Following the release of the 2023 schedule, there have been many discussions surrounding who the Cowboys will have to play this upcoming season. The team will have six primetime games, tied for the most in the NFL, and seven nationally-televised games. The Dallas Cowboys defense will have to play several elite quarterbacks throughout their schedule. This is a list of the top five opposing passers the team will have to play against this upcoming season.
The 2023 Dallas Cowboys schedule! pic.twitter.com/Xun93FwGGN— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) May 12, 2023
1. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles, Weeks 9 and 14
While Cowboys fans won’t like hearing this, the best quarterback currently in the NFC is Eagles QB Jalen Hurts. In just his third season with the team, Hurts produced 22 passing touchdowns, six interceptions, and a 101.6 passer rating. He also did damage on the ground, rushing the ball for 165 carries, 760 rushing yards, and 13 touchdowns.
Along with being a serious contender for NFL’s Most Valuable Player award up until his injury late in the regular season, Hurts led the Eagles to win the division and the NFC conference prior to losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
The Cowboys defense will continue to have their hands full defending the dual-threat that Hurts brings to the field in 2023.
Every Big-Time Throw from Jalen Hurts (2022) pic.twitter.com/QK0PPioSda— James Foster (@NoFlagsFilm) May 9, 2023
2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills, Week 15
Continuing the trend of dual-threat quarterbacks, comes Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen. Allen has been one of the league’s most electric passers since being drafted by the Bills in the 2018 NFL draft. He is widely known as having one of the strongest arms around the league, combined with the ability to improve the players around him. Like Hurts for the Eagles, Allen helps the Bills on the ground as well. Throughout his five seasons with the Bills, Allen has rushed for 38 touchdowns. This is the most in the NFL since 2018 when he was drafted.
Where Allen’s game has drawn some criticism the past two seasons is his decision-making with the football. Despite throwing for 35 touchdowns in 2022 as well as 36 touchdowns in 2021, he also added 14 interceptions in 2022 as well as 15 interceptions in 2021. Allen has the tendency to get a little bit careless with his decisions as a passer, allowing the opposing defense to capitalize. This trend could be fruitful for the Dallas defense; the team has been at the top of the league in takeaways since Dan Quinn took over as defensive coordinator in Dallas. While Josh Allen is a better passer of the football than Jalen Hurts, his continued trait of turning the ball over and his inability to get as deep in the postseason as Hurts has thus far, ranks him second on this list.
3. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers, Week 6
When it comes to accuracy, it is arguable that the most accurate quarterback on this list is Los Angeles QB Justin Herbert. Herbert has a knack for throwing some of the prettiest footballs around the league, finding his receivers in tight windows. His passing ability is just as evident in the stat sheet as it is on film, as Herbert has thrown for 14,089 yards and 94 touchdowns in his three seasons with the Chargers.
Herbert won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2020, and has continued to get increasingly better as the years go on, and he becomes more comfortable in the NFL. One of the more notable storylines involving this matchup is that Herbert’s play-caller will be none other than former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Moore was the offensive coordinator throughout several statistically impressive years for the offense in Dallas, however, he was let go by the team after being unable to reach expectations in the playoffs.
While discussing playoff success, this is a large reason why Herbert is ranked underneath the other two quarterbacks ahead of him. Herbert has failed to do anything noteworthy in the postseason in his young career. While Herbert has a lot skill as a passer, he will be expected to make a deeper playoff run with his talented roster in Los Angeles.
4. Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets, Week 2
The Dallas Cowboys just can’t seem to avoid playing their kryptonite, QB Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has won six of his last seven matchups with the Cowboys. Regardless of how his season seems to be going, or how the Packers look as a team, Rodgers continuously plays his best football when he is going up against the Cowboys.
Rodgers is 39 years old, and reaching the final stages of his professional playing career. With that being said, he is still very capable of reading a defense, making elite throws, and elevating his supporting cast around him. Rodgers is joining a New York Jets roster that has a plethora of young talent and potential on both sides of the football.
Rodgers has achieved more throughout his Hall of Fame career than any other quarterback the Cowboys will be playing in the 2023 regular season. He is a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, and Super Bowl Champion. With that being said, his age is starting to catch up to him, throwing under 4,000 passing yards last season for the first time since 2017. He also added 12 interceptions, a significant jump from the four interceptions he threw just one season prior in 2021. Regardless, Rodgers is no easy matchup for an NFL organization, especially the Dallas Cowboys.
5. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins, Week 16.
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa had a less-than-impressive first two seasons with the Miami Dolphins in 2020 and 2021. In his first two seasons with the team, he threw for a combined 4,467 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.
However, in 2022, the league saw a significant jump in production from the former college football national champion and Heisman winner. He had 3,548 passing yards, 25 passing touchdowns, and eight interceptions with a 105.5 rating. He did this while only playing 13 of 17 possible games for the team.
Tagovailoa’s passing has always been questioned by analysts across the league, as he does not have a very powerful arm, and is the least accurate on this list. Regardless of this, he is continuously improving as a professional quarterback, and is starting to lead the Miami Dolphins to a brighter and more successful future with the team. He should not be taken lightly in 2023.