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Forecasting each game on the Cowboys 2020 schedule and coming up with a final record

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Who knows how the 2020 Cowboys season will play out? We go through every opponent to try and answer that question.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

[Ed. Note] Greetings BTB community, this article was penned by Roy White. He is a new member of BTB mainly working on podcasts, which you can subscribe to here. He will also be occasionally writing for the blog so you might see his name come up as the author on some posts. [End Note]


Now that we’ve had a chance to digest and marinate on how the Cowboys schedule lays out in 2020, let’s take a look game-by-game and forecast how each weekend (or Thursday) might swing.

@ LAR - In week 15 a season ago, the Cowboys offensive line took the previous season’s playoff loss personally, mauling their way to over 250 yards on the ground. We saw the second glimpse of Tony Pollard’s breakout potential in that contest - 131 yards on 12 carries, including a 44-yard TD scamper to put a bow on a game the Cowboys dominated from start to finish. Dak Prescott only had 23 attempts, and Dallas won 44-21. Might not look that bad this time around, but it’ll be the same result. - W

v ATL - It’s easy to forget that, after the Falcons buried themselves a season ago by going 1-7 out of the gate, they rattled off six wins in their last eight games, including four straight to finish the season. What was the big difference? Their defense forced just four turnovers in the first half, then forced a whopping 16 in the second. Cowboys will need to hang on to the ball in this one; they win a squeaker. - W

@ SEA - Russell Wilson is always dangerous. Playing in Seattle is always dangerous. Dak is 0-2 against Seattle in the regular season. But the last time these two met, Dak pulled out a victory in the the wild card round of the playoffs, effectively putting to bed any talk of mental blocks against this franchise. Might we see another battle between DK Metcalf and Trevon Diggs, like we saw in 2018, when Metcalf’s Ole Miss took on Diggs’ Alabama? Metcalf scored on the first play of the game, a 75-yd TD going up against Diggs’ teammate Saivion Smith, Diggs then helped hold him the rest of the game to just one catch for 17 yards, including a big pass breakup on a deep throw to the end zone. Still - you can always get Russ’d. - L

v CLE - The names on the jerseys have some pedigree, but for whatever reason, the sum of the parts in Cleveland have consistently amounted to less. Austin Hooper joins David Njoku in two TE sets, a formation they will likely use a lot in 2020, as it gets their five most talented offensive playmakers (Hooper, Njoku, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb) on the field together. On defense, Olivier Vernon has historically played well against Tyron Smith, and if not him, Myles Garrett will have to be contended with along the offensive line. This one just gives me a bad feeling. Can Cleveland really underachieve forever? - L

v NYG - Dak and the Cowboys have swept the Giants three years running, after dropping his first two meetings against them his rookie season. The average score of those games since? 30-16. Not enough in NY has changed to change my mind about where this is heading. Jason Garrett knowing too much about the team’s weaknesses? Perhaps a more legitimate concern than fans want to admit. But then again, his offensive tendencies could play just as easily into the Cowboys’ favor. - W

v ARI - This one is scary. Kyler Murray adds DeAndre Hopkins to an offense that ranked smack dab in the middle of the league last season in points per game (17th/22.6), and Isaiah Simmons joins a defensive unit that was 27th in the league against the pass. This will make for a thrilling (read - high scoring) prime time contest. The defense that makes a few stops comes out on top. - W

@ WAS - Dak is a fumble at his own goal line away from being 8-0 against Washington in his career. Believe in Ron Rivera in the long run, but their QB situation is not inspiring. Until it gets better, they’re the bottom feeders of the NFC East. Can Chase Young do enough on his own to affect the game? Perhaps enough to keep it within one score. - W

@ PHI - Give the benefit from playing in prime time to the team that has shown they know how to get up for a big game. These teams know each other well enough that there won’t be a ton of surprises. Will a healthy Desean Jackson and speedy Jalen Reagor cause the Cowboys new-look secondary some problems? With a little home cooking, they do just enough. - L

HALFWAY POINT - 5-3

v PIT - All bets are off when it comes to the Steelers in 2020. If Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy, they could vault right up to the top spot in the AFC North, perhaps even into second place in the AFC behind Kansas City. Be wary of this team, and that defense that returns seven defensive players who were once drafted in the first round. They only had one selection in the top 100 this year, and took WR Chase Claypool to join JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington. That makes for a very formidable WR corps when they have a QB that can get it to them. - L

@ MIN - The Vikings drafted a ridiculous 15 players in this 2020 draft, including LSU wideout Justin Jefferson, helping offset the loss of Stefon Diggs. The Vikings won last year’s matchup, 28-24, but that featured an Everson Griffen that had four QB hits, 1.5 TFL, and a half sack, and safety Jayron Kearse who had one of eight pass deflections and the game’s lone INT. Neither are currently still in Minnesota. The Cowboys get revenge on the road, as long as they don’t let Dalvin Cook run wild against them like he did a season ago (183 total yards). - W

v WAS - Will they be floating in any type of position where this game means something outside of spoiling things for the Cowboys? Granted, we’ve seen that movie before, but this won’t be one of those times. Cowboys fans will have plenty to be thankful for. - W

@ BAL - Lamar Jackson and Co. will provide as unique an experience as the Cowboys will face all season. Will the shine have worn off the Ravens by then, especially after their divisional round failure may have provided a blue print on how to neutralize Jackson’s considerable talents? Still, like the Eagles earlier, they benefit from this game being played under the lights in prime time, and it propels them to victory. - L

@ CIN - Would rather face them earlier in the year than late, but by this point, they may also mostly be settled in to evaluating for the future. If that’s the case, Cowboys roll. Even if not, the Cowboys find themselves in a position late that allows them the chance to give Andy Dalton one final curtain call in Cincy. - W

v SF - If the Niners’ defensive line survives this far into the regular season, you’ve got to think they’re at an advantage against the Cowboys, even with the talent the Cowboys possess along the offensive line. When Dak doesn’t have the time he expects to, he can rush his decision-making, speeding up his mechanics and allowing bad habits to reemerge. This one spells trouble for the Cowboys. - L

v PHI - Whether or not this game will have the same ramifications as their week 16 matchup did in 2019 remains to be seen, but the schedule makers certainly expect it to. The Cowboys learn from the lessons of a season ago and rise to the challenge. By this point, the season is as much a war of attrition as it is an indication of which team is more talented. The Cowboys are deeper and better prepared to face those concerns than the Eagles in 2020. - W

@ NYG - A game that matters for seeding purposes, the offense will put their foots on the throat of an animal who could very well be vying for draft positioning. - W

FINAL RECORD - 10-6