Week 1 of the NFL is officially upon us as the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams kick off the season tonight.
The rosters are all set and we (mostly) know who will be starting at each position for the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now that we know what players the Cowboys will roll into the 2022 season with, what better time than now to predict Dallas’ record.
Two things to note before getting into the picks: the Cowboys are tied with the Washington Commanders for the easiest schedule in the NFL based on opponents winning percentage in 2021. Dallas also plays in five primetime games, tied for the most of any team this season. They don’t call the Cowboys America’s Team for nothing.
Week 1: vs. Tampa Bay (Sunday Night Football)
This same matchup opened the 2021 season on Thursday Night Football when Tampa Bay nailed a field goal with two seconds left in the game to narrowly defeat Dallas. But this season, the Buccaneers have been dealing with injuries along the offensive line, and receiver Chris Godwin is expected to be a game time decision as he deals with a knee injury.
Result: The Cowboys’ strong defensive line applies pressure to Tom Brady throughout the game and Dallas gets the Week 1 victory, starting the year 1-0.
Week 2: vs. Cincinnati
The Bengals are out for vengeance in 2022 after losing to the Rams in the Super Bowl. Cincinnati also had one of the most dominant passing attacks in the NFL last season, headlined by Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
Result: This game is going to be a shootout, which Dallas won’t be equipped for. CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown are the Cowboys’ only receivers with NFL experience, and that will cause some growing pains early on. Dallas takes the loss and moves to 1-1.
Week 3: at New York Giants (Monday Night Football)
The Giants are in the midst of a rebuild under rookie head coach Brian Daboll. Daboll could be the man to turn things around for New York, but that change won’t be noticed this season. The Cowboys also beat the Giants with ease in both matchups last season.
Result: Dallas comes out hungry after the Week 2 defeat and pounds the Giants; Cowboys move to 2-1.
Week 4: vs. Washington
The Commanders had a disappointing 7-10 record last season. But they did acquire Carson Wentz in the offseason, who will be the best passer star receiver Terry McLaurin has had in his young NFL career. Even still, there are holes all over Washington’s roster. The Commanders will also be without Chase Young who will minimally miss the first four games of the season.
Result: By Week 4, Dallas is expected to get veteran Michael Gallup back from injury, which will add some much-needed experience to the receiving core. The Cowboys get the victory and will hold a 3-1 record.
Week 5: at Los Angeles Rams
The reigning Super Bowl champions promise to be contenders again this year. Los Angeles lost Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. but covered those gaps by adding Bobby Wagner and Allen Robinson to the roster. But, it’s been reported that Matthew Stafford has been dealing with elbow pain in his throwing arm and that could take a toll as the season progresses.
Result: The Cowboys win a tight game and put the NFL world on notice. Dallas sits at 4-1 after five games.
Week 6: at Philadelphia (Sunday Night Football)
The Cowboys handled the Eagles with ease in 2021, winning by a combined total of 45 points in two games. But that won’t be the case this season. Philadelphia was very active this offseason, adding cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Hasson Reddick to the defense. The Eagles also dedicated some early draft capital to further bolster its defense.
Result: Philadelphia gets a huge win in this NFC East showdown, Dallas falls to 4-2.
Week 7: vs. Detroit
The Lions’ 3-13-1 record was the second-worst in the NFL last season. Detroit did land defensive end Aiden Hutchinson with the second overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, but there are still a lot of weak spots on the roster. Receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown had a strong 2021 season, but besides he and tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Lions aren’t much of a threat in the passing game.
Result: The Cowboys come out firing on all cylinders after dropping the Week 6 game to the Eagles. Dallas wins and moves to 5-2.
Week 8: vs. Chicago
Some NFL analysts are expecting the Bears to be the worst team in the NFL this year. But there was a major change in management in Chicago, as the Bears have a new general manager and coaching staff. But the most impactful move Chicago made was hiring offensive coordinator Luke Getsky, who served as the Green Bay Packers passing game coordinator/QB coach for the last three seasons.
