Full Cowboys schedule, game-by-game predictions for 2023 season: Opponent breakdowns, prime-time games, more

Full Cowboys schedule, game-by-game predictions for 2023 season: Opponent breakdowns, prime-time games, more
Full Cowboys schedule, game-by-game predictions for 2023 season: Opponent breakdowns, prime-time games, more

The good news for the Dallas Cowboys under head coach Mike McCarthy is that they have been winning in the regular season like it's the 1990s again: consecutive seasons with 12 victories in 2021 (12-5) and 2022 (12-5), with quarterback Dak Prescott playing 12 or more games each season. The last two seasons mark the first consecutive Dallas seasons with 12 or more wins since the 1992-1995 seasons, when the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four years with Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin leading the way. 

The bad news for the Silver and Blue is they've also been consistent in the playoffs the last two seasons, losing each time to the San Francisco 49ers -- in the NFC wild-card round in 2021 and in the NFC divisional round in 2022. That has extended their NFL record streak of consecutive playoff appearances without a conference championship game to 12 in a row. 

However, owner Jerry Jones began made some smart moves this offseason, trading late-round picks for quality veterans that can plug key roster roles. He did so in the deals to acquire wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Both are already making an impact on their new Cowboys teammates in their roles as the team's number two receiver and number two cornerback. These moves were made on top of retaining just about all of their key defensive players from a unit that allowed the fifth-fewest points (20.1 points per game) in the NFL in 2022. 

Then, Dallas had a safe, down the fairway 2023 NFL Draft by filling in remaining needs at defensive tackle, tight end, linebacker, defensive end and running back. While their pick of Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith wasn't the greatest value add at that spot, it's a selection that should aide two-time First-Team All-Pro Micah Parsons' full-embrace of the defensive end position in the upcoming season. Their biggest value picks -- third-round Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, fourth-round San Jose State defensive end Viliami Fehoko Jr., and sixth-round Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn -- could all contribute as nice depth pieces in 2023 and factor into the Cowboys' longer-term plans in a bigger capacity down the line. 

Now, Dallas enters the 2023 regular season with a much-improved roster than the one they had at this time a year ago. With that in mind, here's a look at their official, 18-week schedule, followed by an examination of how their season could turn out.

Cowboys 2023 Schedule


at Giants

8:20 p.m./7:20 p.m.



vs Jets

4:25 p.m./3:25 p.m.



at Cardinals

4:25 p.m./3:25 p.m. 



vs Patriots

4:25 p.m./3:25 p.m.  



at 49ers

8:20 p.m./7:20 p.m.  



at Chargers*

8:15 p.m./7:15 p.m.  







vs Rams

1 p.m./Noon



at Eagles

4:25 p.m./3:25 p.m.



vs Giants

4:25 p.m./3:25 p.m.  



at Panthers

1 p.m./Noon  



vs Commanders***

4:30 p.m./3:30 p.m.



vs Seahawks**

8:15 p.m./7:15 p.m.

Prime Video


vs Eagles

8:20 p.m./7:20 p.m.  



at Bills

4:25 p.m./3:25 p.m.   



at Dolphins

4:25 p.m./3:25 p.m.     



vs Lions****

8:15 p.m./7:15 p.m.  



at Commanders



* Monday Night Football
** Thursday Night Football
*** Thanksgiving
**** Saturday

17 notable schedule observations

The Cowboys have a chance to start the season off 3-1 or 4-0 given three of their first four games are against teams they should handle easily: the Giants, Cardinals, and Patriots. Their Week 7 bye is in a nice spot, giving them a breather after consecutive road games on the West Coast against 2022 playoff teams. After the bye, the degree of difficulty shoots upward. Below are the top-17 most notable items you'll need to takeaway from Dallas' 17 games.

