In a typical offseason, I’d release my annual NFL record projections right before training camps begin. But these pandemic-driven times are anything but typical … so, with the league’s schedule now unveiled, I figured why wait given none of the 32 teams is likely to change appreciably between now and whenever camps open. If they open. And if COVID-19 forces the NFL to contract the 2020 campaign into a 12-game schedule or some such, then I’ll tackle this exercise anew at the appropriate time.

(A note on methodology: Using the most current information, I simply project winners and losers for all 256 regular-season games to arrive at my projections. The outcomes generally allow me to apply tiebreakers, and plenty were needed this year – the first time the league will utilize a 14-team playoff field. I’ll explain later how two of the NFC’s 9-7 teams reached the postseason while two others did not.)


Dallas Cowboys (10-6): Every team that’s changed head coaches is likely to be at some disadvantage given the difficulty of implementing programs and imbuing philosophies virtually this year. But the Cowboys should be able to flatten their learning curve given the retention of coordinator Kellen Moore and an offense that returns largely intact … assuming franchised QB Dak Prescott reports. And after adding several cost-effective veterans before culling what appears to be a stellar draft class, headlined by first-round WR CeeDee Lamb, it definitely seems Dallas owns a talent gap on the rest of the division. That was also true last year, but Jerry Jones is counting on Mike McCarthy to do what Jason Garrett couldn’t. And an October schedule devoid of 2019 playoff teams presents a good opportunity for an early hot streak.

Read more…