Cowboys 2011 Predictions
Todd Archer, Tim MacMahon and Calvin Watkins break down the Cowboys' 2011 season.
2011 Predictions (all times CT)
Sunday, Sept. 11, 7:20 p.m. -- Cowboys at Jets (NBC)
Todd Archer: The Ryan brothers will be on full display this week. All along, Rex Ryan has said Rob's defense will be No. 2 in the league. He's right on this day.
Tim MacMahon: The Cowboys shouldn't have to worry about Rex Ryan pulling a page from pops Buddy's playbook and running up the score against twin Rob's team. The problem will be scoring against the Jets' defense.
Calvin Watkins: Buddy's Boys get together in a defensive struggle, but Mark Sanchez outplays Tony Romo in the fourth quarter.
Sunday, Sept. 18, 3:05 p.m. -- Cowboys at 49ers (Fox)
Todd Archer: Jim Harbaugh will bring a lot of energy to the 49ers, but breaking in a quarterback (possibly) or hoping for Alex Smith to put it together is not encouraging.
Tim MacMahon: It'd be nice to know who will be playing quarterback for San Francisco before making this prediction. We'll assume their struggles at the most important position will continue.
Calvin Watkins: Cowboys extend their win streak to three games vs. the 49ers with a nice road win.
Monday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m. -- Redskins at Cowboys (ESPN)
Todd Archer: Felix Jones carries the load in this one (117 yards, TD) and the defense does a number on whomever Mike Shanahan has as the Redskins' quarterback.
Tim MacMahon: Rob Ryan's defense dominates an offense that has all the pieces in place other than a quarterback, running back, a receiver or two and a few offensive linemen.
Calvin Watkins: Redskins edge one out on the road.
Sunday, Oct. 2, noon -- Lions at Cowboys (Fox)
Todd Archer: The Lions are much improved and will benefit greatly if Highland Park's Matthew Stafford can stay healthy, but the Cowboys need this win heading into the bye more.
Tim MacMahon: Hopefully, Highland Park product Matthew Stafford can stay healthy and play near home this season. If he does, the Lions could be dangerous.
Calvin Watkins: Even if Matthew Stafford plays his first game against his hometown team, it won't matter. The Lions are still the Lions, and the Cowboys have now moved on to win six of seven.
>> BYE WEEK <<
Sunday, Oct. 16, 3:15 p.m. -- Cowboys at Patriots (Fox)
Todd Archer: Rob Ryan will try to steal a page from his brother Rex on how to defend Tom Brady but it doesn't work. Brady and the Patriots are too tough to beat at home.
Tim MacMahon: The Patriots didn't lose at home during the last two regular seasons, a trend the Cowboys won't end. Tom Brady will pick apart the Cowboys' suspect secondary.
Calvin Watkins: Rob Ryan's defense vs. Bill Belichick's. Expect a close game. Expect it to be cold. Expect a Cowboys loss.
Sunday, Oct. 23, 3:15 p.m. -- Rams at Cowboys (Fox)
Todd Archer: DeMarcus Ware says hello three times to Sam Bradford, including once to force a fumble that leads to a game-clinching touchdown as the Cowboys win a closer-than-expected game.
Tim MacMahon: This probably won't be as painful as Sam Bradford's previous trip to Cowboys Stadium. He ended up with his throwing shoulder in a sling during Oklahoma's 2009 loss to BYU.
Sunday, Oct. 30, 7:20 p.m. -- Cowboys at Eagles (NBC)
Todd Archer: The Cowboys aren't afraid of Lincoln Financial Field. Heck, they won there last year with their No. 3 quarterback. But they aren't as fortunate this time.
Tim MacMahon: The Cowboys won't get to face the Philadelphia junior varsity team during this trip to Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles pull out a key win en route to another NFC East title.
Calvin Watkins: The Linc will be filled with angry Cowboys fans. Eagles fans will go home happy.
Sunday, Nov. 6, noon -- Seahawks at Cowboys (Fox)
Todd Archer: Seattle could be looking at a rookie quarterback unless Matt Hasselbeck returns. Neither is a good option for Pete Carroll's team in this one.
Tim MacMahon: Seattle won the NFC West last season, but this should be a gimme win. The Seahawks went 2-6 on the road with every loss by a double-digit margin.
Calvin Watkins: No contest. Yes, we know Seattle reached the playoffs last year and even won a game, but this is 2011 and the Seahawks are still rebuilding.
