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Cowboys news: Jerry Jones gets his wish as Cowboys open 2020 at Rams new stadium in LA

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Jerry Jones asks and receives an opening night in prime time, in a brand new stadium.

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Cowboys to open 2020 season in Rams' new stadium in prime time - Jori Epstein, USA Today
What Jerry Jones wants, he usually gets and that includes a blockbuster opening matchup with the Rams in their new stadium.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanted to christen SoFi Stadium in the greater Los Angeles area.

With a prime-time season opener scheduled against the Rams, he gets his wish.

“I had my fingers crossed,” Jones said Thursday night on the Cowboys’ live virtual draft show. “In that entertainment capital of the world on that iconic stage, your Dallas Cowboys are going out there.”

Fast start a key for Mike McCarthy era in Dallas with 30th ranked strength of schedule - Todd Archer, ESPN
Dallas will need to capitalize on three consecutive home games in October -- all against young QBs -- to give it enough energy in the second half.

If the Cowboys want to return to the playoffs in Mike McCarthy’s first year as coach, they must get off to a fast start. Of the first nine opponents, only two made the playoffs last season (Seattle, Philadelphia), and the Cowboys have three consecutive home games in October that could give them energy into the second half. They will face young quarterbacks — Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray — during that stretch with Mayfield and Jones playing their first seasons under new coaches. A year ago, the Cowboys needed a fast start to overcome a more difficult closing stretch, but a three-game losing streak, including one to a winless New York Jets, ultimately haunted them in their 8-8 finish in 2019.

Cowboys schedule 2020: Dates & times for all 16 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction - Vinny Iyer, Sporting News
A Cowboys schedule breakdown with a final record prediction.

Bottom line: The Cowboys could go in either direction from .500. But with Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott still together as highly compensated offensive triplets, and with Mike Nolan scheming up a new-look defense that can help mitigate its veteran personnel losses, Jones isn’t wrong to have grand expectations for the beginning of the McCarthy era.

Things ended roughly for McCarthy in Green Bay, but his track record suggests he can get the best out of Prescott and all of his Dallas teammates with an aggressive approach. Beating out Philadelphia to take back the division will be tough, especially in a loaded NFC, but it might require improving only two games to double-digit wins. At worst, the Cowboys should be considered dangerous wild-card contenders.

Record prediction: 10-6

Dallas Cowboys Release 2020 Schedule - Matt Galatzan, 105.3 the Fan
The Cowboys SOS is pretty easy, but the back half of the schedule is tough.

The Cowboys strength of schedule ranks 30th out of 32 NFL teams, with only the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, both of whom Dallas faces next season, below them in the rankings.

Dallas will face teams with a combined record of 117-138-1 and a combined winning percentage of .459 from 2019, including a total of five games against the teams with three of the top four selections in the NFL Draft.

Notable dates in the first half of the season for the Cowboys include a Sunday Night Football matchup in Los Angeles against the Rams in the season opener on September 13th, a trip to Seattle two weeks later to take on Russel Wilson and the Seahawks, and a November 1st trip to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles.

Dallas will also face the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football on October 19th.

On a much more difficult back half of the schedule, Dallas will travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings, followed by a Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Washington Redskins. After that, the Cowboys will take on Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, and the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers in consecutive weeks, before wrapping the season up with division matchups against the Eagles in Arlington, and the Giants in New York.

Once again, Cowboys draw most prime time games in 2020 season - K.D. Drummond, CowboysWire
Surprise, surprise, the Cowboys are a top box office draw for prime time football.

Now all eyes will focus on deciphering how the league scheduled around the real possibility not every game will be played and that some stadiums will not be ready, or allowed to open. The official schedule is now out and Dallas has an interesting mix of opponents. The schedule features a maximum of five primetime games, as America’s Team always brings in maximum ratings for whatever network carries their games.

Three games will be on Sunday Night football, one on Monday night football and their new tradition of playing the Thursday after Thanksgiving will have all eyes on them.

Stephen Jones speaks on potentially hosting games with no fans & being prepared for precautions - SportsDay DFW
Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones admits that Cowboys, like all NFL teams, have to be prepared for contingency plans with the 2020 season.

“In these times, you have to think about those things. That’s just the world we live in. We’re very fortunate at the league level that we’ve got great leadership, we’ve got great people that are involved at the league level giving guidance and of course, obviously, we’re certainly proud of our executives and our executive team in terms of all the thought that goes into what the options may be as we move forward.

“Jerry and I are big believers as we do move forward that you don’t want to really get too far out in front of your skis here. We just don’t know what we may be looking at, but we certainly want to be prepared if all that happens.”

As most outlets push Dak vs. Dalton narratives, they miss true value of Andy Dalton's signing - DallasCowboys.comn
The value of the Cowboys signing QB Andy Dalton has nothing to do with leverage in negotiations with Dak Prescott, it's about improving the roster.

Dalton has played nine years in the NFL, compiling a 70-61-2 record in the regular season. He’s 0-4 in the playoffs but hasn’t been since 2016. Dalton and the entire Bengals organization has struggled the last four years (20-35-1 as a starter), which led to the drafting of LSU’s Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick just two weeks ago.

Overall, Dalton has a career 87.5 passer rating and was 40-23-1 in his first four seasons with the Bengals, compared to Prescott’s 40-24 record after four years.

But Dalton isn’t the only quarterback added to the group here in the last week. The Cowboys drafted Ben DiNucci in the seventh round out of James Madison, making him just the ninth quarterback in the last 31 years selected by the franchise.

Both Dalton and DiNucci could make the roster, but like most teams, the Cowboys would ideally prefer that neither of him takes a meaningful snap in 2020.

Cowboys' Ben DiNucci reminds Mike McCarthy 'of a young Marc Bulger' - Todd Archer. ESPN
Ben DiNucci's senior season numbers caught the eye of Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy and now he gets to play for the storied franchise.

But DiNucci caught McCarthy’s eye. Including the playoff run, DiNucci completed 268 of 378 passes for 3,441 yards with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2019. He also had seven rushing touchdowns. He cut his interceptions in half from his junior season.

“Very accurate,” McCarthy said of DiNucci. “Reminds me of a young Marc Bulger, someone that just, as you look for comparables, he is a young man that has played the position his whole life. He will be an excellent addition to our quarterback room as you continue to develop that room with our other two young guys [Cooper Rush and Clayton Thorson] and [starter] Dak [Prescott].”

Since McCarthy spoke about DiNucci following the draft, the Cowboys added veteran Andy Dalton as the backup quarterback and released Rush, who had been Dallas’ No. 2 quarterback since 2017. Keeping three quarterbacks is not something the Cowboys have done a lot recently, but the rosters have expanded from 53 to 55 as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.

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