For the Dallas Cowboys, hope and expectation is always high, as a new season approaches.
Last year, they coulda been a contender, but - once again - they didn't make the cut.
It makes one wonder how many more seasons without a playoff win, or even a playoff game, Jerry Jones can take.
The 2013 schedule looks manageable for Tony Romo's boys.
What does that mean? It means that, on paper, they should be looking at, not only a winning season, but some postseason action, as well. Week by week, this is how their path to enlightenment will finally be revealed.
Week 1: Another season opener against Eli Manning and Co. The Cowboys pulled out a 24-17 win last year. Not to take anything away from a deserved victory , the Giants - in truth - were sloppy. This year will be a tougher game, with the Cowboys hanging in for the win. Cowboys 27, Giants 21
Week 2: No doubt, the Chiefs are going to have a better year. Certainly, the'll register more than two wins. This game, however, is not going to be one of them. Cowboys 31, Chiefs 21
Week 3: Sam Bradford is not going to get the protection he needs. On the other side of the ball, Tony Romo will not be greatly troubled by the Rams defensive line. Cowboys 21, Rams 16
Week 4: Like the Cowboys, the Chargers badly need some playoff success, this year. Norv Turner is out; Philip Rivers is still there, so not quite a rebuilding season, but it's going to take more than four weeks for the Bolts to get fully up to speed. This one will be a shootout between two ambitious quarterbacks. Cowboys 34, Chargers 27
Week 5: Peyton Manning will not have it all his own way at Cowboys Stadium, but the Dallas defense is not likely to contain him for too long. Broncos 20, Cowboys 10
Week 6: Robert Griffin III will continue to bring his team along, this season, assuming he can stay healthy. Predicting this matchup is never easy, but Washington doesn't have the stopping power to prevent Dallas putting up big points in this one. Cowboys 27, Redskins 13
Week 7: The first season under new coach Chip Kelly, quarterback uncertainties and an offense that has lost its edge. It's going to be a close game, but Dallas manages to hang in there. Cowboys 20, Eagles 17
Week 8: The Cowboys run out of steam in Detroit, while Reggie Bush tears it up. Veteran kicker David Akers may be running out of steam, too, but there's always that Youtube star Havard Rugland to put points on the board for the Lions. Lions 37, Cowboys 24
Week 9: Two words: Adrian Peterson. The Vikings, last season, made a remarkable comeback, after a disastrous 2011. This year, they'll continue the trend and Dallas will not hold them up. Vikings 28, Cowboys 20
Week 10: New Orleans is another team that will be making a marked improvement on last year. The Cowboys' secondary will give up plenty of yardage to Drew Brees, in this one. Saints 37, Cowboys 10
Week 12: Tony Romo grinds out another win. Dallas has a respectable .500 record in their last 10 road games against the Giants. Cowboys 16, Giants 13
Week 13: It's hard to see anything the Raiders can put up against Romo. The men from Oakland will have a new-look offense this year and it will bring them a winning season, but they'll struggle in Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving. Cowboys 34, Raiders 13
Week 14: Chicago will emerge from the Lovie Smith era a stronger team than we've seen for a while. Jay Cutler pouts less, these days, and he's taking his team to the playoffs, this year. Bears 26, Cowboys 10
Week 15: They may have one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Scratch that; they do have one of the best quarterbacks in the game, but the Packers' offense is not the unstoppable force it once was. Aaron Rodgers will do just enough to get them through this one. Packers 20, Cowboys 17
Week 16: This result, it should be noted, is continent upon RGIII still being on the field, at this point in the season. Washington holds on at home to prevent the sweep. Redskins 24, Cowboys 13
Week 17: Picture the scene; it's the last week of the regular season and the Cowboys are hosting their hated enemies, the Eagles. At this point, they're looking at a playoff spot. Dallas - and Tony Romo, in particular - seem to have a gift for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. This could well be a trench warfare type of game, with each side battling hard for every few yards. The Cowboys prevail by the skin of their teeth. Cowboys 21, Eagles 19