We’ve known who the Cowboys are going to play in 2018 for quite some time.
They’ll host their division rivals, plus New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Detroit. They’ll travel to every NFC East team, and Carolina, Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, and Seattle.
Seven of those 16 games come against teams that made the playoffs in 2017. Five of them are still alive in the NFL’s round of eight.
Yes, this weekend we’ll get to watch 2018 Cowboys opponents in the Falcons, Eagles, Titans, Jaguars, and Saints. Think about this, almost half of the Cowboys schedule next season comes against teams that were vying for a Super Bowl in January of this year.
People love to talk about the difference between a first place schedule and last place schedule, and honestly the difference isn’t as galactic as you’d think. Consider that the division-winning Eagles will play 14 of the same games as the Cowboys, but instead of Detroit and Seattle they’ll draw Los Angeles and Minnesota.
Part of what looks so intimidating about the 2018 schedule for the Cowboys are the NFC South teams. After all, three of the four made the playoffs this season, and the Buccaneers were a preseason favorite by many, so they could easily be interesting next year.
Among the 16 games the Cowboys will play next season, they’ll have four games against new head coaches (New York twice, Detroit, and Indianapolis). That’s four games that would appear to be easier, but Jason Garrett lost 75% of his games in 2017 to first-year head honchos.
Yes, Garrett lost to Vance Joseph, Sean McVay, and Anthony Lynn last season. He did manage to beat Kyle Shanahan, although San Francisco didn’t have Jimmy Garappolo rocking and rolling quite yet. As interesting as the coaching changes are, they’re hardly an advantage for the Cowboys.
As we sit back and watch the divisional round of this season’s playoffs let us remember that over half of the participating teams are Cowboys opponents in 2018. Do some scouting and get ready for what promises to be a bumpy ride.