Looking Ahead to the Schedule of the Dallas Cowboys

Assuming that the NFL Lockout ends before September, and there’s no guarantee of that as today marks its 40th day, then the Cowboys are going to get a shot at retribution for last year’s debacle of a season.

Despite all the negotiations, posturing, and finger-pointing between the dismantled Player’s Union and the NFL Owners, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell still had time to hammer out the regular season schedule for the upcoming 2011 season. That could be read as a positive sign, but to me, it speaks volumes about his arrogance. He certainly has to establish the schedule this early, as it gives the fans and stadiums a heads up on things, but does he really have to do it at such a tumultuous time? It sends mixed messages to the players.

Despite all that, the Cowboys’ quarterback, Tony Romo, has organized workouts with his fellow teammates. He wants the Cowboys to be ready when the season kicks off for them against last year’s media darling, the New York Jets. Romo is often criticized for his inability to lead, so this helps dispel that notion.

Without further adieu, your, and my, Dallas Cowboys 2011 regular season schedule:

Cowboys Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 11, at NY Jets, 8:20 PM
Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 18, at San Francisco, 4:05 PM
Week 3: Monday, Sep. 26, Washington, 8:30 PM
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2, Detroit, 1:00 PM
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16, at New England, 4:15 PM
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23, St. Louis, 4:15 PM
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30, at Philadelphia, 8:20 PM
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6, Seattle, 1:00 PM
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13, Buffalo, 1:00 PM
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20, at Washington, 1:00 PM
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 24, Miami, 4:15 PM
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4, at Arizona, 4:15 PM
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11, NY Giants, 8:20 PM
Week 15: Saturday, Dec. 17, at Tampa Bay, 8:20 PM
Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24, Philadelphia, 4:15 PM
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1, at NY Giants, 1:00 PM

Weeks 1-4

Before their bye week, Dallas may very well be 2-2, with losses in the Meadowlands for what figures to be a deeply emotional game against the New York Jets on the 10th anniversary of September 11th, and at either Washington or against Detroit. The Redskins, no matter how good or bad they are, always show up for the Dallas Cowboys. I guess they have some sort of a rivalry or something. Beats me.

I say best-case scenario for the Cowboys’ record before the bye week is 3-1. I don’t see them winning in New York. It’s just not going to happen. The Cowboys haven’t seen a defense like the one that the Jets trot out under head coach Rex Ryan since their 2008 meeting with the Steelers at Pittsburgh. In that game, the Cowboys led 13-10 before losing the lead and throwing a game-clinching interception in the game’s final drive. Historically speaking, the Cowboys aren’t used to the kind of physicality that comes with playing against AFC juggernauts.

Their record against ball clubs that are notorious for their defense: 0-3.


NE @ DAL: Loss


DAL @ PIT: Loss

BAL @ DAL: Loss

They beat the Jets in 2007, but that was before Rex Ryan took over. Like I said, we just weren’t ready to deal with that brand of football.

Can Rex Ryan (left) change the culture of the Dallas Cowboys defense? I can't wait to find out.

Until now.

With Rob Ryan at the helm as defensive coordinator, the Cowboys are going to turn into an NFC version of an AFC type defense. Whether they have the right personnel or not is up for debate. But the mentality will be there.

Weeks 6-9

Dallas is not beating New England in New England. It’s not going to happen. Even if they were playing at Cowboys Stadium, I sincerely doubt that they would be able to pull off that kind of upset. Tom Brady is too good, and he’ll carve up the Dallas secondary like a Thanksgiving turkey. This will be a good test for a team that is just finding its groove, though. If the Cowboys can stay afloat after their week 1 loss, this could be their second loss, and serve as a measuring stick.

The next three weeks are hard to predict. Sam Bradford comes to town with his St. Louis Rams, and he brings with him a guy who always tears up the Cowboys in Stephen Jackson. Still, Dallas should win this game. On what basis, you ask? Pure speculation! The Cowboys lose at Philadelphia the following week, but recoup against Seattle two weeks later. (Projected record: 5-3)

Weeks 10-13

Another 3-1 stint for the Cowboys, assuming things go well, with their one loss coming against Washington in week 10. I would say that they’d lose to Miami, but they play them on Thanksgiving, and the last time that happened, Dallas lost. This time, they’ll be out for vengeance (after all, Ricky Williams is still in uniform). Revised projected record: 8-4.

Weeks 14-17

This easily marks the toughest stretch for the Cowboys, who start off the final quarter of the season playing against the New York Giants (who have their number, and whose quarterback, Eli Manning, always looks like a hall of famer against them), then fly to Tampa Bay (W), then host Michael Vick and the Eagles, and finally end their season in New York AGAIN for the second meeting in 4 weeks. If the Cowboys hold serve, they could finish 10-6, with a December/January split. If they swoon, like we’ve so often seen, we could see them barely miss the playoffs. And if they collapse against the pressure, we’re looking at another failed season.

Despite their terrible outing last season, the Cowboys still have 5 prime-time games. And we should expect that, too. The Cowboys sell. It’s who they are. And what better way to kick off the 2011 season than America’s team flying to the site of America’s most recent tragic event?

They probably lose that game, but America wins.



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