The NFL has released its 2014 schedule and for Dallas Cowboys Nation there are some intriguing matchups to look forward to.
When taking a quick glance at the 2014 Cowboys campaign route what stands out first is that even though they have finished at a mediocre 8-8 the last three seasons, Dallas is being featured on five…count ‘em five…primetime games. What is most disconcerting about the primetime matchups is that three of them come on Sunday Night Football where the Cowboys have put up less than stellar results of late.
The first of the NBC offerings will come against the New Orleans Saints. The bad news is that the Saints have been hard for the Cowboys to handle in recent years. The good news is that the game is going to be at Jerry’s Palace in Arlington. If any home field advantage can be mustered in the collosadome Dallas will need all of it when Drew Brees and company come calling.
The other two Sunday night games come against familiar NFC East foes, the New York Giants on November 23 and the Eagles on December 14. Both of these division contests are on the road. The Giants game comes after the Cowboys bye week and two weeks removed from Dallas’ trip across The Pond to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. As for the Eagles’ game, nothing says heated rivalry quite like the ‘Boys vs the Birds so this one should be a nail biter.
In an interesting twist on the traditional Turkey Day contest, Dallas will be facing Philly on a national stage. That means at my household, the holiday feast will be planned around kickoff because it promises to be a heartburn fest no matter whether the Cowboys win or lose.
Dallas’ two remaining games under the lights will come on Monday Night Football against the Redskins on October 27 and on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football against the Bears on December 4. The Washington game will be at Jerry’s World, while the Cowboys will travel to the Windy City for the Bears matchup.
Another game that stands out is the season opener against the Cowboys former rival the San Francisco 49ers. There is plenty of history between these two teams, going all the way back to “The Catch” and continuing through the glory days of the 90s and that incident on the Star with you-know-who. Should Dallas be able to start 2014 with an upset win over the Niners, it would bode well for their confidence and could be the start to a three game winning streak, with road games against the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams coming in succession. Neither of those teams had much success in 2013 if the Cowboys are clicking on offense and can field a competitive defense, they will have a good shot at getting victories.
The Cowboys 2014 schedule is ranked 18th by those in the know, which is fair considering Dallas’ spot in the overall standing last year. Should they be able to hold serve at home, which won’t be easy with the Saints, Colts and Niners coming to town, Dallas could climb out of the doldrums of mediocrity. If not, trips to Chicago and Seattle, along with visits to their NFC East foes could spell another disappointing season in Big D.
For now, anyway, I’m going with the glass half full choice and giving the ‘Boys the benefit of the doubt to have a winning season.