2017 Dallas Cowboys game-by-game predictions

Riddick predicts a 9-7 Cowboys season (3:13)

Louis Riddick and Jerome Bettis analyze each game on the Cowboys schedule and don't foresee the 13-win success of 2016. (3:13)

The Dallas Cowboys will look to become the first team to repeat as NFC East champion since the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003-04, but they will need to overcome a tough close to the season in order to do it, with three games away from home in the final four weeks and the lone home game coming against the Seattle Seahawks.

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 10 vs. New York Giants, 8:30 p.m. ET

Dak Prescott lost both of his starts a year ago to the Giants and will be looking for some revenge. And he will get it, thanks to Ezekiel Elliott’s 128 yards rushing and two scores and a defense that picks off Eli Manning twice. Record: 1-0

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 17 at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET

This would have been a much bigger game had Tony Romo signed with the Broncos, but there will be some intrigue anyway. Remember, the Cowboys wanted to trade back into the first round last year to take Paxton Lynch. They ended up getting lucky with Prescott. But they won’t be lucky this day. Record: 1-1

Week 3: Monday, Sept. 25 at Arizona Cardinals, 8:30 p.m. ET

In their last three trips to University of Phoenix Stadium, the Cowboys have lost in overtime twice and once on a missed point-after attempt. Something strange will happen in this one as well, but this time it will lead to a win. Record: 2-1

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1 vs. Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m. ET

Elliott grew up in St. Louis, the former home of the Rams. Perhaps he remembers the 253-yard and 175-yard efforts DeMarco Murray had against the Rams in 2011 and ’13. Wade Phillips is the Rams’ defensive coordinator, so surely he won’t allow that to happen. Record: 3-1

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8 vs. Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m. ET

The talk leading into this game will be Dallas' divisional-round playoff loss to the Packers in January. The Cowboys feel like they let a playoff run slip away. Blame Aaron Rodgers and his third-and-long completion to Jared Cook. This time, the Cowboys make the late play to seal the win. Record: 4-1

Week 6: Bye

Week 7: Oct. 22 at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET

A year ago, the Cowboys were down 14-0 to the Niners after two series, but they left with a 24-17 win. Kyle Shanahan has taken over for Chip Kelly and has Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley as his quarterbacks at the moment. The San Francisco rebuild will take some time. Record: 5-1

Week 8: Oct. 29 at Washington Redskins, 4:25 p.m. ET

Elliott fumbled twice in his first game at FedEx Field and was replaced late in the fourth quarter. This time he doesn’t fumble and he gets more than 100 yards as the Cowboys roll to a victory. Record: 6-1

Week 9: Nov. 5 vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET

You have to think Romo, the franchise leader in touchdown passes and passing yards, will be calling this game for CBS. With a five-game winning streak, the Cowboys will feel confident, but the Chiefs are a tough out and will present tough matchups on both sides of the ball. Record: 6-2

Week 10: Nov. 12 at Atlanta Falcons, 4:25 p.m. ET

Cowboys fans had hoped to see the Falcons in the NFC title game last January. They have to settle for this game at brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Julio Jones is a matchup nightmare for any defense, and given the Cowboys' lack of a pass rush and the unknowns in the secondary, he will have a big day. Record: 6-3

Week 11: Nov. 19 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 8:30 p.m. ET

Prescott struggled in his one full game against the Eagles last year but figured it out in the fourth quarter and overtime to deliver the win. He won’t struggle this time, but former Eagle Nolan Carroll will make the clinching play. Record: 7-3

Week 12: Nov. 23 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 4:30 p.m. ET

Anthony Lynn was a Cowboys assistant coach under Bill Parcells. He has made quite a move up the ranks since his days coaching the running backs here. He earned the job as Chargers head coach the hard way. Unfortunately, the Celina, Texas, native won’t have a happy homecoming. Oh, Romo will be on hand for this one too. Record: 8-3

Week 13: Nov. 30 vs. Washington Redskins, 8:25 p.m. ET

The Cowboys have back-to-back Thursday games for the second straight year. It worked for them last year with two victories. Dez Bryant and Josh Norman get to reacquaint themselves. Remember the last time these teams met and Bryant said Washington needed to get its money back? Norman said essentially the same thing about Bryant in 2015 while with Carolina. As Terrell Owens used to say, "Get ya popcorn ready." Record: 9-3

Week 14: Dec. 10 at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Cowboys will get a 10-day break leading up to a pivotal NFC East matchup. They don’t fear playing at MetLife Stadium, but they have lost their last two games there. Make it three straight. The Giants' defense will be on point in the rematch. Record: 9-4

Week 15: Dec. 17 at Oakland Raiders, 7:30 p.m. ET

Maybe the Raiders’ fans will take out their displeasure with Jerry Jones when these teams meet in the preseason, but that’s doubtful. In what could be their last appearance in The Black Hole, the Cowboys won’t be able to slow down Derek Carr. Record: 9-5

Week 16: Dec. 24 vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. ET

This will be a must-win type game when you factor in tiebreakers. Prescott opened a lot of eyes with how he performed against the Seahawks in the preseason last season after Romo went down on the third play. He might like it if the Seahawks trade Richard Sherman. Record: 10-5

Week 17: Dec. 31 at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m. ET

Could the division title be on the line? The Cowboys have won six of their last seven games at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles added big-play receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to help Carson Wentz. At some point, Philly has to regain home-field advantage on Dallas. Record: 10-6