Cowboys Anticipation: Ranking All 16 Games
16. Atlanta Falcons (Home)
The Falcons are coming off a 6-10 season in 2014 and a 4-12 season in 2014. The fact that they only won 6 games in the worst division in football shows how bad this team really is. Granted, they have a good quarterback in Matt Ryan and a dangerous wide receiver in Julio Jones, but that will only get them so far.
The Falcons signed former Dallas Cowboys LB Justin Durant this offseason, so he will get to face his old team in his old stadium. The Cowboys lead the all-time series vs the Falcons 16-9, with a 9-3 record at home. Tony Romo has a 2-1 record vs Atlanta, throwing 6 touchdowns and 1 interception, for a 120.8 passer rating and a 73.1 completion percentage. Anything can happen on any given Sunday, but this game doesn't excite me (relatively speaking) at this point.
15. New York Jets (Home)
The Cowboys will host the Jets for the first time since 2007, when the Cowboys beat them 34-3 on Thanksgiving. Since appearing in two straight AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010, the Jets have been a major disappointment. They haven't had a winning season in the last 4 years and won just 4 games in 2014.
The Jets brought back Revis and Cromartie this offseason to strengthen up their secondary. Dez and the other Cowboys wideouts going against the Jets secondary should be a fun battle. However, despite their free-agent acquisitions, the Jets still have a long way to go to return to their level of play from 2009 and 2010. Tony Romo is 1-1 vs the Jets with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The Cowboys lead overall series 7-3 and are 2-1 at home vs the Jets.
14. New Orleans Saints (Away)
Last year, the Saints missed the playoffs for just the 2nd time in the last 6 seasons. It doesn't look like the Saints are getting any better, at least not immediately. New Orleans traded Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks and got rid of several defensive players. It's like a fire sale. Everything must go!
The Cowboys dominated the Saints in week 4 of the 2014 season, but it was the other way around over the last few years. The Saints were riding a three game winning streak over the Cowboys before 2014 and had won eight of the last nine. The last time the Cowboys played in New Orleans, they lost 49-17 in 2013. The time before that they ended the Saints 13-game winning streak in 2009 by beating them 24-17. Romo has 9 TD's and 0 INT's in his last 4 games vs the Saints. Rob Ryan and Anthony Spencer will face their old team. The Cowboys lead the all-time series, 16-11.
13. Miami Dolphins (Away)
The Dolphins haven't had a winning season since 2008, and have been 7-9 or worse in seven of the last eleven seasons. They should be better in 2015 after landing arguably the biggest FA of the season, DT Ndamukong Suh, who gave the Cowboys o-line trouble in the Cowboys vs Lions Wild-Card playoff game.
Tony Romo is undefeated against the Dolphins, with a 2-0 record and the Cowboys have won four of the last five games against Miami. However, the Dolphins lead the all-time series 7-6.
12. Washington Redskins (Away)
The Redskins have won six games or less in five of the last six seasons. But when it comes to this historic rivalry, you can throw out the records because they don't mean a thing. The Cowboys and Redskins always play each other tough.
Cowboys have won three of the last four games in Washington, including a 44-17 game in week 17 last year. However, these games are usually much closer - the point margin in the four previous match-ups in Washington were all within just 10 points.
11. Buffalo Bills (Away)
The Bills are coming off their first winning season since 2004, after going 9-7 in 2014. They traded for LeSean McCoy and signed Percy Harvin to get their offense some more speedy weapons. They also led the NFL in sacks last season and had the 2nd most in 2013.
Tony Romo has a 2-0 record against the Bills. However, they were two very different games. In the first, Romo threw 5 interceptions before coming back to win the game in dramatic fashion. The other, Romo threw 3 TD's and 0 INT's with a 148.4 passer rating and the 2nd highest of his career (88.5). The Cowboys lead the all-time series 8-3. The best part of this game will be watching the Cowboys o-line go up against Buffalo's d-line.
10. New York Giants (Home)
Ever since their Championship season in 2011, the Giants have been on the downfall. They went 9-7 in 2012, 7-9 in 2013 and 6-10 in 2014. However, the Giants have made some smart free agent singings, including George Selvie and Dwayne Harris - who will be returning to play the Cowboys in AT&T Stadium. They'll also be getting key players back from injury, including Victor Cruz and Prince Amukamara. I expect them to be better in 2015.
The Cowboys have a 4-game winning streak vs the Giants and have won 5 of the last 6, with the one loss being the "Dez finger-tip" game. The Cowboys have won 2 straight home games. Cowboys and Giants games are generally high scoring. In the last four match-ups, the Cowboys have averaged 30 PPG and the Giants have averaged 25 PPG.
9. Washington Redskins (Home)
Cowboys and Redskins are among the most difficult to predict. Like I said earlier, these teams always play each other tough and are always full of surprises.
The Last time the Redskins came to Arlington, they won 20-17 in overtime with Colt McCoy as their starting QB and Romo broke his back (again). Arguably the most disappointing game of the season for the Cowboys. The year before that, however, the Cowboys won 31-16 when the Skins visited AT&T Stadium. This will also be the 2nd homecoming for former Cowboys DT Jason Hatcher.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (Away)
After whooping the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, the Eagles finished out the season going 1-3, missing the playoffs and ending up with a 10-6 record. Since then, they've gotten rid of their starting quarterback, running back and lost their star wideout to the Chiefs. They were very active in FA but only time will tell whether or not those signings will pay off.
