We are all aware of how important quarterbacks are. It’s because of our fundamental beliefs in this idea that has led to all of the arguments about Dak Prescott over the last few years.
However much you like Dak or any other quarterback you definitely acknowledge that whoever plays that position has the single most influence on a football game. It’s the most important position in sports, the only person who touches the football on every offensive play, so on and so forth.
We’ve talked here at BTB about the importance of the first three gams of the season for the Cowboys and how they are, in their own way, must-wins if this team wants to do something serious in 2019. The general point is that they look to be easier than others and that you have to put together “easier-looking” wins when you have the opportunity to.
A gigantic part of why the first three games (Giants, Redskins, Dolphins) look not-so-intimidating is because of the quarterbacks that those teams will likely be starting: Eli Manning, Case Keenum, and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
I know, I know, any team can win on any given Sunday, division games can never be overlooked, and all of the other cliches. I’m not guaranteeing three wins here, I’m simply pointing out that these are perhaps the three least menacing games/quarterbacks that the Cowboys will face this season.
Let’s look at all 16 games by the opposing team’s starting quarterback
In the spirit of looking at the quarterbacks that the Cowboys will play through the season’s first three weeks I thought it would be interesting to look at the entire schedule by listing the quarterbacks those teams plan on starting as of the season’s fresh beginning.
Here is the 2019 Dallas Cowboys schedule listed by the other team’s starting quarterback:
- Week 1: Eli Manning, New York Giants
- Week 2: Case Keenum, Washington Redskins
- Week 3: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
- Week 4: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
- Week 5: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
- Week 6: Sam Darnold, New York Jets
- Week 7: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
- Week 9: Eli Manning, New York Giants
- Week 10: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
- Week 11: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
- Week 12: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
- Week 13: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
- Week 14: Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
- Week 15: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
- Week 16: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
- Week 17: Case Keenum, Washington Redskins
Obviously it’s possible that this list changes due to injuries or different starters chosen by teams, but when you look at that, what are your thoughts?
I maintain that the opening three games look the least daunting for Dallas. Things are going to be tough going from Drew Brees to Aaron Rodgers, but that’s the kind of thing that becomes just a little bit more clear when you look at it like this. These are the guys/offenses that the Cowboys defense will be tasked with slowing down, how effectively can they do that?
There are two three-game stretches that the season could come down to
Please imagine me saying this in the least dramatic voice possible: I think that the season could come down to two different three-game stretches for the Cowboys.
The way football seasons go doesn’t necessarily change from an archetype perspective. You have to win the winnable games, steal one you probably shouldn’t win, and push some difficult wins overall if you want to be a playoff team or legitimate contender. We see that every year from different teams.
If the goal is to stack together the winnable games then there should be a lot of stacking from Weeks 1 through 3 and from Weeks 9 through 11. In those weeks the Cowboys will likely play:
- Eli Manning
- Case Keenum
- Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Eli Manning
- Kirk Cousins
- Matthew Stafford
If you account for standard trouble throughout the rest of the season it’s very easy to see Dallas getting to double digit wins if they take down these six less-intimidating quarterbacks. Who among us doesn’t think that the Cowboys defense we’re growing accustomed to can stop any of these six (technically five, unless Daniel Jones plays)?
There are a lot of things that can change between now and when Dallas plays each team on this list; however, if things stay the same then it’s extremely fair to be confident that they will win these six games and if they do, well we might be cooking with gas.