You need to win your games in the NFL. Everybody knows that. You also occasionally need some help, and the Dallas Cowboys got a whole lot of it through the season’s opening week.
It’s true that things got off to a less-than-ideal start when the Philadelphia Eagles won their first game last Thursday night as they began their title defense. The good news about the Eagles winning (there really never is any) was that it meant their opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, lost.
You see the Eagles and Falcons are a third of last season’s playoff teams in the NFC. You’ll remember last season’s final NFC standings (playoff teams in bold):
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Minnesota Vikings
- Los Angeles Rams
- New Orleans Saints
- Carolina Panthers
- Atlanta Falcons
- Detroit Lions
- Seattle Seahawks
- Dallas Cowboys
- Arizona Cardinals
- Green Bay Packers
- Washington Redskins
- San Francisco 49ers
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Chicago Bears
- New York Giants
The AFC teams almost swept the four interconference matchups, a very good thing
There were four interconference matchups across the NFL in Week 1, and despite the NFC being regarded as the superior side, three AFC teams won. Jacksonville beat the Giants, Denver took down Seattle, and the Jets put a thumping on Detroit.
Within these losses lie three playoff contenders (Detroit might fall the fastest out of that conversation) not to mention a division rival of the Cowboys. Any time any team within the conference can lose to the other, or a division foe can lose to anyone, it’s a great day to be a Cowboys fan.
Tampa Bay’s win could have the biggest ripple effect
The Buccaneers stunned everyone (and likely you’re eliminator pool) when they took down their own division rival on the road, the New Orleans Saints. Sean Payton’s squad is expected to seriously contend for a Super Bowl this season, getting round-housed by Ryan Fitzpatrick of all people is hardly the first step on that path, but hey it’s Week 1.
New Orleans will undoubtedly be a contender come December (the Cowboys play them on November 29th). The Buccaneers will likely fold (if they don’t things will get even more crazy). The more times that teams who won’t be in the mix can beat teams that will is something worth celebrating. Keep this in mind this week when the Buccaneers host the Eagles. You can do it, Tampa Bay!
Injuries are never fun, but they’re relevant
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford looked to get nicked up during the first Monday Night Football game of the season. He did finish the game, in as underwhelming of a fashion as the Lions as a whole, but it’s worth noting considering the Cowboys host Detroit in two weeks.
Also looking a bit further down the road, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones was placed on injured reserve. Per the NFL’s IR rules Jones will be out for eight weeks. Eight weeks from the day of his placement is November 6th and the Cowboys visit Atlanta on November 18th.
Obviously the Cowboys need to do their part and win their own football games or nothing else matters in their own playoffs chase. They’ve got a big-time game this week within the division during the home opener against the New York Giants. The loser will fall to 0-2 and that’s typically an impossible hole to climb out of.
The Cowboys lost their first game and that sucks. Thankfully there are 15 more left and a lot of other things from Week 1 went their way. Optimism is fun.