The NFL might be in full offseason mode at the moment, but as we near the end of July we can finally say the Dallas Cowboys 2017 season is actually right around the corner.
This means, it's time to start with way-too-early predictions and projections for this year's team. After taking a look at the schedule, I have identified three potential swing games for the Cowboys in 2017.
Of course, their divisional games will always be of the most importance, so I have left them off this list for now.
Instead, here are three potentially key non-NFC East games on the Dallas Cowboys schedule.
Week 5 Vs. The Green Bay Packers
Sure, this game will be played on just October 8th, meaning it is early enough in the season where a loss won't really kill you. And, as we all know, the Cowboys dominated the Packers early on last season before losing to them when it counted most anyway.
But this is precisely why this will be such a key game.
Green Bay has sort of had the Cowboys number over the last few seasons, and it will be important for the young Cowboys to set the tone that this year will be different. On October 8th, they will have their chance to do so by beating these Packers.
And on top of all of that, it will feel real good to enact a small measure of revenge on Green Bay for the 2016 Divisional Playoff game.
Week 10 At The Atlanta Falcons
Anytime you get a chance to play the reigning conference champions, it should be considered a big game.
The Cowboys match up with the Atlanta Falcons will come on the heels of a battle against Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs, making this a tough spot on the schedule. Still, the Cowboys will have an excellent opportunity to assert their dominance during this week 10 meeting.
Both the Falcons and Cowboys have been anointed the new class of the NFC after last season, with many picking them to match up in the conference title game.
Last year's top two seeds in the NFC each enter 2017 with sky high expectations, and may both be leading their divisions by the time this game kicks off.
Week 16 Vs. The Seattle Seahawks
While the Falcons and Cowboys try to usher in their new era of NFC dominance, the Seattle Seahawks will be trying to hold on tightly to their own. While offensive line troubles have plagued the Seahawks last two playoff runs, they are still considered to be among the conference's elite teams.
Whether or not this will still be true after 2017 is left to be seen, but for now this could very well be a pivotal late season game in terms of playoff seeding and positioning.
There is also a very good chance these two will be fighting off teams like the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants for supremacy in their own divisions respectively.
Regardless, this will be a tough third game in a brutal December stretch for the Cowboys at the end of their season, with games against the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants preceding it.