Kickoff season previews  


Is this the Cowboys' year?

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Dallas Cowboys
2011 record: 8-8 (Third in NFC East)

Fearless Forecast

  • Bucky Brooks

    Rob Ryan finally has a defense that is capable of dominating opponents with coverage or pressure, but the key to the Cowboys’ hopes hinge on the performance of Tony Romo in the clutch.
    Prediction: 9-7, third in NFC East

  • Daniel Jeremiah

    I really like the new additions to the Cowboys secondary but this team still has a lot of holes. The offensive line is my number one concern. If they can get better play up front, they could easily exceed my win total projection.
    Prediction: 8-8, third in NFC East

  • Adam Schein

    I want to pick Dallas to make the playoffs, but the lack of depth at receiver, Jason Witten's injury, and the Cowboys' inability to finish last year hold me back. I'm underwhelmed by Jason Garrett's play selection and game management.
    Prediction: 7-9, third in NFC East

  • Steve Wyche

    The early part of the schedule is unforgiving and the preseason injuries won't allow continuity to set in until it's too late. Tony Romo still has a good season.
    Prediction: 7-9, fourth in NFC East

In The Spotlight
Morris Claiborne | #24 | CB

The two biggest acquisitions of the offseason were at cornerback, with big-ticket free agent Brandon Carr and Claiborne, the first-round draft pick. Carr has already shown he can be a star. But if Claiborne can learn quick enough, and shake off a spring on the sidelines, he’ll do so much more than merely clamp down on opposing receivers. But Carr and Claiborne will also allow defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to blitz like he really wants to do.

3 Pivotal Games
Week 1 vs. Giants
It would be difficult to imagine a more troublesome preseason for the Cowboys, with injuries and inconsistency ruining their continuity. All they do is begin the season at the Super Bowl champs in front of a national television audience. Can they find a rhythm early despite spending camp with so many missing parts?
Week 12 at Redskins
A rivalry game like this one rarely needs anything extra to be one you’ll want to watch. But on Thanksgiving Day, at Cowboys Stadium, featuring the homecoming of No. 2 pick Robert Griffin III, this contest should be memorable. The fact that it’s smack in the middle of a fierce division race helps, too.
Week 15 vs. Steelers
There is nothing this classic showdown game doesn’t have. Two big-name teams with two big-name quarterbacks, each featuring aerial attacks that could torment even their own defensive gurus. Not that Pittsburgh’s Dick LeBeau or Dallas' Rob Ryan are sweating it. Expect fireworks.



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