Continuity was generally the theme for the Dallas Cowboys Football after winning the NFC East and exiting in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
Jason Garrett returns as the head coach, and the Cowboys didn’t make any splashy additions to the roster beyond signing Randall Cobb and George Iloka and acquiring Robert Quinn. Dallas re-signed Demarcus Lawrence and is obviously counting on a full season of Amari Cooper to make a big difference.
Cooper was excellent following his trade to Dallas. He led the team in receiving yards (725) and receiving touchdowns (six) despite only making nine appearances. The Cowboys are right to believe he could provide a big lift to the offense right out of the gate.
Speaking of the offense, Dallas fired offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, with 30-year-old Kellen Moore taking over as his replacement. It’s a risky move considering Moore has only one year of experience on an NFL sideline, serving as the team’s quarterbacks coach in 2018.
Between his role in promoting Moore and himself working on an expiring deal, Garrett is likely coaching for his job in 2019.
With the NFL’s official release of the schedule Wednesday, here’s a look at the road ahead for Dallas.
Cowboys Game Schedule 2019
Week 1: vs Giants on Sept. 8 at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 2: vs Redskins on Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 3: vs Dolphins on Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 4: vs Saints on Sept. 29 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC
Week 5: vs Packers on Oct. 6 at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 6: vs Jets on Oct. 13 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 7: vs Eagles on Oct. 20 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: vs Giants on Nov. 4 at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
Week 10: vs Vikings on Nov. 10 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC
Week 11: vs Lions on Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 12: vs Patriots Game on Nov. 24 at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 13: vs Bills on Nov. 28 at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 14: vs Bears Game on Dec. 5 at 8:20 p.m. ET on Fox/NFLN/Amazon
Week 15: vs Rams on Dec. 15 at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 16: vs Eagles Game on Dec. 22 at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 17: vs Redskins on Dec. 29 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Inter-division play sees the Cowboys take on the AFC East and NFC North.
This is probably the best year to draw the AFC East.
The New England Patriots have to replace a retired Rob Gronkowski and Trey Flowers, who signed a five-year, $90 million deal with the Detroit Lions, two players who played key roles in their Super Bowl LIII title run.
The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are probably still another year away from seriously challenging New England, and the Miami Dolphins are starting a necessary rebuild, regardless of what Brian Flores might say.
Dallas does have to play New England and New York on the road, which is less than ideal.
Navigating the NFC North won’t be easy.
The aforementioned Lions appear to be the division’s worst team by some distance. The Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, on the other hand, could all be jostling for playoff position. The Cowboys at least host the Packers, thus avoiding a trip to Lambeau Field.
Dallas was unfortunate to draw the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints. The two teams met in last year’s NFC Championship Game, and they should once again be Super Bowl contenders in 2019.
Those games will at least serve as a barometer for where the Cowboys stand against the NFC elite.
The NFC East is shaping up to be a two-horse race between the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
The New York Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns and are set to continue rolling with Eli Manning as the starting quarterback.
Alex Smith’s compound fracture effectively wrote the Washington Redskins off as playoff contenders in 2018 and 2019 as well. Acquiring Case Keenum isn’t even a great stopgap option.
The Giants and Redskins look like sub-.500 teams, which leaves the Eagles as the biggest threat to Dallas.
The Cowboys won both of their games against the Eagles in 2018 and finished one game ahead in the standings to win the division. Thirteen points were the difference in those head-to-head meetings, so the gap between Dallas and Philadelphia wasn’t wide.
Once again, the results of their two games are likely to have a big say on who claims the NFC East.