better this season.

When you look at the top contenders in the NFC, it doesn’t appear that the Cowboys “first-place schedule” is going to hurt them very much. This is how many games each team has this season against opponents with a winning record from a year ago.

A 10-6 record has been good enough to get into the NFC players in each of the last four seasons, and it shouldn’t be any different this year. A lot of teams have plenty of tough games, and the Cowboys first-place schedule isn’t going to hold them back. While winning the division might be a challenging task with a team as good as the Eagles in the mix, a trip to the playoffs looks favorable.