Notes on travel, rest and kickoff times Bye: Week 7 6 prime-time games (T-most in NFL with Chargers, Chiefs, and Bills) Only two games played in first time slot on Sundays (1 p.m. ET) Two Thursday games, including Thanksgiving (back-to-back in Weeks 12 & 13) 3 mini-bye weeks (post-Thanksgiving, post-Week 5, post-Week 17) 4 road games in first six games prior to Week 7 bye 5 home games in first seven games after Week 7 bye 3 road games in final four contests to end regular season No 3-game road trips Back-to-back California road games in Weeks 5-6  Significant climate shock in Weeks 15-16 (at Bills then at Dolphins) Cowboys' opponent notables Matchups with both New York teams to start the season Matchups with all three NFC East rivals in first six weeks Back-to-back contests against last two NFC Champions after bye week NFC East showdown vs. Commanders on Thanksgiving 4-game stretch vs 2022 playoff teams after Thanksgiving Regular season finale vs. NFC East rival  Toughest stretch: Weeks 13-17

Their five-game stretch, four of which are against 2022 playoff teams, after a home date on Thanksgiving against the Washington Commanders will make or break the Cowboys' opportunity to win the NFC East. They have a full week off before playing again on a Thursday against the young, rapidly improving Seattle Seahawks, a playoff team a year ago. Dallas follows up that home contest with their final matchup against the NFC Champion Eagles in Week 14 on "Sunday Night Football." The next two are both road games against the top two AFC East teams from a year ago: the division champion Buffalo Bills and the track team that is the Miami Dolphins. 

After two games in completely different climates, the roller coaster ride ends in Week 17 on a short week: a Saturday night home game against the offseason darling Lions, a team that only missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker a season ago. It's crucial the Silver and Blue start strong in their first eight games, seven of which are before their Week 7 bye because the back half of their slate is absolutely stacked.  

Combined records of 2023 Cowboys opponents 

The Cowboys' 2023 opponents have a combined record of 156-128-4, a win percentage of .549. That gives Dallas a strength of schedule that is tied for the fourth-most difficult in the upcoming season along with the New York Giants, as our John Breech broke down here. Only the Philadelphia Eagles (opponents' combined record of 161-123-4, .566 win pct), the Miami Dolphins (opponents' combined record of 158-127-2, .554 win pct), and New England Patriots (opponents' combined record of 156-128-3, .549 win pct) have tougher roads ahead in 2023. 




The NFC East sent three teams to the playoffs last season with the Commanders barely missing the postseason by a game plus tiebreakers, finishing as the NFC's ninth seed. Offensively, they should be improved with former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy calling plays as their new OC and associate head coach. Dallas' non-divisional schedule is formidable, facing the NFC West and AFC East divisions. That means matchups with 2022 playoff teams like the 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Los Angeles Chargers

That's on top of facing an additional crop of teams noticeably more potent in 2023 than they were in 2022: the New York Jets -- now the home of Dallas Cowboys' bogeyman Aaron Rodgers --, the New England Patriots -- who now have a coach with NFL OC experience calling plays in Bill O'Brien -- and the Carolina Panthers -- equipped with a much stronger coaching staff and roster as Frank Reich and Bryce Young lead the charge. The Detroit Lions could be more frisky in 2023 as they were in 2022. Their NFC opponents' record is deceptive because two teams, the 5-12 Rams and the 4-13 Cardinals, are dragging that number down. The Rams should be a much more competitive group with simply better health in 2023. 

Per usual, the Cowboys will need to continue stacking up a number of wins inside the NFC East to buttress their record against one of the tougher non-division schedules in the entire league. NFC games against the NFC West and the Lions will be equally critical since that group of five teams possesses multiple franchises Dallas could be neck-and-neck with in the conference standings. Head-to-head matchups are the first tiebreaker the league uses for playoff seeding. Given that the Silver and Blue are much better in 2023, they have all the ingredients to start the season strong. 

