The new NFL schedule is out and we now know when the Dallas Cowboys will play against their 2022 opponents. While we’ve known the “who” for a while, there has been a lot of shuffling around as teams revamp their rosters via free agency and the draft.
With so many new players on each team, we thought it would be good to go through each of the Cowboys' games week-by-week and identity the most intriguing players from each of the opposing teams. Some of these players will just be the team’s biggest star and others might be players once linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. In fact, a few of them are some familiar faces who once wore the star.
WEEK 1 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Tom Brady
We thought we had seen the last of Brady, but it turns out he’s coming back for his 23rd season. Despite having six chances, the Cowboys have never beaten him, although they’ve come close a couple of times. One of those times was opening day last season, but unfortunately, Brady led a last-minute comeback (with the help of a missed OPI call) to beat Dallas 31-29. The Cowboys will get another crack at him, once again opening the season against the Bucs.
WEEK 2 - Cincinnati Bengals
WR Ja’Marr Chase
The rookie receiver hit the ground running last year catching 81 passes for 1,433 yards, 13 of which went for touchdowns. He’s an amazing talent who should be Trevon Diggs’ biggest challenge of the season as the Cowboys will play the reigning AFC Champions for the second consecutive year.
Good to see you, old friend: OT La’el Collins
After playing six seasons with the Cowboys, Collins was let go this offseason. The Bengals, who need all kinds of offensive line help, pounced on the opportunity. Now, fans will get to see DeMarcus Lawrence square off against his old teammate in a game that counts rather than just practice.
WEEK 3 - at New York Giants
EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux and OT Evan Neal
Thanks to a leaked draft sheet, we all know that Thibodeaux and Neal were the Cowboys' top two ranked players from this draft class. Both these blue-chip rookies were selected by a division rival, so that’s not ideal. Since we’ll see a lot of them and their performance will be linked to the team’s evaluation process, it will be hard not to monitor their career paths.
WEEK 4 - Washington Commanders
QB Carson Wentz
It’s so nice to have Wentz back in the NFC East as the veteran quarterback will attempt to play for his third team in as many years. The Philadelphia Eagles gave him a fair chance with five years of employment, but the Indianapolis Colts waved the white flag early, jumping ship with him after just one year. The Commanders are desperate at quarterback, so why not give him a shot?
WEEK 5 - at Los Angeles Rams
LB Bobby Wagner
Many of us held our breath that the Cowboys would make a big splash move in free agency by signing the six-time All-Pro Wagner, but it was those splashy Rams that got the deal done. The veteran linebacker signed a five-year, $50 million contract worth up to $65 million through incentives and every tackle he makes in this game will be met with groans as fans ponder what could’ve been.
WEEK 6 - at Philadelphia Eagles
WR A.J. Brown
The Eagles have drafted a lot of wide receivers in the first round in recent years, and most of them have not worked out. They were in a great position to try it again in this year’s draft with such a deep group of talented pass-catchers but opted to go after a proven receiver by trading for former Titan star receiver A.J. Brown. While Brown was amazing his first two years in the league, he missed four games to injury, and even when he played, his per-game totals were far less impressive. The Eagles gave him a four-year, $100 million extension so they are banking on last year being an anomaly and Brown getting back to his dominating ways.
WEEK 7 - Detroit Lions
EDGE Aidan Hutchinson
After the Jacksonville Jaguars took Trevon Walker with the first overall pick, the Lions snagged the Michigan star edge rusher with the next pick. How well the rookie performs in year one remains to be seen.
Another rookie alert: WR Jameson Williams
Before his knee injury, the Alabama star was viewed as the top WR in this draft class. The Lions pulled the trigger on him with the 12th overall pick and it will be interesting to see where he is at by Week 7.
WEEK 8 - Chicago Bears
QB Justin Fields
It was a tough go for rookie quarterbacks last year, and Fields was no exception. He started 10 games for Chicago, only winning two of them, and he had more interceptions than touchdown passes. But don’t let a bad rookie year lower your guard. He’ll be looking to prove naysayers wrong, and he has the athleticism to be a legit playmaker.
Good to see you, old friend: EDGE Robert Quinn
The trade for Quinn back in 2019 was one of the team’s best offseason moves in recent history as the veteran pass rusher returned to his old form to the tune of 11.5 sacks that year. He then signed a big contract with the Bears only to fall off the face of the earth (15 games, just two sacks). But he rebounded in a big way last year compiling 18.5 sacks on route to his second All-Pro season.
