In recent years, the NFL has done a great job of marketing the game. Every step of the offseason is designed to build intrigue and excitement for the following season. The last major event in the offseason, the NFL draft, saw an average of 11.2M viewers on its opening night. This week is sure to attract a lot of attention when the league is set to announce its full slate of games for the 2023 season.
We know the opponents, but soon we will know when the Dallas Cowboys will play those opponents. To make things more interesting, let’s predict the Cowboys’ schedule before it’s released. Plus, a brief synopsis of each opponent on this year’s calendar.
Week 1 at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 PM on Fox
The Cowboys would open the season on the road against Arizona. The Cardinals hired former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon to be their next head coach. Arizona finds itself in somewhat turbulent times. Two of their key defensive players (Budda Baker and Isaiah Simmons) have requested trades. The Cowboys have won six of their last seven against their old NFC East rival.
Week 2 at Washington Commanders, 4 PM on Fox
The following week the Cowboys head to the nation’s capital to face a Washington team that hopes to improve on the offensive side of the ball. Eric Bieneimy takes command of the division rival’s offense after ten seasons with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Meanwhile, the defense added cornerback Emmanuel Forbes with their first-round pick to bolster their secondary.
Week 3 vs. New York Giants, 8:20 PM on NBC
At this time last year, the Giants were thought to be left in the rearview mirror. Apparently, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, and they turned heads when they made the playoffs. It seems New York is further in their rebuild than many expected. Without the element of surprise, the Cowboys should understand what the Giants bring to the table. The Giants also reinvested in their secondary during the draft and signed Dexter Lawrence to a huge contract extension to be trouble in the trenches.
Week 4 vs. Los Angeles Rams, 4 PM on Fox
The Rams enter the new season looking to regain their championship form after an abysmal 2022. They are in, at the very least, a soft rebuild after parting ways with Michael Brockers, Allen Robinson, and Jalen Ramsey. There are also questions about the return to form of Cooper Kupp and Matt Stafford who ended last season on injured reserve.
Week 5 vs. New England Patriots, 1 PM on CBS
The last time these two teams met, we were treated to an overtime thriller. Dak Prescott was phenomenal and arguably had one of the best performances of his career. The Patriots’ offense is still looking to find its footing in the post-Tom Brady era and Mac Jones is a work in progress. New England also has big shoes to fill after losing Devin McCourty who announced his retirement last month.
Week 6 at Buffalo Bills, 8:20 PM (Mon.) ESPN
These two teams have a long-standing history with one another. The Bills and Cowboys met in back-to-back Super Bowls in the 90s with the Cowboys coming out on top in both matchups. Most recently, the Cowboys beat Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium in an improbable Monday night miracle in 2007 and the Cowboys lost decisively to Josh Allen and Co. on Thanksgiving in 2019.
Both teams have expectations to compete for championships and both fanbases have been kept waiting a long time. If all goes according to plan, we’ll see Trevon Diggs line up across from his brother, Stefon, on Monday Night Football.
Week 7 Bye
The Cowboys’ bye comes a little before the midway point of the season.
Week 8 at Philadelphia Eagles, 4:25 PM on Fox
Nearly halfway through the season, the Cowboys will head to the Lincoln Financial Field for a highly anticipated meeting against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have been having a solid offseason. They secured quarterback Jalen Hurts to a new contract, then made a trade to acquire Lions running back D’Andre Swift, and picked Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith with their two first-round draft picks. The Eagles are retooling for another deep playoff run.
Week 9 vs. Washington Commanders, 1 PM on Fox
The teams conclude their season series in an early Sunday afternoon game. Commanders head coach Ron Rivera is entering a pivotal season with the Commanders. The impending sale of the team leaves Rivera on uneven ground for the time being but some success against the division rival could help his chances. On paper, the Cowboys are the better team and should have the advantage at home.
Week 10 vs. Detroit Lions, 1 PM on Fox
This game could shape up to be a sneaky contender for Game of the Week. The Detroit Lions had one of the league’s most explosive offenses last season. They added former Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery who has a penchant for breaking tackles. Amon-Ra St. Brown is Detroit’s best weapon. He had 106 receptions for 1,161 yards and six scores for the Lions in 2022. This game could be a shootout.