Here are the breakdowns for each game, including score predictions:

Weeks 1 and 10: New York Giants

First meeting: Week 1 (MetLife Stadium) - Sunday, Sept. 10, 8:20 p.m ET
Second meeting: Week 10 (AT&T Stadium) - Sunday, Nov. 12, 4:25 p.m. ET
2022 record: 9-7-1 (Lost in NFC Divisional Round at Philadelphia Eagles)
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): Cowboys lead 5-1

The New York Giants have done a solid job of addressing some of their biggest offensive holes: playmaking and the middle of their offensive line. Trading for Pro Bowl tight Darren Waller and drafting 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner, college football's best wide receiver, in Tennessee's Jalin Hyatt provides a much-needed boost to Daniel Jones' pass-catching unit. Coming away with one of the draft's top centers in Minnesota's John Michael Schmitz was a huge win as well. Defensively, they're similarly improved with the signing of linebacker Bobby Okereke and selection of first-round cornerback Deonte Banks out of Maryland. 

These upgrades will make the Cowboys-Giants matchups in 2023 similarly competitive like they were in 2022, but once again, the Cowboys will earn a season sweep. Dallas is 5-1 against New York since hiring head coach Mike McCarthy with the lone loss coming in a game started by Andy Dalton during the 2020 season when quarterback Dak Prescott was injured. Speaking of Prescott, when he sees the big NY on those blue helmets, he ascends to another level like Aaron Rodgers did against the Chicago Bears for over a decade. The Dallas starting quarterback has won his last 10 starts against the Giants, putting him in a club with Captain Comeback himself, Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, as the only quarterbacks since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to win 10 consecutive starts against the G-Men. Defensively, the Dallas has more than enough speed to keep Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley in front of them, plus much-improved secondary with the addition of Gilmore to keep their aerial attack in check as well. 

Dak Prescott last 10 starts vs. Giants



Pass YPG




Passer Rating


* Prescott and Roger Staubach are only QBs since 1970 NFL-AFL merger to win 10 consecutive starts vs Giants

The Cowboys run Prescott's streak to 12 in 2023 with their revamped roster, including Cooks as a safety value opposite CeeDee Lamb. That would break Staubach's record of 11 straight wins against the Giants from 1974-1979. 

Week 1 prediction: 24-20, Cowboys 
Week 10 prediction: 42-24, Cowboys  

Week 2: vs New York Jets

Date & Time: Week 2 (AT&T Stadium) - Sunday, Sept. 17, 4:25 p.m. ET
2022 record: 7-10
Aaron Rodgers career W-L vs Cowboys: 8-2 (Won 31-28 vs Cowboys in OT in Week 10 last season)

In case you weren't aware, Dallas Cowboys' bogeyman Aaron Rodgers is now the quarterback of the New York Jets. His move from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets creates another matchup between the four-time NFL MVP and the Cowboys that wouldn't have happened in 2023 were he still a Packer. Instead, the Silver and Blue get to face a quarterback who has won eight of his 10 starts against the franchise while throwing 18 touchdowns to only two interceptions in those games. It will be a significant early-season test for Dan Quinn's defense, going from facing Daniel Jones in Week 1 to Rodgers in Week 2. He led the Packers to a31-28 overtime victory in 2022, after trailing 28-14 entering the fourth quarter, with a broken thumb on his throwing hand. Rodgers completed 14 of his 20 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. 

Aaron Rodgers career vs. Cowboys, including playoffs



Pass YPG




Passer Rating 


The Jets were a quarterback away from making noise in 2022 thanks to their top-five scoring defense (18.6 points per game allowed, fourth-best in NFL) and young playmakers (2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall), so as long as New York's offensive line can keep Rodgers in good enough health entering this contest, they have a great chance of ruining another Cowboys' Sunday.

Week 2 prediction: 34-28, Jets    

Week 3: at Arizona Cardinals

Date & Time: Week 3 (State Farm Stadium) - Sunday, Sept. 24, 4:25 p.m ET
2022 record: 5-12
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): Tied 1-1

The Arizona Cardinals are rebuilding. They fired general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury and brought in new general manager Monti Ossenfort from the Tennessee Titans and new head coach Jonathan Gannon from the Philadelphia Eagles. Their defense allowed the second-most points per game in the entire league (26.4), and they might have one of the worst front seven's in the NFL. That's on top of their defensive leader, safety Budda Bakerdemanding a trade in the event Arizona doesn't make him the highest-paid at his position. 

