3 potential trap games on the Cowboys 2023 schedule

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Cowboys at Panthers, Week 11

It's easy to act as though the Carolina Panthers were awful in 2022 but the truth is, they actually finished out rather well. They started out just 1-4 under Matt Rhule, but then went 6-6 with Steve Wilks as the interim coach.

There were those who wanted Dallas to hire Rhule when he was looking to break into the NFL but it's safe to say Mike McCarthy was the better choice — Rhule had just 11 wins in 38 games whereas McCarthy won 12 in 2021 and 12 in 2022.

While it's safe to say a bullet was dodged, the Cowboys can't go into their Week 11 contest against the Panthers expecting things to be easy.

Sure, they'll be trying to get No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young acclimated to the NFL and they did trade D.J. Moore away which weakened their receiving corps. He was replaced with D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen — who should be given an MRI after saying the Panthers had a better shot at the Super Bowl than Dallas — which is a downgrade.

Even with all that being said, this is an NFL franchise and they have enough talent to make things hard on any team that takes them lightly. Defensively, Jaycee Horn, Vonn Bell, Xavier Woods, and Jeremy Chinn give them a tough secondary. There's also Shaq Thompson and Brian Burns, who are strong in the front seven.

With three national broadcast games coming up after this one — including the Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Washington Commanders — Dallas might be tempted to look beyond the Panthers.

Doing so would be a huge mistake and could start this critical stretch off on the wrong foot.

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