WEEK 9 - BYE
WEEK 10 - at Green Bay Packers
WR Christian Watson
The Cowboys won’t have to face Davante Adams as the Packers traded him to Las Vegas. Aaron Rodgers will look to find a new BFF and that could be Green Bay’s second-round pick, Watson. The North Dakota State star receiver was a player many of us had on our draft radar, but he was never a real option as the Packers pulled the trigger early to get him.
WEEK 11 - at Minnesota Vikings
EDGE Za’Darius Smith
There was a lot of drama this offseason when it comes to edge rushers as there were multiple instances where it seemed like the team was interested in signing a player, only to learn the player was signing elsewhere. Randy Gregory was the most notable instance, but Smith was another one where there was rumored interest. The veteran edge rusher was injured last year but had 26 sacks in the previous two seasons combined. Once again, this missed opportunity will add insult to injury if he’s wreaking havoc in Week 11.
Rookie alert: S Lewis Cine
Because the Georgia safety was the top-ranked player on the Cowboys draft sheet when their time to pick came, we can’t help but pay attention to how his NFL career shakes out.
WEEK 12 - New York Giants
EDGE Azeez Ojulari
The Cowboys had the opportunity to select the Georgia edge rusher from the 2021 NFL Draft but opted to go with cornerback Kelvin Joseph instead. Ojulari was a steal for the Giants and had an impressive eight-sack rookie season. While the rookie Thibodeaux will draw all the attention, don’t lose sight of the young pass rusher in year two.
WEEK 13 - Indianapolis Colts
RB Jonathan Taylor
Since entering the league, the former Wisconsin running back has been a machine churning out the yards. He’s had a 5.0+ yard per carry average in each of the first two years, including a monster 2,171 total yards from scrimmage/20-touchdown year in 2021. Right now, he’s the best in the biz, and he will be tough to contain this upcoming season.
WEEK 14 - Houston Texans
LG Kenyon Green
Many believed the A&M guard would remain in the state of Texas as he was the odds-on favorite to be the Cowboys' pick at 24. Well, he did remain in Texas, but just not with the team we were expecting as Houston picked him with the 15th overall pick.
Good to see you, old friend: DT Maliek Collins
Collins was a serviceable defensive tackle for the Cowboys from 2016-to 2019, but they let him walk in free agency. After a couple of one-year deals with the Raiders and Texans, Houston re-upped on him signing him to a two-year, $17 million deal this offseason.
WEEK 15 - at Jacksonville Jaguars
LB Devin Lloyd
Thought to be the top linebacker in this draft class, Utah’s Devin Lloyd slid all the way to pick 27. The Cowboys had the chance to take him in the first round so it will be interesting to see how his NFL career plays out.
WEEK 16 - Philadelphia Eagles
DT Jordan Davis
The Eagles’ top draft selection is an absolute beast and the Cowboys have struggled handling pressure in the middle. Philadelphia is stacked along the interior defensive line and with the addition of the Georgia star DT, this could be a real concern for Dallas.
A new face in a new place: LB Haason Reddick
The newly-signed linebacker is already earning disdain from Cowboys fans as Reddick took to Twitter to take a cheap shot at the Cowboys. Suffice to say, we’ll be pulling extra hard for him to stink it up in Philly.
WEEK 17 - at Tennessee Titans
WR Treylon Burks
The Titans parted ways with A.J. Brown, but quickly re-loaded by selecting his college pro comparison, Treylon Burks. Often brought up as a possible option at pick 24 for the Cowboys, Burks is a physical playmaker.
A new face in a new place: WR Robert Woods
It was surprising to see that the Rams could only get a sixth-round pick for Woods, but hey, this is an offseason of surprises. Woods quietly has been a solid producer and could be a sneaky-good add for Tennessee.
WEEK 18 - at Washington Commanders
EDGE Chase Young
Since Young entered the league, Washington has played the Cowboys four times, but can you believe none of those games have featured the Commanders’ edge-rushing star squaring off against Tyron Smith? Both players have taken turns missing extensive time, first Smith in 2020 and then Young last season. Will they finally meet this upcoming season? Maybe, but if so, it’s more likely to happen early versus in the regular-season finale as Smith stands a greater chance of being injured or inactive to rest up at that point.