Offensively, face of the franchise quarterback Kyler Murray tore his ACL and meniscus in the first season after signing a five-year, $230.5 million extension in 2022. Thanks to those injuries, it's unlikely he is ready to go at the start of the 2023 season. That means the Cowboys could be facing soon-to-be 37-year-old Colt McCoy or 2023 fifth-round pick quarterback Clayton Tune. If that's the case, expect Parsons, Diggs, Lawrence, and Gilmore to stuff the stat sheet in a Dallas blowout. 

Week 3 prediction: 45-17, Cowboys 

Week 4: vs New England Patriots

Date & Time: Week 4 (AT&T Stadium) - Sunday, Oct. 1, 4:25 p.m. ET
2022 record: 9-8 (Lost in NFC Wild Card Round 41-23 at San Francisco 49ers)
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): Cowboys defeated Patriots 35-29 (OT) in Week 6, 2021

The New England Patriots wasted a year of 2021 first-round pick quarterback Mac Jones' development in 2022 after saddling him with longtime defensive coach Matt Patricia as his offensive play-caller. Those dark days are now over in New England after head coach Bill Belichick brought back Bill O'Brien for a second stint as the Patriots offensive coordinator after he spent time away as the Penn State head coach (2012-2013), the Houston Texans head coach (2014-2020), and as the Alabama offensive coordinator (2021-2022). However, there are still plenty of questions as to what Jones will look like in Year 3 in the NFL given his up-and-down 2022 and swapping his favorite target, wide receiver Jakobi Myers, for JuJu Smith-Schuster

Defensively, the Pats should hover around the top ten in scoring in 2023 like they did in 2022 (20.4 points per game allowed, 11th in NFL) thanks to Belichick going defense with the team's first three picks in the most recent draft: Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez 17th overall (arguably the cornerback prospect with the highest ceiling in the 2023 NFL Draft), Georgia Tech edge rusher Keion White 46th overall, and Sacramento State linebacker Marte Mapu (76th overall). 

Belichick's defense should test Prescott's decision-making, but the Cowboys have too much firepower for Jones to keep up. Dallas wins by multiple scores, a departure from their overtime battle in New England two years ago that created one of the most memorable moments of CeeDee Lamb's career: his wave goodbye to Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills after scoring the game-winning, 35-yard score in overtime. 

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Week 4 prediction: 35-17, Cowboys          

Week 5: at San Francisco 49ers

Date & Time: Week 5 (Levi's Stadium) - Sunday, Oct. 8, 8:20 p.m. ET
2022 record: 13-4 (Lost in NFC Championship Game 31-7 at Philadelphia Eagles)
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): 1-2 (both losses have come in the postseason in 2021 and 2022)

Despite the quarterback uncertainty after Brock Purdy's elbow injury in the San Francisco 49ers' season-ending, 31-7 NFC Championship Game defeat, they still boast one of the NFL's most complete rosters. They could probably sign a random fan the week before a game and have that person play quarterback well enough to escape with a win. Having a cast of playmakers like wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, tight end George Kittle, and running backs Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell with head coach Kyle Shanahan calling plays allows for whoever their quarterback is to press buttons like they're playing Madden in order to string together successful plays with ease. 

Defensively, they not only return nearly of their starters from the NFL's top defense of 2022, but they strengthened their defensive tackle spot, their biggest weakness, in free agency after signing former Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowler Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million contract. 

49ers defense in 2022 regular season

NFL Rank

PPG Allowed



Total YPG Allowed






* 49ers' best since 2011

When Hargrave lined up in the defensive tackle spot on the Eagles' defensive line in 2022, he registered 9.0 sacks (tied for the most in the NFL at the position) and totaled the highest quarterback pressure percentage (14%) , also the most in the league at that spot. San Francisco had dreadful production out of their defensive tackle position when rushing the passer, tying for the fewest sacks (1.0). They also ranked 11th in pressure rate (7%). Putting Hargrave next to 2022 Defensive Player of the Year and 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, whose 18.5 sacks led the NFL and whose 90 quarterback pressures co-led the NFL along with Micah Parsons, will give opposing quarterbacks nightmares all season long. 