Result: The Cowboys get the win, but this game will be closer than you’d think. The Cowboys go into the bye week with a solid 6-2 record.
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: at Green Bay
The Packers saw some key offensive players depart this offseason. Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling had the first and third-most receiving yards for Green Bay last season, respectively, but both left in free agency. But the Packers do still have Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, which is arguably the best running back duo in the NFL.
Result: The Cowboys hold a 5-2 record coming off a bye since Prescott took over at QB in 2016, tied for the sixth-best mark in the NFL. But getting a road win in Green Bay will continue being a tall task as long as Aaron Rodgers is under center. Dallas loses and falls to 6-3.
Week 11: at Minnesota
The Vikings are flying under the radar season, but could challenge the Packers for NFC North supremacy. Justin Jefferson had the second-most receiving yards in the NFL last season and Dalvin Cook played in only 13 games, yet he still had the fifth-most rushing yards. Kirk Cousins remains undervalued despite throwing for 4,221 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2021.
Result: The Cowboys lose back-to-back games for the first time this season, falling to 6-4.
Week 12: vs. New York Giants
By this point in the season, Dallas will be fighting for a spot in the playoffs while New York is playing for personal pride as its season will likely be lost. This game comes at a crucial point as the Cowboys started off the year strong, but have faltered since the Week 9 bye.
Result: This will serve as a get-right game for the Cowboys as they end the losing streak and move to 7-4.
Week 13: vs. Indianapolis (Sunday Night Football)
Jonathan Taylor was a force for the Colts last season. Taylor had 1,811 rushing yards, the most in the NFL. But Indianapolis’ passing could be its downfall in 2022. The Colts’ QB will be 37-year-old Matt Ryan, and its only experienced receiver is Michael Pittman Jr. Indianapolis does boast a strong defense, led by three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leanord (who previously went by Darius).
Result: Ryan’s lack of mobility will allow the Cowboys’ defensive line to apply constant pressure. Dallas notches another win and holds an 8-4 record.
Week 14: vs. Houston
The Texans are a rebuilding team with head coach Lovie Smith at the helm after being promoted from defensive coordinator duties a season ago. The Texans lack playmakers on offense and defense, and Houston currently holds the best odds to have the worst record in the NFL, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Result: Dallas wins the Lone Star State rivalry with ease and the record jumps to 9-4.
Week 15: at Jacksonville
The Jaguars are another team in contention to have the worst record in the NFL at season’s end. But the Jaguars firing coach Urban Meyer last season was the smartest thing they could’ve done, outside of not hiring Meyer in the first place. Now, old NFC East foe Doug Pederson is at the helm, but it won’t matter much this year.
Result: The Cowboys winning streak moves to five games and Dallas holds a 10-4 record.
Week 16: vs. Philadelphia
The Eagles and Cowboys will be battling for NFC East supremacy all season long. If both teams can avoid injuries, this should shape up to be the most important game of Dallas’ season. In the first matchup, we predicted the Eagles to take home the victory. But in the regular season finale between these bitter rivals, AT&T Stadium will be at capacity and the Cowboys will be riding the high of a five-game winning streak.
Result: The Cowboys win a close one and take control of the NFC East. The record moves to 11-4.
Week 17: at Tennessee (Thursday Night Football)
After the Titans and A.J. Brown couldn’t agree on a contract extension, Tennessee traded the star receiver to the Eagles. That leaves the Titans wide receiving core rather weak. But, Tennessee still has former All-Pro running back Derrick Henry.
Result: Tennessee takes down Dallas, who will be coming off an emotional win over the Eagles. The Cowboys fall to 11-5.
Week 18: at Washington
By the final week of the regular season, the Cowboys will have clinched a spot in the playoffs. But Dallas will likely play the starters as the NFC East crown will be up for grabs, and the Cowboys’ playoff seeding will depend on how they do against the Commanders.
Result: The Cowboys get the victory and finish the season with a 12-5 record.
Dallas will become the first team to win back-to-back NFC East titles since Philadelphia did so in 2004. As for playoff predictions, we’ll make those picks once we get there.