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Scouting the Schedule for the 2017 Dallas Cowboys

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Scouting the 2017-18 Schedule for the Dallas Cowboys

Before I begin scouting the schedule for the Dallas Cowboys, I will take one final moment to bask in the ambiance of what the Cowboys accomplished last season. Well, like our playoff exit, that was quick.

Alright, here we go.

The Dallas Cowboys rolled through their schedule last year, to the tune of 13-3. Outside of optimistic Cowboys fans, nobody saw that coming. Their dominant offense, led by a pair of rookie MVP candidates, caught the NFL and its millions of consumers by surprise, to say the least. Again, nobody saw or predicted it coming, in regards to the 13-3 thing.

That has become part of the beauty of the NFL. One season you can be a juggernaut dabbing through the schedule to the Super Bowl, and the next season you are just the Carolina Panthers.

What I want to do here is dissect three games that I believe will be pivotal to the success of the Dallas Cowboys this year. Yes, every game is important, but several games carry a bit more weight, particularly within the division.

Scouting The Schedule

One thing that may have benefited the Dallas Cowboys last season was the strength of the schedule. Among the bottom-feeders in the NFL during the 2015-2016 season, the Cowboys were fortunate not to endure a brute schedule, helping the team immensely.

However, for this upcoming 2017-2018 season, the Cowboys will be put to the test, with the AFC West and NFC South both on the schedule. Those are two of the most competitive divisions in the league in my opinion. Oh, and add to that playing in possibly the best the division in football, the NFC East.

I believe after solidifying the secondary and adding a pass-rusher, the Dallas Cowboys are in competition for the best team in the NFL. Last season was not a fluke.

Expect something like 12-4. I will emphasize my reasoning here later this summer.

Week 1, Sept. 10, vs. New York Giants

Going into the scouting of this year’s schedule, you know certain teams you will see inevitably. It’s just a matter of when.

Many are calling the Giants defense the best in the league. After beating the Dallas Cowboys twice last year, I will not argue against that point. I humbly believe the Giants benefited from playing against Dak in his very first regular season game. I also believe they benefited from the below-freezing temperature during the December 12th matchup, that resulted in our offense being a shell of itself.

Despite all that, what better way to start the season than to have a chance to light up the scoreboard against last year’s bully on national television? If schedules could speak, I believe the Cowboys’ schedule would say something like ‘let’s get right to it.”

The Giants, in my opinion, became scary on offense. I loved the Evan Ingram pick in the first round. Ingram is listed as a tight end but plays the game like a number one wide receiver.

Scouting the Giants, you have to admit their defense is still very good. I’m sure they would love to show America that they still have the Cowboys’ number.

Week 10, Nov. 12, at Atlanta Falcons

I could not help but watch the Atlanta Falcons breeze through the NFC and half of the Super Bowl and not wonder what success Dallas would have had against that overrated defense. Yes, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan were going nuts during their playoff run, but, again, in my humble opinion, Dallas would have rolled through Atlanta in last year’s playoffs.

However, I  get rewarded with seeing this high-powered matchup this season. Folks, I can tell you now in the month of May, that this November matchup will be a statement game. I expect both teams to be in the mix for the top seed in the NFC heading into the playoffs.

The Falcons defense got bigger and faster this offseason. We will see firsthand the impact the signing of Dontari Poe will bring to this unit. But, the drafting of Takkarist McKinely and Duke Riley will prove to be a genius move, much like last year’s rookie class did.

The departure of Kyle Shanahan is a big deal in my opinion. The zone running and blocking scheme has been very good to Shanahan. At the same time, it was a scheme the Falcons executed very well. We will have to wait and see if new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian can keep the offense rolling.

Week 15, Dec. 17, at Oakland Raiders

Oakland showed a lot last year. Derek Carr’s broken fibula, in the eyes of many, ended what could have been a Super Bowl run for the Raiders.

The reason I highlighted this matchup is because, hypothetically, if this game carries any importance in regards to the offseason, we have the perfect mix for what could be one the best games of the season.

In a lot of ways, these two teams mirror each other. Both possess top-five offenses. Both have top-three offensive lines and both of their presumed weaknesses fall on the defensive side of the ball.

Add Marshawn Lynch to the previously mentioned top-five offense and you scare the hell out of a lot of people. Amari Cooper and Derek Carr will continue to build, forming possibly the best quarterback and receiver connection in the NFL.

Not sure why, but my gut tells me this Oakland team will struggle this season. I see a playoff team, but I believe they will fall short of the heavy expectations many are placing on them. However, a Week 15 victory over what should be a very good Dallas team could uplift them heading into the playoffs.

Once you’re in, it’s anyone’s game.