The Dallas Cowboys like the rest of the NFL are waiting for the NFL schedule release and I think there are a few notes to pay close attention to. Yes, like many others I will be looking to see which games to attend in person but there are some interesting points to watch out for.
The first thing everyone pays attention to is who the team is going to open up against. I will get to that later but the first thing I will be looking at is the bye week.
With the NFL moving to a 17 game schedule, the bye week placement is going to be crucial for a longer season. There are times when teams catch the injury bug and their early bye week helps them out.
The Dallas Cowboys have a mini bye week with the yearly Thanksgiving game already known so an earlier bye week would be beneficial to the team. Having two breaks in the regular season is going to have a tremendous impact on this team.
With the Thanksgiving game usually during week 12, an earlier bye week around week six would be a tremendous boost for the team. The team would play five games then rest and regroup. Seven games would follow thanks to the now usual post-thanksgiving Thursday game before going into their mini bye week.
A first-round bye in the playoffs, which is reserved for first-place conference teams, after finishing the remaining five games is a perfect format the team should be aiming for.
The opening game is always a treat as knowing opponents gives you something to look forward to. So looking at the latest trends, it appears as if the NFL finally got away from opening with the New York Giants and I think that is a trend that will continue.
I think the NFL likes the idea of ending the schedule against division opponents. I went back ten years and the Dallas Cowboys have ended the season against a Divison opponent every one of those years.
They have ended the season against Washington four times while the Giants and Eagles have ended the regular season against the Cowboys three times each in the same time span. I would bet good money that the Cowboys are going to end the season against the Eagles or Giants. Whoever it isn’t this year will more than likely be next years ending opponent.
Last year the team opened in Los Angeles to break in their new stadium. The Rams not allowing fans certainly took away some of that gusto and a mulligan would be a great bet if they were opponents this year which they are not ( until the NFC Championship game I hope).
I don’t think the NFL will waste opening weekend against the defending champions in Tampa Bay or Kansas City as those are probably going to shatter records on Primetime television.
If the Dallas Cowboys played at Las Vegas, that would be a no-brainer opening game and would probably be on Sunday night. Unfortunately, the Raiders play in Dallas this year. Dallas Cowboys, Las Vegas, Sunday Night Football is going to be fun when it does happen.
With no opponents opening new stadiums, the focus has to be shifted into storylines. The Atlanta Falcons make a tremendous amount of sense as Dan Quinn gets to see firsthand his old team under new control.
The New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, and Arizona Cardinals are opponents with some star power that could disappoint this year due to quarterback play for the first two and an imposing division for the latter makes me feel like the NFL could Pitt them early against the Cowboys to keep their names relevant.
I feel like J.J. Watt alone makes the game against Arizona Thanksgiving worthy as his generous donations go hand in hand with the message the Jones family who bring awareness by way of the Salvation Army, makes them in my opinion a great candidate.
The Los Angeles Chargers are interesting as they are young and talented and just might be the Dallas Cowboys of the AFC. Brandon Staley is the latest defensive coordinator turned head coach so this also makes a bit of sense.
Staley opened up against the Cowboys last year as Rams defensive coordinator and he kept the Cowboys from becoming “team 40 burger” early. It makes even more sense especially since the Chargers are having a fan-following problem.
As much as I want to chose the Chargers, I think that the Dallas Cowboys will open the season against the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta is probably looking forward to getting revenge on last year’s “Snail Mary” game while the Cowboys would like to justify their hiring of Dan Quinn.
Let’s also not forget the infatuation a lot of Cowboys fans had with now Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts. Atlanta and Dallas both have a powerful offense and serious questions about their defense. A week one fireworks show is exactly the thing the NFL needs to start their season.