What are the odds that the Cowboys will go 16 and 0 this season?  I say 50-50.  Either they will or they won't.  The NFL season is near, and with that comes some trash talkin' by arm-chair quarterbacks about which games they'll win and why. So let the not-so-expert analysis begin.

The Cowboys have two preseason games left, and they'll start the regular season September 9th against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.  The first home game will be September 16th against the NY Giants.

There's much to look forward to.  There are five prime-time games on the schedule this season because let's face it, national networks love the boys.  Dallas always brings in a wide audience and the stations do well with ratings, and the games are usually good NFC-rival matchups. But will they win 'em?

Come on, arm-chair quarterbacks.  Let's do this.

WEEK DATE OPPONENT TIME (Central time)

1 Sun, Sep 9 at Carolina 3:25 PM.  The Panthers have opened up on the road for the past five years, but the NFL finally let them have a home game to start the season.  They'll be amped up and linebacker Luke Kuechly will be in Dak Prescott's face a lot.  I think the Cowboys lay an egg here and start the season 0-1.  Final score:  Panthers 24, Cowboys 16.

2 Sun, Sep 16 NY Giants 7:20 PM.  Ezekiel Elliott will run all over the Giant's defense and score two touchdowns in this home opener.  There's plenty of buzz about the Giant's running back Saquon Barkley, but Zeke will be the story and the Cowboys win 31-20 to move to 1-1.

3 Sun, Sep 23 at Seattle 3:25 PM.  It's so loud in Seattle I don't know how the players can ever hear the "hut-HUT."  But the Cowboys have been there enough times that they have to be getting used to it by now, and they'll be practicing for that 12th man situation.  No problem.  Cowboys get the win with a lot of Dan Bailey action.  Final score:  Cowboys 26, Seahawks 24.  Cowboys are 2-1.

4 Sun, Sep 30 Detroit 12:00 PM.  Matthew Stafford grew up in Dallas and played high school football there, so it's a homecoming for him.  And we all know how all other players love to ruin homecomings.  Final score:  Cowboys 23, Lions 17 and the Cowboys get to 3-1.

5 Sun, Oct 7 at Houston 7:20 PM.  The Texans have Jadeveon Clowney on defense, and I'd be freaking out a little if I were Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott.  I wouldn't want Clowney terrorizing me the whole game, but then again Prescott and Elliott never seem to be terrorized by anything.  If the Cowboys can keep Deshaun Watson in check, they'll win to move to 4-1.  Final score:  Cowboys 31, Texans 24.

6 Sun, Oct 14 Jacksonville 3:25 PM.  The Jaguars' defensive secondary is anchored by ex-Cowboy Barry Church, and he'd love to beat the Cowboys on their home turf.  Jacksonville made the playoffs last year, and they are a sneaky pick to make it to the Super Bowl for the AFC this year.  Final score:  Jags 19, Cowboys 14 and Dallas is 4-2.

7 Sun, Oct 21 at Washington 3:25 PM.  With rookie running back Derrius Guice sidelined for the season with an injury, the wind is out of the sails for the Redskins.  The Cowboys are just better, and the only question will be whether the home-team Redskins force the Cowboys to wear the dark blue shirts instead of the go-to white ones.  Final score:  Cowboys 30, Redskins 21.  Cowboys move to 5-2.

8 BYE.  Bye weeks stink.  That is all.

9 Mon, Nov 5 Tennessee 7:15 PM.  The Titans made the playoffs last year so this may be a tough, pivotal game for the Cowboys as they get closer to the second half of the season.  It's a home game for the Cowboys and they'll be rested from the bye, and because of those things, they'll win it.  Final score:  Cowboys 23, Titans 12 and Dallas moves to 6-2.

10 Sun, Nov 11 at Philadelphia 7:20 PM.  They've got to play the Super Bowl champs twice within a month's time.  Ick.  Philly fans are nasty, the weather will probably be chilly and rainy, and the Eagles have a swagger and confidence now that makes them believe they've got the Cowboys' number.  Dallas drops this one in Philly.  Final score:  Eagles 38, Cowboys 28.  And the Cowboys are 6-3.

11 Sun, Nov 18 at Atlanta 12:00 PM.  Thanks, schedule makers, for the tough road stretch.  The last time these two teams met, the Falcons sacked Dak Prescott a total of eight times and it got ugly with Atlanta winning by 20.  This one will be much closer, and the Cowboys will right the ship with lots of film study.  Final score:  Cowboys 24, Falcons 21 and the Cowboys move to 7-3.

12 Thu, Nov 22 Washington 3:30 PM.  Cowboys never want to lose, but especially at home on Thanksgiving Day against the pesky Redskins.  The stadium will smell like Turducken, and the Cowboys will score a lot. Final score:  Cowboys 35, Redskins 17 and Dallas gets to 8-3.

13 Thu, Nov 29 New Orleans 7:20 PM.  A prime-time Thursday game that could have playoff implications.  By this time Drew Brees will be close to breaking some Peyton Manning passing records and the focus will be on the Saints' offense.  If Sean Lee can get in his face, the Cowboys will win to move to 9-3.  Final score:  Cowboys 19, Saints 17.

14 Sun, Dec 9 Philadelphia 3:25 PM.  Oh, those Eagles again.  This time the Cowboys will capitalize on Eagles' mistakes and get the win at home to avoid the season sweep.  Final score:  Cowboys 31, Eagles 24 and the Cowboys move to 10-3.

15 Sun, Dec 16 at Indianapolis 12:00 PM.  By this point, the Cowboys will have to win to keep pace with the Eagles in the NFC Playoff race, and this is one they won't want to drop.  Andrew Luck didn't play all of last year and it will be an up and down season for him.  This will be one of his down games.  Final score:  Cowboys 34, Colts 17.  Cowboys move to 11-3.

16 Sun, Dec 23 Tampa Bay 12:00 PM.  The Bucs haven't been great at stopping the pass so this might be a fun one for Dak Prescott.  And the Cowboys will need to keep winning for playoff seeding.  Final score:  Cowboys 24, Bucs 13 and the Cowboys are 12-3.

17 Sun, Dec 30 at NY Giants 12:00 PM.  The Giants love to play spoiler, so they'll bring the house for this one and throw everything they've got at the Cowboys.  New York will be out of the playoff picture, but Eli will come up with a 4-touchdown game and the Cowboys will go home with a record of 12-4 to wait for the playoffs.  Final score: Giants 31, Cowboys 23.

Your turn!  Can the Cowboys make it to 12-4, or do you have them at 4-12?  I'd love to know what you think.  Now back to researching chip and dip recipes...