The Cowboys have a 3-game winning streak in Philadelphia and have won four of the last five there. The Cowboys dominated the Eagles in Philly week 13 and they will look to do so again in 2015. However, the Eagles will likely be looking for revenge. Assuming Sam Bradford starts, he will be the 5th different starting QB the Cowboys have faced at Philadelphia in the last 6 games there. He'll also be the 3rd different starting QB in their last 3 games overall vs the Eagles.
7. Carolina Panthers (Home)
The Panthers won their 2nd straight division title last season, despite winning just 7 games - one of the benefits of playing in the worst division in the NFL. However, they still have a dangerous QB in Cam Newton, a good defensive line and one of the best young LB's in the NFL.
The reason I'm excited for this game is to see Greg Hardy face his old team - as long as it doesn't fall during his looming suspension. Emotions will be high on both sides of the ball and the media will have a field day leading up to the game. This is also another team that Romo is undefeated against (4-0). The Cowboys lead the all-time series 9-3 and are 4-1 at home vs the Panthers.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Away)
The Buccaneers haven't made the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons, and they've only experienced a winning season once in that span. So, do I why have this game ranked so high on my list of most anticipated games this season? Let me tell you. ...
First off, the Buccaneers signed Bruce Carter, Henry Melton, Sterling Moore, Mike Jenkins and Orie Lemon - all former Cowboys that will be pumped up to face their former team. It will also be their 2nd season under Lovie Smith, so they should be a better team than they were in 2014. I have a feeling this game will be much tougher than most teams expect, much like the Rams game last season. Tony Romo is 4-0 vs the Buccaneers, scoring 12 TD's and just 1 INT with a 125.1 passer rating and a 68.8 completion %. The Cowboys have a 5-game winning streak and lead the all-time series, 13-3.
5. New York Giants (Away)
As much success as the Giants have had when visiting the Cowboys, the Cowboys had just as much success when playing in front of the Giants home crowd, boasting a 4-1 record in MetLife Stadium.
The Cowboys have won their last three games in New York, all of which were one-score games. In those games, Tony Romo threw 9 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. Dez Bryant has 3 receiving touchdowns in MetLife Stadium, including 2 last season. The last two match-ups there were exciting come-from behind victories. The Cowboys game in MetLife last season was voted the 15th best game in 2014.
4. Seattle Seahawks (Home)
The Seahawks were a bad goalline call away from winning their second consecutive Super Bowl. They are easily one of the best teams in the NFL and they aren't showing any signs of slowing down, boasting one of the youngest rosters in the league.
Last year's matchup between the Cowboys and Seahawks was voted as the 2nd best game in 2014. The Cowboys shocked the world by beating the Seahawks on their turf, just the 2nd time that's happened in the Russell Wilson era. Can they defend their own turf against them? On one hand, the Cowboys have the confidence now knowing they can beat them, but the Seahawks will be looking for revenge. The addition of Jimmy Graham will make things a little harder for Dallas this time around. The Cowboys have won 3 straight home games vs Seattle by a combined score of 95-39 and lead the all-time series 10-6.
3. New England Patriots (Home)
The Patriots are coming off their 4th Championship with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. They've won 6 straight division championships and have won their division in 12 of the last 14 seasons. This is easily the best team of the century with one of the best coaches and quarterbacks of all-time.
This game may have a lot of Cowboys fans nervous, but it just gets me excited. The Cowboys proved last year that they can hang with any team in the league and as they say, "in order to be the best, you've got to beat the best." Beating them hasn't been easy for this team in recent years. They are one of just four teams that Tony Romo has yet to beat (he is 0-2 against them). However, Dallas leads the all-time series against New England, 7-4. Interesting side note, both QB's in this game got their starts by replacing Drew Bledsoe.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (Home)
The return of DeMarco Murray to AT&T Stadium. I can hear the boos from Cowboys Nation already. This heated rivalry will be more intense than ever before. Both sides will be extremely pumped up.
Speaking of Murray, remember when he and Sean Lee would go at it in practice, now they'll go get to go at it in an actual game. That's going to be fun to watch. Former Cowboys WR Miles Austin will also be making his return to Arlington. The Cowboys have won 4 of the last 6 games vs the Eagles but have a 2-game losing streak when playing them at AT&T Stadium. This should be an extremely entertaining game.
1. Green Bay Packers (Away)
Finally, my most anticipated game of the 2015 season, the re-match with the Packers at Lambeau Field, where the Cowboys season came to a heartbreaking end in 2014. The Packers have made the playoffs in six consecutive years and have won 10+ games in all but one of those seasons.
The Cowboys, specifically Dez Bryant, will be more pumped up than ever for this game. Dez was robbed of a career-defining play at this stadium in the division round of the playoffs, and he will do everything he can to make sure that doesn't happen again. This game will also feature two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers - the NFL MVP, and Tony Romo - the 2014 leader in passer rating, completion % and YPA. The Packers have a four-game winning streak over the Cowboys but the all-time series between these historic teams is tied at 16-16, so the winner will get bragging rights over that as well.
Everybody else is writing about Orlando Scandrick not being at Valley Ranch today. Only Fish is talking to him ... Our Cowboys Crunchtime Podcast series is here, featuring Fish, KD Drummond, Bob Sturm and more ... ... How Our exclusive with Drew on Dez. ... Keep it right here at CowboysHQ for hard-hitting commentary and outstanding analysis. ... Hungry for some understanding of how the Cowboys front office really operates? "Jerry and his Cornerstones'' gives you answers. ... Want more Cowboys Draft Profiles? Click here!
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