During July, the Last Word On Sports NFL department has been analyzing the schedules of every team in the NFL. We will be ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult). This series will be split up into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) for each team. In this article, the Dallas Cowboys most difficult games are the focus.
Dallas Cowboys Most Difficult Games in 2017
1. Week 1 vs New York Giants
The good news for the Cowboys is that the most difficult game of 2017 is in week one. The bad news is that it’s against the Giants. Dallas only lost three games last season and two of those losses were at the hands of the Giants. New York’s defense matches up extremely well against Dallas’ offense and the Giants added Brandon Marshall opposite Odell Beckham Jr. to create a nightmare for the Cowboys defense.
2. Week 10 at Atlanta Falcons
This is the matchup everyone expected to be the NFC Championship last season. Last year’s MVP Matt Ryan and company will be looking to avenge the epic loss in Super Bowl LI. Atlanta’s high powered offense will be a nightmare for Dallas’ defense. The Cowboys don’t have anyone to guard Julio Jones and, even if they could, there’s still Mohamed Sanu. Also, the running duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is another concern.
3. Week 3 at Arizona Cardinals
This will be the second consecutive road game for Dallas after traveling to Denver in week two. The Cardinals were widely expected to be the NFC representative in Super Bowl LI at the beginning of last season. The defense is strong, even with the loss of Calais Campbell, and Carson Palmer is overdue for a big season. David Johnson is also one of the best running backs in the league right now.
4. Week 15 at Oakland Raiders
Dallas will be coming off of a physical matchup against the division rival Giants. Oakland was looking like a legitimate Super Bowl contender before losing Derek Carr last season. If Marshawn Lynch has any “Beast Mode” left in the tank, this offense looks extremely dangerous. Fortunately for Dallas, they may be able to take advantage of Oakland’s secondary but will have to get past Khalil Mack first.
5. Week 5 vs Green Bay Packers
This is the rematch of last year’s divisional round matchup that every Cowboys fan has been waiting for. The Packers will have ten days to prepare for the Cowboys which gives them a slight advantage. The good news is that Green Bay’s defense shouldn’t be able to stop Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dez Bryant. The bad news is that Dallas’ defense won’t be able to stop Aaron Rodgers. If last season’s playoff game is any indication of this season’s matchup, this will be an offensive shootout. Fortunately, Dallas’ bye week will follow this game.
6. Week 17 at Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have been notorious for spoiling things for the Cowboys on the last game of a regular season. Last year, the Cowboys had already clinched the number one seed in the playoffs so losing to the Eagles in their last game wasn’t a big deal. Prescott only threw four interceptions last season but three of them went to Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks.
7. Week 16 vs Seattle Seahawks
Seattle had a disappointing season last year on offense. Russell Wilson battled injury for most of the year and the run game never really took off for them. Dallas has the better offense hands down but Seattle has one of the best defenses in the NFL. The defense is the only reason this game will be difficult for the Cowboys. If Wilson and the offense turn things around this season, it will be extremely difficult but, if they perform like last season, Dallas has a chance to win a low-scoring game here.
8. Week 11 vs Philadelphia Eagles
Philly will be coming off their bye week while the Cowboys will be heading home after a tough match on the road against Atlanta. The extra time to prepare gives the Eagles a bit of an advantage but, fortunately, Dallas will have home field advantage. Carson Wentz will look to build on an impressive rookie season while Prescott looks to prove that he’s still the best quarterback from the 2016 class.
Be sure to check out the easiest games on the 2017 Dallas Cowboys schedule.