Early game-by-game predictions for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2020 NFL season
The 2020 NFL regular season schedule was officially released in early May. That means it’s time to make predictions. Right now we’ll be looking at one team in particular, the Dallas Cowboys. Last season, they went a disappointing 8-8. That saw them finish second in a weak NFC East and miss out on the playoffs.
This led to some changes in the offseason, the biggest being the firing of head coach Jason Garrett. In response, the Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy to fill that role.
Now they head into 2020 with big expectations once again. Can they fulfill them this time?
Let’s go week-by-week, game-by-game and try to predict the outcome of the 2020 regular season for Dallas.
Week 1 – Los Angeles Rams (Away)
The Cowboys start the season with a tough one, facing the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles.
The Rams did not exactly live up to expectations in 2019. However, they still managed a 9-7 record in one of the best divisions in football.
The Rams have not had the best offseason. And truthfully, it wouldn’t be crazy if they fell even further in 2020. There’s also a chance they turn back into Super Bowl contenders, though it will be difficult in a stacked NFC West.
And in Week 1, at home, they are going to make things very difficult for the Cowboys. Dallas opens the season with a loss.
Week 2 – Atlanta Falcons (Home)
Next up, the Cowboys have another confusing team. The Atlanta Falcons looked absolutely miserable for a long time in 2019 before flipping the switch.
They still ended up not making much of an impression, but they continued their odd trend. This is a team that can look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders one week and like a bottom-tier team the next.
So which version will the Cowboys be facing? It might not matter. Dallas will be at home for the first time all year, and will be coming off a loss. They won’t lose this game.
Week 3 – Seattle Seahawks (Away)
Dallas goes back to the west coast in Week 3 and have to square off with the Seahawks in Seattle.
The Seahawks are one of the best teams in the NFL. It’s been that way for quite some time now.
And what’s even worse for the Cowboys, they are that much better at home. It’s going to be tough for Dallas to win this one. A loss is most likely in their fortunes for this game.
Week 4 – Cleveland Browns (Home)
This definitely isn’t the start the Cowboys wanted, at 1-2 and now facing off with the Cleveland Browns, who should at the very least be decent this season.
However, the Cowboys do have the home field advantage. And it’s hard to get a gauge on the Browns. Yes, they should be decent, but remember last season, when everyone thought they were suddenly legitimate contenders?
Then came the struggles for Baker Mayfield at quarterback. And it seemed like certain players weren’t happy. Ultimately, the Browns didn’t even hit .500.
Could they hit similar snags in 2020? Perhaps. Either way this is a tough game for them, and one that the Cowboys walk out of victorious.
Week 5 – New York Giants (Home)
Dallas gets their first divisional game of the 2020 season in Week 5. They go up against NFC East rivals, the New York Giants.
On paper, the Cowboys are a much better team than the Giants. This is a divisional game, though, so some logic goes out the window.
With that in mind, this game becomes a little bit more interesting. And with Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley leading the New York offense, anything can happen. But that offense will be built by Jason Garrett, the Cowboys’ former head coach. Which team will get a leg up because of that?
Dallas has home field advantage and a roster that is built nicely to really limit Barkley and company. So they’ll come out with a win and get over .500 for the first time all year.
Week 6 – Arizona Cardinals (Home)
The Cowboys are now over .500 and on their first winning streak of the season. And next they have the Arizona Cardinals at home in Week 6.
In previous years, this might have been considered an easier win. However, the Cardinals are looking like a dangerous team now.
For one thing, they now have a franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray who lived up to the hype in 2019. And they got him one of the best receivers in football in DeAndre Hopkins, not giving much up for him to the Texans in the process.
So far, the Cowboys have not lost at home in 2020 to this point and are on a bit of a roll. They will keep that going here with another win and really start to establish themselves as one of the better teams in the NFL.
Week 7 – Washington Redskins (Away)
Dallas’ winning streak is fun, but it’s about to be put to the test. Say what you will about the Washington Redskins — they certainly aren’t the most likely Super Bowl contenders.
They have a potentially lethal roster, though. The pass rush is a serious problem for opposing offenses and the offense can be very good if Dwayne Haskins and the receivers make some improvements.
Washington also has the home field advantage in this one, and might be a little overlooked considering the next game on the schedule for the Cowboys.
This will definitely be a hard-fought game. However, the Cowboys will still find a way to pull out the W and continue the streak.
Week 8 – Philadelphia Eagles (Away)
The Philadelphia Eagles are next. And they might be the reason the Cowboys look past Washington a bit. This is the much better matchup on paper.
Philadelphia won the division last season at 9-7 and it looks like they’ve gotten better this offseason. So this could be one of the best games of the week.
