I was off in my prediction but the Dallas Cowboys opening up the season against the defending champs actually helps the team in the long haul. With a new 17 game season to navigate, the team now knows they have a little more rest for their week two opponent.
Before we thank the schedule makers, let’s take a quick reaction dive into the team’s new schedule.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott now has to prove right out of the gate how well his ankle has progressed against arguably the best quarterback of all time. This early test will most likely have a huge impact on the playoff race.
Either way it turns out, having ten days before traveling to Los Angeles to play the Chargers in week two is a nice thing to have during a season. So does the fact that the Dallas Cowboys have six prime-time games this year not to mention the Hall of Fame Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With the natural mini-bye week already emplaced by way of Thanksgiving, having the bye week during week seven is something I almost got right as I hoped it would be week six. This means the Dallas Cowboys won’t play more than six games during the regular season without some sort of extended rest and preparation time.
So now that the breaks in the schedule are set, traveling to both coasts in consecutive weeks to start the season is my guess the reason the NFL burned a natural rating booster of a game in Tampa versus Dallas to take away the fact the Cowboys got hosed on this one.
Opening against Philadelphia at home in week three is probably an indication of what some people might think about the Eagle’s upcoming season. Traveling to both coasts in weeks one and two while ending the year on the road in Philly is upsetting but I understand it would still post good ratings when most teams have abandoned ship already.
Having Carolina and New York at home to complete a three-game homestand before they head up to New England is a stretch the team has to take advantage of. If the NFC East has a repeat performance of last year, these three games have to be where the Dallas Cowboys separate themselves from the pack.
I think the Cowboys did well on this New England trip as they don’t have to play in New England during inclement weather. The bad news is the Dallas Cowboys have to play Kansas City in November and they have to play at New York and Washington in December.
I didn’t even mention they have to travel to Philadelphia in January. I hope the Cowboys have enough cold-weather gear. It might be even time to see the players on this roster who haven’t performed well or often in cold weather.
After the bye-week, the Cowboys travel to Minnesota before hosting Denver then Atlanta. The Atlanta game is a rough game to have right before hosting the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving. I would have preferred to have the Broncos in this slot.
It isn’t comforting to know that the Raiders play the Bengals before they travel to Dallas.
The now seemingly annual Thursday after Thanksgiving game will have the Cowboys travel to New Orleans who might be a team that is still searching for a quarterback. It does help that the Saints have to play a tough Buffalo Bills team in the late Thanksgiving timeslot.
Playing divisional opponents in four of your last five games while also having to travel to three of those contests is brutal. I can’t complain too much as Philadelphia has a week 14 bye week before ending the season going Washington, New York, Washington, then Dallas.
The New York Giants have the easiest ending in the NFC East as they play all divisional opponents once in the final four weeks yet only have to travel to Philadelphia in those NFC East contests.
Washington probably has the worst ending out of the NFC East as they end their season going Dallas, Philadelphia, Dallas, Philadelphia, then ends in New York against the Giants. I am not impressed with schedule makers as a whole as Washington might have a legitimate gripe.
With so many legal troubles following Washington, one has to wonder if the NFL doesn’t want Washington in the playoffs.
Having to play Washington in weeks 14 and 16 is a weird break that I wish the NFL would do away with. What happens if Dallas and Washington have to square off in the first round of the playoffs? I’m sure America would be sick of watching these two play three times in a span of six weeks.
In all, I like the fact that Dallas will have a balanced break but the end of the season is going to be a tough stretch no matter where they sit in the standings. I will have to do some more research but my initial reaction is this schedule appears to be manageable with a corky ending.