Week 11 at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 PM on CBS
Ex-Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore welcomes his old team to SoFi Stadium to square off against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers are still looking to take a big step forward in terms of postseason success after a disappointing playoff loss to the Jaguars in which they squandered a huge lead. Justin Herbert is considered one of the game’s best young quarterbacks and has the offensive weapons to make a difference. Keenan Allen is returning for another season with the Chargers and the has also added Quentin Johnson to the mix.
Week 12 vs. Seattle Seahawks, 3:30 PM (Thur.) on CBS
These teams have played against each other on Thanksgiving three times, one time when the Cowboys destroyed the Seattle Seahawks 51-7 in 1980. Geno Smith had a career resurgence last season and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl along with NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Seattle also features an efficient running game led by Kenneth Walker. Seattle regains one of the franchise’s all-time best players after resigning Bobby Wagner following a short stint in Los Angeles.
Week 13 at Carolina Panthers, 8:20 PM (Thur.) on Fox
The Cowboys play on back-to-back Thursday nights, traveling to face the new-look Carolina Panthers. Since buying the Carolina Panthers a short five years ago, owner David Tepper is now on his third head coach. Frank Reich was named the head coach of the Panthers and the franchise is starting from scratch.
Wide receiver DJ Moore was traded away to Chicago in a package to land the first pick of the draft. With that pick, Carolina took Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. Joining him in Carolina are free-agent newcomers Miles Sanders and Adam Thielen. Also, the defense is still led by Shaq Thompson and Brian Burns.
Week 14 at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25PM on Fox
With former defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans now the head coach of the Houston Texans, Steve Wilks is tasked with leading the 49ers’ defense. The 49ers have a fierce defense that has given Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense fits in their last two postseason matchups. The 49ers still boast one of the most diverse and unique assortments of skill players on the offensive side under the direction of Kyle Shanahan.
However, the quarterback is a question mark. Brock Purdy injured his elbow in the NFC title game, Trey Lance is recovering from an injury himself, and the 49ers added Sam Darnold to the roster. Who lines up under center is anyone’s guess.
Week 15 at Miami Dolphins, 1 PM on Fox
Under head coach Mike McDaniel, the Dolphins made the postseason without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. This year the team hopes to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons, a feat they haven’t done since the early 2000s. Miami has one of the fast teams offensively with Jaylen Waddle, Tyreke Hill, and third-round selection, running back Devon Achane.
The defense also got a key addition, acquiring Jalen Ramsey from Los Angeles. The key factor to this team’s true potential is the health of Tagovailoa. If he returns to action and stays healthy, Miami is a formidable threat in the NFL. Dallas will be put to the test against the energetic, scrappy, and young team.
Week 16 vs. New York Jets, 4 PM on CBS
The Cowboys play their final interconference game of the regular season against a familiar foe who has had their number. Aaron Rodgers, now on the New York Jets, flies into Dallas for another showdown. Rodgers has an 8-3 all-time record against the Cowboys and nothing would make Cowboys fans happier than to beat Rodgers again.
The Jets have one of the most promising rosters in the NFL. Running back Breece Hall was having a tremendous season before suffering a knee injury. Garrett Wilson went over 1,000 yards in his rookie season and cornerback Sauce Gardner was named a First-Team All-Pro and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Cowboys’ defense will have to be ready to bring pressure in order to ground Rodgers and the Jets’ offense.
Week 17 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 8:20 PM on NBC
This game placed this late in the schedule should have huge implications for both teams. This game may decide seeding for the postseason if not more. Dak Prescott has an 8-3 record against the Eagles. You can expect this to be one of the highest-rated games of the season and will be played on Sunday Night Football.
Week 18 at New York Giants, 1 PM on Fox
The Cowboys end the regular season in the Meadowlands against the Giants. The Cowboys and their fans hope to avoid the yearly tradition of Sunday scoreboard-watching during the regular-season finale and secure a postseason spot before this game kicks off. Daniel Jones has been given a new contract by the Giants that pays him 40M annually and the Giants want a return on that investment. Saquon Barkley is playing on the non-exclusive tag and is still playing for a new contract.