In the Cowboys' second consecutive playoff loss to the 49ers, one of the primary reasons for their defeat was Prescott forcing too many passes to Lamb since Dallas lacked a viable number two option. With Brandin Cooks now onboard, his presence should erase the issue. As long as the Cowboys' offensive line can hold up against Bosa, Hargrave, and Arik Armstead, Dallas can leave Levi's Stadium with smiles on their faces. 

Week 5 prediction: 23-16, Cowboys  

Week 6: at Los Angeles Chargers

Date & Time: Week 6 (SoFi Stadium) - Monday, Oct. 16, 8:15 p.m ET
2022 record: 10-7 (Lost AFC Wild Card Round 31-30 at Jacksonville Jaguars)
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): 1-0 (Cowboys defeated the Chargers 20-17 in Week 2 of the 2021 season)

It's the Kellen Moore revenge game! After four years of Moore running the Cowboys offense, three under head coach Mike McCarthy, the head coach's desire to call plays again like he did with the Green Bay Packers led to Moore's departure. He wasn't unemployed for long as Chargers head coach Brandon Staley quickly handed Moore the keys to the Chargers offense soon thereafter. Moore paired with quarterback Justin Herbert, who has the most passing yards (14,089) through a player's first three seasons in NFL history and the second-most passing touchdowns (94) through a player's first three seasons in NFL history, will likely lead to many more fireworks at SoFi Stadium. 

Los Angeles ranked 13th in scoring offense (23.0 points per game) in 2022 despite having Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler -- the NFL's scrimmage touchdowns leader in each of the last two seasons -- and an outstanding wide receiver duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. That duo has since become a trio with  2023 first-round pick Quentin Johnston (21st overall) out of TCU now onboard. In Moore's four seasons (2019-2022) calling plays for the Cowboys, Dallas ranked second in scoring offense (27.7 points per game) and total offense (391.0 total yards per game) behind only the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs (28.8 points per game and 401.5 total yards per game). Herbert has one of the NFL's strongest arms, and his right arm will test the Cowboys secondary's depth all game long. 

If the Chargers enter this game healthy along their offensive line, a huge IF given their injury woes the last couple of seasons, they hang on and hold serve at home in one of the more exciting games of the 2023 regular season. 

Week 6 prediction: 38-34, Chargers

Week 8: vs Los Angeles Rams

Date & Time: Week 8 (AT&T Stadium) - Sunday, Oct. 29, 1:00 p.m ET
2022 record: 5-12
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): Tied 1-1

The Los Angeles Rams are in a similar spot in 2023 that they were in 2022: top-heavy with stars like wide receiver Cooper Kupp -- the 2021 NFL Offensive Player and Super Bowl LVI --, defensive lineman Aaron Donald -- a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year -- and quarterback Matthew Stafford, whose 52,082 career passing yards are the 11th-most all-time. What's different is they're now without Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey, after flipping him across the country to the Miami Dolphins, and 2022 free-agent prize wide receiver Allen Robinson, following their move to trade him to the Pittsburgh Steelers, this offseason. 

With no first-round pick once again and minimal cap space, the Rams only roster improvement tool was the 2023 NFL Draft, starting in Round 2. They came away with two Week 1 starters in rounds two and three respectively: TCU consensus All-American offensive lineman Steve Avila and Tennessee All-SEC outside linebacker Byron Young. As long as Cowboys cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Stephon Gilmore can limit Cooper Kupp's production, Dallas should waltz to victory in 2023 like running back Tony Pollard did on his 57-yard touchdown run in their 22-10 Week 5 victory at SoFi Stadium in 2022.  

Week 8 prediction: 27-13, Cowboys   

Weeks 9 and 14: Philadelphia Eagles

First meeting: Week 9 (Lincoln Financial Field) - Sunday, Nov. 5, 4:25 p.m ET
Second meeting (Christmas Eve): Week 14 (AT&T Stadium) - Sunday, Dec. 10, 8:20 p.m. ET
2022 record: 14-3 (Lost Super Bowl LVII vs Kansas City Chiefs)
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): Cowboys lead 4-2

The Philadelphia Eagles have the most complete roster in football, rich in depth up and down the roster like Scrooge McDuck is with money.

