The Dallas Cowboys enter the season with Super Bowl expectations, but they also face a tough schedule and a cold December finish. Who knows if they end up in Super Bowl 50, but they will repeat as NFC East champions.
To get there, the Cowboys will win a win-and-in Week 17 matchup against the Washington Redskins.
And for comparison's sake, here's what the guess was in April.
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13 vs. New York Giants, 8:30 p.m.
Dez Bryant didn’t play in the preseason because of a hamstring strain, but he will make his presence felt early against the Giants. He has six touchdowns in his career vs. New York. He will make it eight after this one. Cowboys 31, Giants 23. Record: 1-0
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20 at Philadelphia Eagles, 4:25 p.m.
The Cowboys aren’t quite sure how they will share the carries between their top runners as they replace DeMarco Murray. The Eagles have a well-rounded running game but will use Murray’s emotions in this one to fly to a win. Eagles 33, Cowboys 27. Record: 1-1
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27 vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
Julio Jones might have more guaranteed money in his new deal than Bryant, but would anybody take Jones over Bryant? No chance. But the Cowboys display their commitment to the run here and dump Atlanta. Cowboys 24, Falcons 20. Record: 2-1
Week 4: Sunday Oct. 4 at New Orleans Saints, 8:30 p.m.
The last time the Cowboys visited the Superdome was a disaster. It was the most non-competitive game of the Jason Garrett Era. When these teams met at AT&T Stadium last season, the Cowboys were dominant on the ground and exposed Rob Ryan's defense. There's no reason to think they won't do it again. Joseph Randle will have more than 100 yards. Cowboys 32, Saints 22. Record: 3-1
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11 vs. New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m.
Tom Brady will be on the field, which is not a good thing for the Cowboys. While the Cowboys will be welcoming back Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain from four-game suspensions, you can't expect them to be at top speed right off the bat, which is a good thing for Brady. The last time the Cowboys saw Brady, he directed a late drive to pull off a win at Gillette Stadium. He'll do the same in this game. Patriots 27, Cowboys 24. Record: 3-2
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25 at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m.
Remember when the Giants owned AT&T Stadium? The Cowboys own MetLife Stadium with their fourth straight win in the Meadowlands. Brandon Carr gains some revenge on Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning with a pick. Cowboys 24, Giants 21. Record: 4-2
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1 vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m.
The Cowboys surprisingly won at Seattle last year but they can’t keep the momentum going in this one. Marshawn Lynch is just here so he doesn’t get fined and he has a big day on the ground. Seahawks 24, Cowboys 20. Record: 4-3
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 8:25 p.m.
Murray’s return to Arlington will not go so well. Will Sam Bradford make it this deep in the season? The Cowboys defense will be much better in the rematch for Chip Kelly’s scheme and the offense does just enough to stay above .500 at the midway point. Cowboys 30, Eagles 20. Record: 5-3
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22 at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
The second trip to Florida in as many weeks doesn’t go as well for the Cowboys. Ndamukong Suh was in tears when he lost to the Cowboys last January. This time he makes the Cowboys cry with a dominating performance and Ryan Tannehill does just enough. Dolphins 24, Cowboys 22. Record: 6-4
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 26 vs. Carolina Panthers, 4:25 p.m.
Do you think Greg Hardy will be looking forward to this game? He finally gets to hit Cam Newton for real. Last year Tony Romo did not play well in the quick Thanksgiving turnaround. He learned his lessons from a year ago and has a big game. Cowboys 33, Panthers 20. Record: 7-4
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 7 at Washington Redskins, 8:30 p.m.
The good news is they have a decent break to get ready. The better news is that Washington is a mess. But this game will always be difficult. I called Dan Bailey at the gun in April, and I’ll stick with that one here. Cowboys 20, Redskins 17. Record: 8-4
Week 14: Dec. 13 at Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
The Packers will be able to handle the loss of Jordy Nelson just fine and Aaron Rodgers will put up big numbers. There will be no controversial Dez Bryant non-catch for this one. Just a cold day loss at Lambeau Field. Packers 29, Cowboys 21. Record: 8-5
Week 15: Dec. 19 vs. New York Jets, 8:25 p.m.
Darrelle Revis vs. Dez Bryant will be a great matchup. Bryant is a different receiver than the one Revis faced in 2011. Tony Romo is a different quarterback. Former Cowboys assistant Todd Bowles had the Cowboys guessing last year when he was in Arizona but that was with Brandon Weeden starting. Cowboys 27, Jets 19. Record: 9-5
Week 16: Dec. 27 at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
This is a tricky game to call. Rex Ryan has many people viewing the Bills as a sleeper team in the AFC. Can Tyrod Taylor really be the guy? We know the defense will be solid. And we know it will be cold. Buffalo gains some revenge for its Super Bowl losses. Bills 20, Cowboys 14. Record: 9-6
Week 17: Jan. 3 vs. Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.
The Cowboys will need to win to win the NFC East for the second straight year. The Redskins will be playing out the string and looking not to get hurt. Tony Romo directs the win with a big day from Jason Witten and the defense looks stout. Cowboys 31, Redskins 17. Record: 10-6