Each year the NFL makes a big production about 'releasing the schedule' in April. But thanks to the NFL's scheduling formula, we already know 14 of the 16 opponents each team will face next year, just not when and in what sequence. And with that info, we can take a quick look at what the 2017 schedule could look like for the Cowboys.
In 2017, the Dallas Cowboys will play three home games and three away games against the NFC East. They'll do a lot of traveling to the west coast as they'll play four games each against the NFC West and the AFC West. Also, assuming the Cowboys will win the NFC East this year, they'll play the division champs from the NFC North and the NFC South.
The home and away matchups have also already been determined. Per the NFL Record & Fact Book these are:
- Home: Giants, Redskins, Eagles - Rams, Seahawks - Chargers, Chiefs - NFC North opponent (Lions?).
- Away: Giants, Redskins, Eagles - Cardinals, 49ers - Broncos, Raiders - NFC South opponent (Falcons?)
The only currently unknown opponents for the Cowboys are the likely division champions from the NFC North and NFC South. Those two teams as it currently stands would be the Lions and Falcons, though both of those teams only have a half-game lead atop their division, so that could still change over the next five games.
Going strictly by the record of these projected opponents though Week 12 of the 2016 season, the Cowboys face a slightly tougher schedule on the road than they do at home. The away opponents currently combine for a 47-39-2 record (.545 strength of schedule) while the home opponents "only" combine for a 44-43-1 record (.506 strength of schedule).
There could be a few interesting storylines lurking in this schedule:
- Could the game against the Broncos feature the Cowboys playing against Tony Romo?
- Assuming the Cowboys win one or two playoff games this year, there's a good chance they'll have a rematch with one ore possibly even more of their NFC playoff opponents.
- The Rams are one of three teams designated to play a home game in London next year. But the Cowboys get to play them in Dallas next year, so unfortunately for the many European Cowboys fans, the Cowboys won't travel to London to play the Rams next year.
- The Cowboys currently have the best odds of any NFC team to reach the 2017 Super Bowl at +180, via Sportsbook.ag. The Raiders have the second-best Super Bowl odds in the AFC with + 600 (behind the Patriots at +110). Could the game against the Raiders turn out to be a rematch of the two Super Bowl participants?
What are your thoughts on the 2017 schedule?