The level of feelgood in Cowboys Nation right now is off the charts! Dallas’ 40-0 shutout of the New York Giants, on the road in primetime, was as good a start to a season as some of us have ever witnessed. But being only one game, and part of a very wild NFL Week 1, is it a sign of things to come or just another anomaly?
Let’s face it, this past week went off the rails throughout the league. It started Thursday night when the Chiefs, albeit missing Travis Kelce and Chris Jones, lost at home to the Lions. Who had the Bengals getting curb-stomped by the Browns, the Bucs upsetting the Vikings, the 49ers trouncing the Steelers, or the Patriots nearly embarrassing the Eagles? Who would’ve imagined the Bills losing to the Jets after Aaron Rodgers was injured on their opening drive?
But that’s Week 1 these days. Bad weather changed the landscape in some of these games, but it’s become consistent that teams don’t look like what we expected early in the season. Changes in offseason routines, training camp intensity, and how much starters play in preseason are all involved.
While the Cowboys have generally been projected to be a better team than the Giants in 2023, nobody saw what happened Sunday night coming. Between the game being in New York, big divisional stakes, and the weather, a close NFC East rivalry game was expected. Heck, Dallas even had the most critical injury with left guard Tyler Smith missing the opener.
But we all saw what happened. After one solid opening drive the Giants completely fell apart. Whether it was the Cowboys’ pass rush or their own errors, New York couldn’t stop the bleeding. Some of us even started to feel bad for them, well, maybe just a little.
Dallas earned being able to bask in the glow of this historic night. But now comes the hard part, proving that this huge win wasn’t just another Week 1 fluke.
Week 2 may not be the best gauge now that Rodgers will be out. The Jets rallying against a longtime rival at home, especially with Buffalo having plenty of their own self-inflicted wounds, is one thing. Going on the road and asking Zach Wilson to handle this Dallas defense is another.
But even this next game still gives the Cowboys an opportunity to maintain momentum. This New York team may not play as disastrously as the last one, but they should still be outmatched thanks to the QB disparity and offensive line issues. Dallas won’t have much excuse to come away with anything short of another strong victory.
The real tests may not come until October. Week 3 features the Cowboys heading to Arizona, perhaps one of the league’s worst teams this year. They did give Washington a surprising run for their money on Sunday, but that was probably another of those season-opening oddities.
The tough Week 4-6 stretch against the Patriots, 49ers, and Chargers isn’t far away. We’ll know so much more about who the Cowboys really are going into the bye week following Zeke’s return, Kellen Moore’s attempt at revenge, and the showdown with our recent postseason nemesis. Hopefully, those teams will be nervous about facing a 3-0 juggernaut.
Dallas did the job in Week 1, crushing a division rival and making a big statement. But how they perform in the coming weeks will decide if that statement was just a wild shout or a true herald for the Cowboys’ arrival and ascension as a championship contender. Was what we saw on Sunday night just the beginning, or was it just an aberration? Only they can answer that question in the games ahead.