Quick start key to Dallas Cowboys’ season

The key to the Dallas Cowboys 2016 season is getting off to a quick start.

The Dallas Cowboys had a terrible day last week, losing their starting middle linebacker, Rolando McClain, to a suspension and finally getting confirmation that defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence would be suspended as well. It wasn’t exactly how the Cowboys and their fans wanted to start their Fourth of July weekend.

Yet here the Cowboys sit missing three of their starters, including defensive end Randy Gregory, on a defense that no one believes is any good. So what can the team do to offset those losses?

The key is a quick start to the season. If the Cowboys can get out of the first four weeks of the schedule at 3-1 or better, it should be a sign of good things to come.

It all begins with the New York Giants to open the year, a game Dallas needs to win. The team cannot afford to be 0-1 and heading to the NFC East Champion Washington Redskins’ house. That would put the Cowboys in desperation mode right off the bat.

The Giants have revamped their defense, but it should take a little while for the talent to gel, so the Cowboys get them at a good time early in the year. New York’s offense will present a considerable challenge for the Cowboys’ depleted defense, but it’s a home game and they need to start 1-0.

Dallas then travels to Washington, where they’ve won three straight times. The Redskins always give the Cowboys a tough game, which is why winning the season opener is so critical. The Cowboys cannot afford to be 0-2 with two losses inside the division so early in the season and a split should be the worst case scenario.

From there, the Cowboys have two very winnable games, at home against the Chicago Bears and on the road against the San Francisco 49ers. The Bears are on the rise with head coach John Fox at the helm for his second year and the 49ers’ head coach is old friend Chip Kelly. These are two contests the Cowboys should win to get out of the first quarter of the season with no worse than a 3-1 record. Anything less and the team might be in trouble.

After those four games, Dallas gets their two best pass rushers back and the schedule gets a tad more challenging. The team will face five playoff teams during the next eight weeks of the season, including games with the Cincinnati Bengals, as well as road games against the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings.

That’s a tough road for the Cowboys if they don’t get off to a quick start. The team cannot afford to be chasing wins in the middle of the season because they couldn’t get out of their first four games with at least three wins. That’s why the suspensions hurt, the Cowboys need a good start to the year.

The Cowboys might be able to recover from a poor start, but the key to their season is winning games early on. The fate of the 2016 Dallas Cowboys will come from the first four weeks of their schedule.

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