The Cowboys haven't started a season 0-2 since Jason Garrett has been the head coach. Not since 2010 has this team dropped the first two games, and that turned out to be a 6-10 record.
So for more reasons than one, the Cowboys need to get back on track this week as they travel to Tennessee, where the Titans are looking for a 2-0 start after last week's big win at Kansas City.
Here are the gut feelings for Week 2 from staff writers Nick Eatman, Rowan Kavner, Bryan Broaddus and David Helman.
David Helman:We always think we know so much after Week 1, but how well do we actually know any team in the NFL? Are the Cowboys as horrendous as their four-turnover performance against San Francisco looked? Are the Titans as dominant as they appeared in their dismantling of Kansas City? The answer to both questions is
"probably not." I've been leaning toward the Titans for the majority of the week, but I have to remind myself not to make snap judgments after one game. With an impressive running game and fewer mistakes from Tony Romo, I think the Cowboys can go on the road and get a win against a team that hasn't been to the playoffs since 2008. If they can't, it's going to be a long season. The offense will look better, the defense will force one crucial mistake out of Jake Locker and the Cowboys will escape with a win – something like 28-24.
Bryan Broaddus: It is very early in the season but a stat that I like to hang my hat on is third down percentage. It doesn't matter whether it's on the offensive or defensive side of the ball, if you are sustaining drives, it is likely that you are putting yourself in position to score points. On the flip side, if you are getting off the field on third downs, it's the exact opposite. The Titans are ranked first in the NFL when it comes to playing third down defense, while the Cowboys are ranked fourth when it comes to converting on third down. My gut feeling is that this Titans defense will hold the Cowboys offense under 35 percent and in doing so prevent them from sustaining the ball long enough to finish drives. The Titans' pressure and secondary play at home will be just too much, and they will win this game.
Rowan Kavner: We should get a better idea of what this Cowboys team is really like this week after an unorthodox opener. It's hard to take much from that loss, considering it was 21-3 before many fans tuned in. It should be easier to draw some conclusions on both sides of the ball against a young and talented Tennessee team. This needs to be a game Dez Bryant takes over. He's the guy the Cowboys have to feed off of after a quiet week. He can help Tony Romo, he can open up room for DeMarco Murray and he can fire up the defense. Bryant bounces back, but it's not quite enough as both teams score in the low 20s and a late Titans field goal leads to a three-point loss. [embedded_ad]
Nick Eatman: Just like last week, this is a tough game to call because beating Tennessee on the road seems like a difficult task. But we haven't seen this team go to 0-2 in a while and I definitely see the Cowboys bouncing back with a better performance. Maybe it would be a good idea if the Cowboys can get their nine-time Pro Bowl tight end involved a little more. Instead of seeing what the defense gives you, how about going on the attack with Jason Witten and forcing the Titans to use a safety to cover him. That will open up the outside passing game and should open up more running lanes. I see Dwayne Harris having a big play, probably in the return game, but maybe on offense. But he's going to have a game-changing play. It won't be easy but just like the Cowboys have been a mediocre franchise, so have the Titans. So it would seem logical they both get to 1-1 this week.