We’re just about a month away from the start of the 2022 NFL regular season. The Dallas Cowboys have plenty of intriguing matchups on their schedule, but some will carry more weight than others. Today, we take a look at three matchups on Dallas’ schedule that will have an outsized impact on the overall success of their season.
Week 2: VS Cincinnati Bengals
Since the 2007 season, the Cowboys have made the playoffs six times (2007,2009, 2014,2016 2018, 2021). The Cowboys won their matchup in Week 2 in five of those six seasons. This year, the Cowboys welcome the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals to Dallas for a pivotal early-season showdown in the second week of the year.
Things have changed a little bit with the 17-game schedule, but teams that start 0-2 still have an extremely uphill battle to make the postseason. From 2002-2018 (16-game schedule), teams that started 0-2 made the playoffs just 11% of the time, as opposed to 42% for teams that started 1-1.
Now there’s no guarantee the Cowboys lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and start the season 0-1, but Tampa will be favored in the game and at least right now seems like a good bet to take home the win. So, if the Cowboys do lose to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the opener for the second straight season, they’ll desperately need to do what they did last year and get a win in Week 2.
However, It won’t be easy as the Bengals are an extremely talented team that could cause the Cowboys some problems on both sides of the ball.
Overall, if the Cowboys are unable to get a win in Week 1, their playoff hopes may be riding on their ability to beat the Bengals in Week 2. With tough matchups at the Rams and Eagles in the coming weeks, Dallas cannot afford to lose two straight home games to start the season.
Week 10: AT Green Bay Packers
This is going to be a game filled with plenty of emotions. Mike McCarthy will make his return to Green Bay and face off against his old signal-caller, Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers have dominated the Cowboys in recent memory, winning eight of the last nine matchups between the two teams, including going 4-1 in games at Lambeau Field. With this game being in mid-November, weather could certainly be a factor in this game.
Luckily, the Cowboys catch the Packers at a good time, as their bye week in Week 10 will give them a full 14-day break before the matchup. The Cowboys are going to need all the rest they can get; beating the Packers at home is no easy task. In the past two years, Green Bay is a shocking 15-1 at home during the regular season.
We’re going to learn a lot about who the Cowboys are during this game. If they can come into Green Bay and get a win against a very talented team on the road, it will show that Dallas needs to be taken seriously as a true contender in the NFC.
Week 16: VS Philadelphia Eagles
There’s a good chance that the NFC East comes down to this Week 16 matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles. This Christmas Eve matchup will be huge for both teams, as 10 weeks will go by between the first and second time the two teams matchup.
The Cowboys have two road games after the Eagles to end the season, while Philly gets two home games against the Saints and Giants. This gives the Eagles a little more leeway in this one, but it still is going to be one of the most important games of the season.