The full 2023 NFL schedule was finally released, and the immediate reaction is excitement at the quality of games outside of the division.
The Cowboys will be going up against the AFC East and NFC West during their latest quest for the franchise's sixth Lombardi Trophy.
We won't discuss divisional games in this article. Instead we will be ranking the 11 non-divisional games based on level of excitement for each game.
Part one of this three part series crossed the Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, and Seattle Seahawks off of the list.
For full analysis, and to read part one click here.
At a glance, the Cowboys' 2023 schedule is daunting. They play nine games vs teams who made the playoffs in 2022.
Four of those games will come against division rivals Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, but the other five are against non-division teams who made moves to get better in the offseason.
Rankings eleven through eight have been covered. Today, let's dive into seven through four.
7. Dallas Cowboys vs New England Patriots
When: Week 4, 3:25pm kickoff
Key acquisitions: OT Riley Reiff, WR Juju Smith-Schuster, TE Mike Gesicki
Key losses: S Devin McCourty
Last meeting: 2021, Week 6; Cowboys 35 Patriots 29
Prior to the previous win in Foxborough two years ago, the Cowboys had lost to Head Coach Bill Belichick, QB Tom Brady, and the Patriots six straight times.
The last win the Dallas franchise had vs New England came all way back in 1996.
Tom Brady is gone, but Belichick remains as arguably the greatest NFL head coach to ever set foot on the sidelines.
The Patriots' offense, now led once again by Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien, has spent the past two years adding talent around QB Mac Jones.
WR Juju Smith-Schuster and TE Mike Gesicki join a talented cast of playmakers including RB Rhamondre Stevenson, RB James Robinson, TE Hunter Henry, and WR Davante Parker.
The overtime matchup in 2021 totaled 64 points. Despite the offensive additions by the Patriots, the Cowboys' defense is much improved.
I expect a strategic, lower scoring game this time around.
6. Dallas Cowboys vs Detroit Lions
When: Week 17, Saturday 7:15pm kickoff
Key acquisitions: RB David Montgomery, CB Emmanuel Moseley, CB Cam Sutton
Key losses: RB D'Andre Swift
Last meeting: 2022, Week 7; Cowboys 24 Lions 6
The Cowboys defeated the Detroit Lions just last season behind a strong defensive effort to force five turnovers.
Don't let the final score fool you. The Cowboys held a slim lead at the end of the 3rd quarter, needing two 4th quarter touchdowns to pull away.
Head Coach Dan Campbell has instilled a belief into his team that they can match up with any opponent. They play hard for their coach.
They bite kneecaps, if you will.
This is evidenced by their NFL-high nine games decided by one score or less in 2022.
The scheduling of this particular game is key. Being played in Week 17, it very well could decide the playoff fate of one or both teams.
By then we will know what kind of team the 2023 version of the Lions will be.
Detroit ending the 2022 season by winning eight of their last 10 games is good reason to circle this game on the calendar.
5. Dallas Cowboys @ Miami Dolphins
When: Week 16, Sunday 3:25pm kickoff (Christmas Eve)
Key acquisitions: CB Jalen Ramsey, DB DeShon Elliott
Key Losses: CB Byron Jones
Last meeting: 2019, Week 3; Cowboys 31 Dolphins 6
I bet the Cowboys didn't think they'd be spending Christmas Eve at the beach in 2023, but that's exactly where they will be.
The Christmas Eve clash between these two teams with eyes set on a Super Bowl will likely have major playoff implications.
The Miami Dolphins haven't been considered true Super Bowl contenders since Dan Marino was still taking snaps, but they have made strides the past two seasons.
Under new Head Coach Mike McDaniels, the offense is now a huge threat.
A seed from the Kyle Shanahan tree, McDaniels has brought Shanahan's concepts to Miami, and has the horses to execute.
I personally believe QB Tua Tagovailoa is holding back the offense from more explosive plays downfield, but with the speed Miami possesses, short passes in space have been effective.
Speed demons like WR Tyreek Hill, WR Jaylen Waddle, RB Raheem Mostert, and rookie RB Devon Achane give the offense an element that is unmatched by any other team in the NFL.
This game is going to be fun to watch. Expect an explosive, high scoring affair.
4. Dallas Cowboys @ Buffalo Bills
When: Week 15, Sunday 3:25pm kickoff
Key acquisitions: G Connor McGovern, S Taylor Rapp
Key losses: WR Isaiah McKenzie
Last meeting: 2019, Week 13; Cowboys 15 Bills 26
Regardless of current team circumstances, the nostalgia alone usually makes the Dallas Cowboys vs the Buffalo Bills must see tv.
The last time these two teams met was four years ago.
The Bills entered AT&T Stadium, and ruined Thanksgiving for the Cowboys and all of their fans.
Both teams are remarkably better now than they were in 2019, both having made playoff runs since then, and with sights set on a Super Bowl in 2023.
A current hot topic circulating social media is the debate as to which quarterback is better. The Cowboys' Dak Prescott or the Bills' Josh Allen.
We won't be going down that rabbit hole today, but that storyline does add intrigue to the matchup.
Both teams possess strong armed quarterbacks who love to fit passes into small windows, and command high-powered offenses.
That type of play makes for exciting football.
Considering the timing of this matchup, we could see this game played in wintry weather. That would certainly add to the allure.
Expect lots of points, hard hits, and several references to the early 1990's by the broadcast crew.
That does it for rankings seven through four. Stay tuned for the top three most anticipated games in the Cowboys' 2023 schedule.
Next article dropping soon.