The Eagles have home field advantage, and in Philadelphia that definitely means something. They are also coming off a Thursday night game the week prior against the Giants, so they’ll have a few extra days to rest.
Those extra days could help, but they could harm.
Philadelphia is also just two weeks removed from a clash with the Baltimore Ravens. So maybe they won’t be rolling as much as the Cowboys are.
Dallas finds a way to sneak this one out in Philly, keeping their streak going.
Week 9 – Pittsburgh Steelers (Home)
The tough games don’t stop in Philadelphia, with the Cowboys facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9.
Pittsburgh went 8-8 last season despite quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missing the entire year. Now they have their starter back under center and could be poised for a big 2020.
Dallas is running through everyone at this point in our projection. and they might be simply too hot to handle for the Steelers.
The Cowboys use that home field to their advantage and pick up a sixth straight W.
Week 10 – Bye Week
It could go either way for the Cowboys during their Week 10 bye. On the one hand, it comes at the perfect time because the Cowboys will have had a tough stretch over the prior few weeks. And even though they were winning, they probably will need some legitimate down time.
However, one could also argue that Dallas was 100 percent on a hot streak and this could serve to throw them off their groove. Either way, they get a chance to rest up and heal some injuries.
Let’s see how the bye week plays out for them and for the games that follow it.
Week 11 – Minnesota Vikings (Away)
Coming out of their bye, the Cowboys have a rough matchup, traveling to face the Vikings in Minnesota. And that’s not exactly the most inviting of places.
Kirk Cousins and company have proven they are an inconsistent bunch. One week things are going great, the team is trending up, the quarterback is killing it and everyone seems happy.
Then the next week, they suffer a loss, Cousins struggles and rumors are swirling that someone is mad about their targets or role. Drama seems to follow.
So the Cowboys could get either side of the stick in Week 11. And they’ll get some help from the Vikings in this case.
Dallas walks away with a win and Minnesota has to deal with negative headlines for a week.
Week 12 – Washington Redskins (Home)
Can anyone stop the Cowboys at this point? It’s going to be tough.
In Week 12, they face the Redskins for the final time and this time it’s at home, on Thanksgiving.
Washington has had more time to gel now over the course of the season, leading them to do what seemed impossible: They give the Cowboys their first home loss of the season.
Haskins has had more time to mature, and Chase Young and Montez Sweat could be a cohesive unit at this point.
Week 13 – Baltimore Ravens (Away)
Dallas is coming off their first loss since Week 3 and need a bounce back. But unlucky for them, they get the Baltimore Ravens, and are on the road.
Lamar Jackson does what it is that he does — break opposing defenses — and the Ravens continue their probably dominant season. This now puts Dallas on their first losing streak of 2020.
Week 14 – Cincinnati Bengals (Away)
The Cincinnati Bengals should be much-improved in 2020, especially with all the hype surrounding rookie quarterback Joe Burrow.
Cincinnati will be a better team. They will win more games and steer clear of some of those blowouts they suffered a year ago. However, they still aren’t exactly a threat. And the Cowboys will be hungry for a win here.
That’s exactly what they’ll get.
Week 15 – San Francisco 49ers (Home)
Dallas has been great at home to this point. But now they face the San Francisco 49ers. Admittedly, the offense still isn’t that intimidating unless Jimmy Garoppolo made some major improvements.
However, that defense is legitimate. It was one of the best in the NFL last year, and even if they take a step back they’ll still be one of the elite units in the league. They’ll use that defense to stifle the offense of the Cowboys and give Dallas its third loss in four weeks.
Week 16 – Philadelphia Eagles (Home)
The hits keep coming for Dallas. Outside of Cincinnati, this has been a pretty brutal schedule for them since their bye week. And yes, while they are at home in Week 16 it’s against the Eagles, a division rival who is likely fighting them for first place at this point.
Whoever wins here might lock up the division, so Dallas needs to be on its A-game.
Sadly, they won’t get the job done. The Eagles will avenge their loss from earlier in the year and could be walking out of Dallas with the NFC East title.
The Cowboys drop an important one.
Week 17 – New York Giants (Away)
This has been a really bad stretch for the Cowboys, and now they end their season with a rough divisional game even though the Giants should be out of the playoffs at this point.
That aside, it’s a divisional game and the Giants might have a chance to knock the Cowboys out of the playoffs completely. They also get to play at home this time.
All the stars are aligning for the Giants to pull out a win and play spoiler.
Dallas may have had enough losing by Week 17, leading to Dak Prescott and company coming through with an impressive performance to ensure their team ends the regular season with a win.
The Cowboys end the regular season with a 10-6 record, which will probably be good enough to send them to the playoffs.