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3 Biggest Non-Divisional Games On Cowboys 2017 Schedule

Kevin Brady

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Ezekiel Elliott, Packers
(AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

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

Who Will Be Cowboys Most Improved Defender in 2017? 1

Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive tackle Maliek Collins (96) tries to work his way around a double team block by Green Bay Packers guard T.J. Lang (70) and Green Bay Packers guard Lane Taylor (65) during the 2016 NFL season NFC Divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers won the game 34-31. (Paul Spinelli via AP)

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

Byron Jones

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

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys At Seahawks: Key Matchups To Watch 1

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.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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Star Blog

Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to DallasCowboys.com

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.



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Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady

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Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success. NFL.com's Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.



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Amari Cooper Says He’s Focused On Football, Not His Next Contract

Kevin Brady

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Report: Cowboys Waiting Until After Season for Amari Cooper Contract Talks 1

It seems like all anyone has talked about this offseason is who the Cowboys should re-sign, and how they can go about doing so.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper, of course, is heavily involved in those conversations. The Cowboys used their 2019 first round pick to trade for the Pro Bowl wide out last season, and Cooper's emergence helped to turn their struggling offense around immediately.

In just 9 games with the Cowboys last season, he caught 53 passes for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. He quickly gained the trust of quarterback Dak Prescott, and exhibited a chemistry with the young passer that no one else really has to this point. Outside of maybe Cole Beasley in 2016, perhaps.

While the football world seems to be focusing on what Amari Cooper's contract will look like after 2019, the receiver himself claims to be solely focused on the upcoming season. Cooper spoke with ESPN's Todd Archer about this very subject, emphasizing where his mind lies at this time.

"I just handle my business...I'm more anxious about camp and actually playing football." - Amari Cooper.

Amari Cooper has just one year left on his contract as he plays under the fifth year option from his rookie deal. Cooper will make $13.9 million this season, putting him behind some of the league's other WR1s like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins.

There had been speculation around whether any of the Cowboys left with just one year on their contract would hold-out through parts of offseason activity, but Cooper alluded that it never seemed to cross his mind.

"I just want to get better and I love football. That's why I'm here" - Cooper.

Of course, Amari Cooper will play a huge role in the Cowboys offense in 2019. Combining him with a second year version of Michael Gallup, and new versatile threats like Tony Pollard and Randall Cobb, will help make the Dallas passing game as multiple as it's been in years.

The Cowboys will eventually need to get Amari Cooper locked up long term, but for the time being it seems like both he and the franchise are more focused on what will happen on the field in 2019 than in the negotiating room next Spring.



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