They lost Pro Bowl defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to the NFC runner-up San Francisco 49ers on a four-year, $84 million contract, but general manager Howie Roseman maneuvered his way up one spot from the 10th overall to ninth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, by sending a 2024 fourth-rounder to the Chicago Bears, to select Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, who was once the draft's highest-touted prospect prior to legal issues. The rest of the Eagles' starters from a unit that led the NFL in sacks (70) have otherwise all returned. Philadelphia's offensive line is similarly buttressed with 2022 second round pick Cam Jurgens sliding into the right guard spot vacated by Isaac Seumalo's departure to the Pittsburgh Steelers

Since the Eagles still possess one of the NFL's best lines on each side of the ball, they're still in position to dominate their opposition. MVP runner-up quarterback Jalen Hurts' contract situation being resolved early locks the Eagles into a position of stability offensively that should allow their passing game to continue to make strides to catch up to their dominant ground game -- now led by trade acquisition D'Andre Swift and former first-round running back Rashaad Penny --  in 2023, Hurts' third season as a full-time starting quarterback. 

The Cowboys and Eagles split their 2022 season matchups with each team winning at home with the losing team utilizing a back-up quarterback in both games. Even if Dak Prescott and Hurts are both present for each game in this heated rivalry next season, expect a season split once again. Each of these teams have two of the better rosters in the entire league. 

Week 9 prediction: 31-27, Eagles    
Week 14 prediction: 24-20, Cowboys

Week 11: at Carolina Panthers

Date & Time: Week 11 (Bank of America Stadium) - Sunday, Nov. 19, 1:00 p.m ET
2022 record: 7-10 
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): 1-0 (Cowboys defeated the Panthers 36-28 in Week 4 of the 2021 season)

The Carolina Panthers finally halted their veteran stop-gap carousel at the quarterback position in 2023 by trading up to select 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young first overall. They did a nice job surrounding him with decent offensive talent this offseason with the signings of receivers Adam Thielen and DJ Chark, tight end Hayden Hurst, and Pro Bowl running back Miles Sanders. The second round draft selection of Ole Miss wideout Jonathan Mingo was a nice grab as he was one of the more athletically gifted receivers in the entire 2023 NFL Draft.

Defensively, it's much of the same plus the signing of strong safety Vonn Bell. Carolina could be a team on the rise in a couple years, but with Young being put in development behind veteran quarterback Andy Dalton for now, the Cowboys shouldn't have much of a problem steamrolling them in 2023. 

Week 11 prediction: 31-13, Cowboys  

Weeks 12 and 18: Washington Commanders

First meeting: Week 12  (AT&T Stadium) - Thursday, Nov. 23, 4:30 p.m ET (Thanksgiving)
Second meeting: Week 18 (FedExField) - Sunday, TBD. TBD, Time TBD
2022 record: 8-8-1
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): Tied 3-3

The Washington Commanders are a team in which much has changed and much has remained the same. The changes are a re-tooled secondary for a team that had a top ten defense as year ago (20.2 points per game allowed, seventh-best in NFL). Washington utilized their first two picks in the 2023 Draft on a couple of cornerbacks: Mississippi State's Emmanuel Forbes (16th overall, six interception return touchdowns are the most in FBS history) and Illinois' Jartavius Martin (47th overall). Those two along with holdover Kendall Fuller should make the Commanders secondary that allowed 60 passing touchdowns across the last two seasons, tied for the most in the NFL, more intimidating, whenever the two rookies get fully adjusted to life in the NFL. The further away from a torn ACL the 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and former second overall draft pick defensive end Chase Young gets, the better he should play in 2023. Young will likely play with his hair on fire especially since he's entering a contract year after having his fifth-year option declined. 

The Commanders' offensive side of the ball is largely unchanged except for the quarterback position, which will feature 30-year-old journeyman Jacoby Brissett, who registered a career-high 88.9 passer rating with the Browns in 2022, or 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell. His one career game was Week 18 of last season against the Cowboys when they had their playoff seeding already locked in. He played well enough in a 26-6 victory that his defense put on lock, completing 11 of his 19 passes for 169 yards with a passing touchdown, an interception plus a nine-yard rushing score.  

