Everyone has their own things they want to see when the new NFL schedule comes out. As Cowboys fans, we always want to see who is our Thanksgiving opponent, and the season-opener always holds a little bit of an elevated position. There things like prime times games or when the division matchups are scheduled also usually hold a lot of interest.
Stephen Jones also has things he anticipates when the schedule is coming out, just like everyone in Cowboys Nation. He articulated those thoughts in a podcast with Mike Florio at PFT. He has one concern that is first and foremost.
“I think the biggest thing I look for is just are we on the road more than two times [in a row]?” Jones said. “That’s always tough if you’ve got to go on a three-game road trip.”
Fortunately, the Cowboys do not have a three-game road trip this year. As pointed out by Florio, the Cowboys only have two, two-game road stretches, Week 7 & 8, and Week 13 & 14.
More of what Jones looks for in the schedule release.
Jones added that he then looks for the games played before and after the team’s consecutive Thursday games in late November/early December, and the games before and after the bye week.
“Then of course you’re looking at your night games,” Jones said. “Are those on the road or are they at home? Those are some of the things. Obviously you look at your division. That’s huge in terms of when you play them, what time of year, those type of things.”
That’s a lot that Jones looks for so let’s unpack some of them. You can reference the entire Cowboys schedule here.
Surrounding the Cowboys Thursday/Thursday stretch of Thanksgiving and the week after (Baltimore), they travel to Minnesota before Thanksgiving for a 4:25 PM ET game, and after the Baltimore game they go to Cincinnati for a 1 PM ET game. The trip to the Vikings is preceded by the teams bye week, and the trip to the Bengals is 10 days after the Ravens game.
The Cowboys have five prime time games consisting of the opener at the Rams, a home contest with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, the huge matchup in Week 8 on the road versus Philadelphia, the Thursday night contest in Baltimore, and a Sunday night game at home versus the 49ers. Three out of five of those night games are on the road.
Another person who was looking at prime time games was newly-signed defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. When he saw how many prime time games he would be a part of in his first season in Dallas, he was ecstatic.
“Excluding Thursday Night games, in 11 years, I’ve played four primetime games,” McCoy said. “So the experience to be a Cowboy…[Tyrone Crawford] is used to this, I’m not!”
@Geraldini93 on how excited & grateful he is to play FIVE PRIMETIME games this season with the #DallasCowboys!— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) May 8, 2020
Watch full Schedule Release Show presented by @SeatGeek → https://t.co/UVbBeasgiR pic.twitter.com/8aktMuhhUt
McCoy had only played in one Sunday Night Football game throughout his career, which happened to be against the Cowboys back in 2016. He’ll match his Sunday Night experience quickly as Dallas takes center-stage on opening weekend at the brand-new So-Fi Stadium in Los Angeles against the Rams.
So it’s not just the fans who wait for that schedule to come out each year and start breaking down the games, the front-office and the players do it, too.