Although it is not a perfect indicator, the strength of schedule for NFL teams, based on the records of their opponents the previous season, often gives a good hint of how things may play out for them. For the Dallas Cowboys, hoping to turn things around after the Great Debacle of 2015, things may be looking up. They are in a three way tie for 27th on the strength of schedule list for the league, as reported by CBS Sports, meaning only three teams in the league have a slate of opponents that look to be weaker.
T-27. Dallas Cowboys: 119-137, .465
Of course, things do not always work out according to the way that the preseason SOS lines up. Last season, the Cowboys were projected to have the ninth easiest schedule, but by the time the season played out, it had morphed into the fifth hardest. Part of that was because of the way the Cowboys played, winning only one non-division game, as well as the fact that eight of the opponents they faced also played four games against the generally weak NFC East.
But some things do bear out. The Carolina Panthers were set to have the sixth easiest schedule, and it wound up as the easiest in the league.
Still, it is one more small ray of hope for Dallas. Hopefully their opponents will tend to play at a similar level as they did last year, making for a less challenging season.
The rest of the NFC East, which share so many common opponents with the Cowboys, also face opponents that are projected to be fairly weak. Washington has the 17th ranked schedule, the Philadelphia Eagles are just ahead of Dallas at 26th, and the New York Giants are tied for 30th.
Coming in dead last (the best place to be) on the list are the Green Bay Packers, one of the few teams towards the bottom that had a decent record last year. And the dubious honor of facing the hardest schedule based on this list goes to the San Francisco 49ers, partly because they have to play the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals twice.
Welcome to your new team, Chip Kelly.