Sunday, Nov. 13, noon -- Bills at Cowboys (CBS)
Todd Archer: Chan Gailey's return to the Cowboys is spoiled because the Princeton coach (Jason Garrett) outduels the Harvard quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick) thanks to a 300-yard passing day from Tony Romo.
Tim MacMahon: Jerry Jones will spend the week gushing about Chan Gailey, reiterating that he regrets firing the coach after only two seasons. But the Cowboys won't show mercy on the Bills.
Calvin Watkins: This is Chan Gailey's chance to get revenge on Jerry Jones for firing him. It won't happen. Cowboys take control early in a beatdown.
Sunday, Nov. 20, noon -- Cowboys at Redskins (Fox)
Todd Archer: Alex Barron will not be on the field to wipe out a potential game-winning touchdown, but this will be an NFC East grinder that the Redskins pull out.
Tim MacMahon: The Cowboys won't have to worry about Alex Barron botching this game. It's never easy for the hated Cowboys at FedEx Field, but they'll find a way to win.
Calvin Watkins: The Cowboys remember how last season's road opener felt. Bad. The return trip doesn't change. Special teams lets Joe D down.
Thursday, Nov. 24, 3:15 p.m. -- Dolphins at Cowboys (CBS)
Todd Archer: The return of Tony Sparano, Jeff Ireland & Co. will come on a short week, which helps the Cowboys because the Dolphins showed last year they can win on the road. Oh, and Dez Bryant will want a big game here.
Tim MacMahon: Dez Bryant will be especially motivated for this Thanksgiving game due to Miami general manager Jeff Ireland's politically incorrect predraft interview. Bryant might even be on time to meetings this week.
Calvin Watkins: Tony Sparano is changing the offense to become more pass friendly. Brandon Marshall should have a nice game and lead his team to an upset victory.
Sunday, Dec. 4, 3:15 p.m. -- Cowboys at Cardinals (Fox)
Todd Archer: Strange things have happened in the Cowboys' last two trips to the desert -- and none of it good. This time they get a break with Dez Bryant's big plays and Jason Witten's touchdowns.
Tim MacMahon: What bizarre way will the Cowboys find to lose during this trip to the desert? They lost their last two games in Glendale because of a blocked punt and missed extra point.
Calvin Watkins: The last time Tony Romo played here, he suffered a broken pinkie. This time he breaks the hearts of the Cardinals.
Sunday, Dec. 11, 8:20 p.m. -- Giants at Cowboys (NBC)
Todd Archer: The Giants ruined the opener at Cowboys Stadium in 2009 and broke Tony Romo's collarbone in 2010. There's no way they can complete the trifecta in 2011, is there? Somebody cover Steve Smith.
Tim MacMahon: The Cowboys spend some extra time on blitz pickup with the Giants coming to town. The Giants improve to 3-0 at JerryWorld anyway.
Calvin Watkins: The teams split the season series last year, but that won't happen this season. Eli Manning takes charge of this game.
Saturday, Dec. 17, 7:20 p.m. -- Cowboys at Bucs (NFLN)
Todd Archer: What to make of the Bucs? They jumped up out of nowhere last year but face expectations this year. Josh Freeman is one of the QBs of the future and leads a late-game drive to win it.
Tim MacMahon: The Bucs have a bunch of blossoming young stars, but their weak link is their pass defense. Tony Romo will have a big day, as he did during his last visit to Raymond James Stadium.
Calvin Watkins: This is a different Buccaneers team. They have some youth, and they make the Cowboys look old.
Saturday, Dec. 24, 3:15 p.m. -- Eagles at Cowboys (Fox)
Todd Archer: DeSean Jackson went for 91 yards the last time these teams met. He won't do it again. Rob Ryan keeps Michael Vick in check for a big NFC East win.
Tim MacMahon: The Eagles' third-team running back resists the urge to request Tony Romo's autograph after the Cowboys win the game with a two-minute drill.
Calvin Watkins: A split of the season series is not out of the question. So Michael Vick gets knocked around, and the Cowboys' defense picks him off to win the rematch.
Sunday, Jan. 1, noon-- Cowboys at Giants (Fox)
Todd Archer: Bryan McCann to the rescue again? Not exactly, but the defense comes up with a score thanks to an Eli Manning interception as the Cowboys stretch their winning streak to two games at New Meadowlands Stadium vs. the Giants.
Tim MacMahon: Unlike his head coaching debut, this won't be a happy trip home for Jason Garrett. But at least all the players will follow the travel dress code.
Calvin Watkins: The lights won't go out in the new Meadowlands and the Giants' defense will smash the Cowboys.