Prior to kickoff in Carolina the Dallas Cowboys knew two things about their division:
Philly won their season opener against the Falcons on Thursday night while the G-Men dropped theirs early on Sunday afternoon against the Jaguars (Tom Coughlin smiles). Dallas had an opportunity to match the Eagles record, something the Redskins did against the Cardinals, but as you know they caught a loss on the road.
In case you forgot, the Cowboys play their own home opener this Sunday night. They’ll host the fellow winless Giants on NBC’s Sunday Night Football (hopefully the green zone will be gone by then) and something important is now known. The loser will leave the game 0-2.
While an NFL season is an unpredictable thing there is one almost-universally accepted truth... you don’t want to go 0-2 to start the season. If you do the odds are that you only have 14 games left if you know what I mean.
Since NFL went to 12 playoff teams in 1990, only 12 percent of teams to start season 0-2 went on to make playoffs.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2017
The 12% stat is through the 2016 season, but 2017 didn’t exactly move the needle either way for the 0-2 cause. More than anything, the point remains that you don’t want to lose your first two games to begin the season.
Dallas is in a bit more of a compromising position than the Giants, too. The Cowboys first loss was to a fellow NFC team in the Panthers while New York lost to an AFC team in the Jaguars. Obviously Sunday’s loss will be one within the division which nobody ever wants, but the Cowboys would be in quite the situation if they were not only 0-2 but had a loss in the division, in the conference, and to a potential wildcard team in Carolina.
Every game that any team in any sport plays is always a “must-win,” you never enter any game where you want to lose; however, the Dallas Cowboys are definitely going to be feeling that heat in a pretty strong way all week long as they get ready for New York on primetime.