Their defense is a worthy challenger to almost every offense in the league, but Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Dorrance Armstrong should be able to wreak havoc on whichever quarterback Washington puts out onto the field with a strong cornerback duo of Trevon Diggs and Stephon Gilmore backing them up against Pro Bowl receiver Terry McLaurin and company. 

Week 12 prediction: 35-14, Cowboys 
Week 18 prediction: 23-13, Cowboys  

Week 13: vs Seattle Seahawks

Date & Time: Week 13 (AT&T Stadium) - Thursday, Nov. 30, 8:15 p.m. ET
2022 record: 9-8 (Lost in NFC Wild Card Round 41-23 at San Francisco 49ers)
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): Seahawks defeated Cowboys 38-31 in Week 3, 2020

The 2022 Seattle Seahawks were like finding a crumpled $20 in your jeans pocket after taking them out of the washing machine -- a pleasant surprise.   

After trading Russell Wilson, once their longtime face-of-the-franchise quarterback, to the Denver Broncos in exchange for three players (QB Drew Lock, TE Noah Fant and DL Shelby Harris) along with five draft picks (two firsts, two seconds and one fifth), it appeared as if the team was punting on the 2022 season. However, with Wilson's former backup, Geno Smith, outplaying Seattle's only Super Bowl champion quarterback in Year 1 of the divorce, Seattle snuck into the seventh and final NFC playoff spot at 9-8, becoming one of only two teams this season to reach the playoffs and have multiple first-round picks, joining the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles

With Wilson and now-former Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett not jelling, Smith had an incredibly low bar to clear in order to outplay his predecessor last season. However, he did more than just outplay him: Smith played at a top-10 quarterback level to earn the first Pro Bowl selection of his nine-year career at 32 years old. Simply an unfathomable outcome at this time one year ago. The longtime backup led the NFL in completion percentage (69.8%), set the Seahawks' single-season passing yards record (4,282) and ranked in the top five in the entire league in both passing touchdowns and passer rating. While initially viewed as a stopgap, Smith earned himself a big-money deal: three years for a total of $75 million. 

Geno Smith in 2022 season


Comp Pct



Pass Yards



Pass TD



Passer Rating



* Seahawks' single-season record

Their incredibly successful youth movement was also a huge reason for their success as Seahawks rookies combined to start 70 games this season, tied for the most by any playoff team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, tying the 2018 Indianapolis Colts.

Seattle had the rookie leader in starts, snaps played, rushing yards, forced fumbles and interceptions in 2022, meaning general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll can take a victory lap as they evaluate how well they cleaned up in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Seahawks' top six picks in 2022 NFL Draft

*Led or co-led all rookies in 2022

Their 2023 NFL Draft continued to fill in a number of critical positions of need up and down the roster with two first-round picks after reaching the playoffs. Seattle came away with Illinois All-American cornerback Devon Witherspoon fifth overall, who allowed the fewest yards/pass attempt allowed (3.0) as the primary defender in 2022, minimum 50 targets, and Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who set the college football bowl game receiving yards record with 347 against Utah in the 2021 Rose Bowl.

The Seahawks spent the rest of the draft filling out their lines on both offense and defense with the exception of taking UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet in Round 2 (52nd overall), Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh in Round 7, and safety Jerrick Reed in Round 6 (198th overall). Seattle will likely be one of 2023's most improved teams just as they were one of 2022's most improved teams. Their trio at receiver of Pro Bowlers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett plus Smith-Njigba, and their punishing ground game led by Kenneth Walker could give Dallas some trouble. With three potent cornerbacks in Witherspoon, Coby Bryant, and Tariq Woolen, the Seahawks can match their personnel effectively with the Cowboys wide receiver group of 2022 Second-Team All-Pro CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, and Michael Gallup

If Smith picks up right where he left off in 2022, the Cowboys could be susceptible to a home upset. 

