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Cowboys have to travel less than Giants, Eagles, and Redskins in 2017 NFL season

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The Cowboys will have to travel a lot to the West Coast this year. But so do their division rivals.

NFL: Preseason-Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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In most seasons, the Cowboys top the NFC East in NFL travel miles, simply because the Cowboys always have more travel miles for the intra-division games than their three division rivals do.

But every few years, when the NFC East has to travel to the West Coast, the disadvantage of not being geographically close to their division rivals turns into an advantage for the Cowboys.

2017 is another such year, as the NFC East takes on not one but two West Coast divisions, the NFC West (Seahawks, Cardinals, Rams, 49ers) and the AFC West (Raiders, Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos).

Despite that seemingly out-of-the way scheduling, the Cowboys rank a moderate 15th in the total number of travel miles that NFL teams will have to travel during the 2017 NFL regular season.

The Cowboys' road games this season, in order, are in Denver, Arizona, San Francisco, Washington, Atlanta, New York (Giants), Oakland, Philadelphia. The cumulative estimated round-trip distance to all eight away games for the Cowboys is 18,084 miles.

Here's where the other NFC East teams rank:

9. Giants (21,883 miles)

11. Redskins (20,762)

12. Eagles (20,227)

To put those numbers in context, the Rams have the toughest travel schedule with 32,600 miles, while it feels like the Steelers never have to leave the North East, with just 6,692 miles.

The travel schedule may initially seem like little more than a fun anecdote, but it is likely to have a very real impact on the outcome of the regular season.

  • The Giants open with four of their first six games on the road, including the season opener in Dallas and a trip to Denver in Week 6. If they come out of that stretch limping, they could end up chasing the division leader for the rest of the season.
  • The Eagles play back-to-back West Coast games in December (Seattle and LA Rams) that could easily derail a potential playoff push.
  • The Redskins have two West Coast trips in the first two weeks of the season, along with home games against the Eagles and Raiders. Their season could already be over after the first quarter.
  • The Cowboys in turn play four of their five November games at home, a perfect stretch in which to make an early push for the division crown.

When the schedule was first announced, many Cowboys fans winced at having to travel to the West Coast four times. Turns out, that travel schedule could end up being an advantage versus the three division rivals.