Being that it’s only July, it’s pretty tough to predict which teams will matter come this fall. After all, just about everybody expected the Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC East in 2017, and we saw how flat those hopes fell late in the season.
Still, when you look at the 2018 schedule, a few matchups stick out immediately. Of course it is always important for the Cowboys to win within their division, but non-NFC East foes will test Dallas this season as well.
2018 is being called a “prove it” year for the coaching staff and quarterback, and if the Cowboys are going to get back in the playoffs and compete once again for NFC supremacy, they’ll need to circle these two particular games on the calendar.
Week 11: Cowboys at Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have become a thorn in the Cowboys side over the last few years, sending their season into a tailspin in both 2015 and 2017. Last time they met, Atlanta’s defensive line made Dak Prescott’s life a living hell and single handedly ruined Chaz Green’s career as a left tackle.
Entering this season, the Falcons are one of the most talented and dangerous teams in the already deep NFC. Combining their explosive offense with an athletic, fast, and young defense, the Falcons look like a threat to win the entire conference.
Just two seasons removed from a conference title, the Falcons will be a tough midseason test for the Cowboys, and one the Cowboys will need to win. Especially if there are Wild Card tiebreakers on the line.
Week 14: Cowboys vs. Saints
Speaking of the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints are arguably the best team in football, and will pose a massive test for these Cowboys late in the year.
New Orleans won the NFC South in 2017, and enters the 2018 season as the favorites in the league’s best division once again. Drew Brees returns to lead this high flying offense and passing game, but it was the Saints running game which surprised the league a year ago.
Alvin Kamara looks to be one of the best young running backs in all of football, and behind a more-than-serviceable offensive line I expect him to have a productive sophomore season. The Cowboys unproven defense will face possibly their biggest challenge during this week 14 contest.
This game is another important one for the Cowboys as they fight for their NFC playoff lives in this rather deep and talented conference.