Week 13 prediction: 24-21, Seahawks   

Week 15: at Buffalo Bills 

Date & Time: Week 15 (Highmark Stadium) - Sunday, Dec. 17, 4:25 p.m. ET
2022 record: 13-3 (Lost in AFC Divisional Round 27-10 vs Cincinnati Bengals)
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): 0-0 (first matchup since Thanksgiving 2019 when the Bills won 26-15 in Arlington, Texas)

The Buffalo Bills have been one of the NFL's most dominant teams across the last three regular seasons, leading the league in points per game (29.4) and points allowed per game (19.4) in that span. However, they have come up short in the postseason, losing to the two teams to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl across the last three years: the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Quarterback Josh Allen once again had a phenomenal season in 2022, ranking second in the entire league to only MVP Patrick Mahomes in total yards (5,045) and total touchdowns (42). The issue was he also led the league in turnovers with 19, 14 interceptions (tied for the third-most in the NFL) and five fumbles lost (tied for the second-most in the NFL). With Allen becoming erratic as Buffalo asked him to be their number two running back -- his 124 carries and 762 rushing yards were the second-most on the team while his seven rushing scores led the Bills -- behind James Cook, general manager Brandon Beane prioritized making his life easier in the 2023 NFL Draft. Buffalo selected the draft's top pass-catching tight end, Utah's Dalton Kincaid, 25th overall, and one of the draft's top offensive guards, Florida's O'Cyrus Torrence 59th overall (Round 2), with their first two picks.

Providing Allen with another weapon in the passing game plus better blocking up front should reduce his giveaways. Defensively, it's much of the same for 2022's number two scoring defense (17.9 points per game allowed) with the hope that 34-year-old All-Pro linebacker Von Miller can bounce back from a torn ACL to give their pass rush the boost they hoped for when they gave him a six-year, $120 million contract in free agency last offseason. The Cowboys facing off against one of the NFL's best on the road will be a tough task, and there's no shame in coming a play or two short while losing on a game-winning field goal. 

Week 15 prediction: 27-24, Bills 

Week 16: at Miami Dolphins

Date & Time: Week 16 (Hard Rock Stadium) - Sunday, Dec. 24, 4:25 p.m ET
2022 record: 9-8 (Lost in AFC Wild Card Round 34-31 at Buffalo Bills)
Series Record Since 2020 (when Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy): 0-0 (first matchup since Week 3, 2019 when the Cowboys won 31-6 with Josh Rosen starting for Miami)

How scary the Miami Dolphins are comes down to one simple question: Will quarterback Tua Tagovailoa be healthy? When he did play in head coach Mike McDaniel's offense in the 2022 regular season, the Dolphins averaged 6.5 yards per play, the highest by any starting quarterback's offense among passers with at least 10 starts. The team lost three of its four games without Tagovailoa while he was dealing with concussions. 

Dolphins by starting QB in 2022 regular season










* Highest by any starting QB last season (min. 10 starts)

Tagovailoa has been learning judo this offseason in order to learn how to fall more safely to avoid concussions, but it's hard to know at this point how much of a difference the training will make for his 17-game availability. Outside of Tagovailoa, the offense is once again loaded with the same speedy cast of characters: 2022 First-Team All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, running back Raheem Mostert, and running back Jeff Wilson Jr. The team also added the electric Texas A&M running back and returner Devon Achane in Round 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft, giving McDaniel plenty of options to wreak havoc with gamebreakers all over the field.

Defensively, the Dolphins should be much improved after ranking 24th in scoring defense (23.5 points per game) in 2022 thanks to the additions of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Fangio's defenses have ranked inside the top 10 in scoring in four of his last five seasons calling defensive plays. As for Ramsey, despite the Rams' struggles in 2022, it wasn't because of him. He was Pro Football Focus' third-highest graded cornerback last season with a grade of 86.4, trailing only 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie Year of the Year and New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner (87.9) as well as Denver Broncos 2022 First-Team All-Pro cornerback Pat Surtain II (86.8). Pairing him with Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard and their promising, 23-year-old safety Jevon Holland gives Miami one of the best defensive backfields in the entire NFL.

With a much improved defense and a healthy Tagovailoa,

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