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Identifying The Toughest Adversaries On The Cowboys’ 2017 Schedule

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - A Game Of Survivor: Jason Garrett Stands Tall Among NFC East Coaches 1

On paper, the Dallas Cowboys 2017 schedule certainly looks a lot tougher than what they faced a season ago. That's what happens when you finished dead last in the division one year and win the division the next. But, you won't hear the Cowboys complaining about their 2017 schedule. That's just not there nature.

I previously shared with all of you my 2017 win/loss prediction for the Dallas Cowboys. I thought I would follow that up by identifying the toughest adversaries the Cowboys will face in each game of the 2017 season. Let me know if you agree or disagree with who I identified as being the toughest adversaries the Cowboys will face this season.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants

The Dallas Cowboys will open of the 2017 season against the New York Giants at home and see them once again in Week 14. The Giants are arguably the Cowboys toughest NFC East division opponent, which pretty much guarantees these games will be close and hard-fought, ultimately coming down to the final seconds.

Make no mistake, the Giants have a talented team, but I believe the toughest adversary they have on their roster is wide receiver OBJ. Beckham Jr. is one of the best WRs in the entire league and has to be accounted for on every single play. He will be a tough matchup for the Cowboys' young secondary, especially early in the season.

Von Miller, DE, Denver Broncos

In Week 2 of the 2017 season, the Dallas Cowboys will play their first road game against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos are one of the more talented teams in the entire NFL, but the quarterback play is really the only thing holding them back from being a serious Super Bowl contender.

The toughest adversary the Cowboys will see against the Broncos is without a doubt defensive end Von Miller. Miller is arguably the best pass rusher in the entire NFL and I can almost guarantee that he will be matched up against whoever the Cowboys employ at the right tackle position. The Cowboys have to have a plan to help neutralize Miller from putting pressure on Dak Prescott and disrupting the passing game if they want to win this game.

David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

In Week 3, the Dallas Cowboys will play their first back to back road game of the season when they take on the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are a talented team, but they also have quite a few aging players in key positions that could hinder their performance in 2017.

It's no secret running back David Johnson is the key to success for the Cardinals, which makes him the toughest adversary against the Cowboys. Johnson is one of the best all-around RBs in the league and the one player the Cowboys' defense has to keep in check. Fortunately, the defense should be prepared for Johnson after practicing against Ezekiel Elliott.

Wade Phillips, DC, Los Angeles Rams

After back-to-back road games, the Dallas Cowboys return home to take on the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4. This should be one of the most winnable games on the 2017 schedule for the Cowboys, but nothing is a given in the NFL.

The Rams are in the middle of a rebuild, so there's not a lot of individual players Dallas should really have to worry about. I thought about going with Todd Gurley or Aaron Donald here, but I think the toughest adversary is going to be former Cowboys head coach and current Rams defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips.

Phillips is switching the Rams defense from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4, but LA has quite a bit of high draft picks invested on that side of the ball. You can bet Phillips wants to stick it to the team he was the last head coach of, especially since he feels he didn't get a fair chance with to begin with.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

If there is one team on the Cowboys' 2017 schedule I'm tired of seeing, it's the Green Bay Packers. Just about every time these two teams square off there is a controversial call that ultimately decides the outcome of the game, but let's hope it's different Week 5.

The toughest adversary the Cowboys will see from Green Bay is 100% Aaron Rodgers. There simply isn't another player on the entire Green Bay roster that is more important to the team than Rogers. They are going to win or lose by how well Rogers performs in 2017.

San Francisco 49ers Defensive Front

Coming off their bye week, the Dallas Cowboys head out on the road once again to take on the San Francisco 49ers. Like the LA Rams, the 49ers are in the middle of a rebuild with very little talent on either side of the ball that should concern the Cowboys.

The 49ers have invested quite a few of their high draft picks in their defensive line, which likely makes them the toughest adversary for Dallas. Arik Armistead, DeForest Buckner, and Solomon Thomas were all high draft picks and could give the Cowboys talented offensive line some trouble. But, it's nothing the Cowboys' OL shouldn't be able to handle.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins

In Week 7, the Dallas Cowboys play their second back to back games of the 2017 season when they travel to Washington to take on the Redskins. They will play each other once again in Week 13. Just like every other NFC East division game, it's guaranteed to be a hard-fought battle that comes down to the very end.

The Redskins continue to improve their roster and become a more complete team, but their toughest adversary for Dallas has to be quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins will have nearly an entire new set of starting WRs, making the Redskins best chance of winning in 2017 coming from the QBs arm and the connection he develops with his receivers.

Tyreek Hill, WR/KR, Kansas City Chiefs

After back-to-back road games, the Dallas Cowboys finally return home to take on a talented Kansas City Chiefs team in Week 9. The Chiefs were a controversial call away from being one of the final few teams left the playoffs in 2016, and have a roster packed full of talent.

With the team as talented as the Chiefs, it was a little difficult narrowing down the biggest adversary for the Cowboys. But, I finally decided on second-year WR/KR Tyreek Hill. He is dangerous anytime the ball is in his hands and can score from anywhere on the field. He will be a difficult matchup problem for both the Cowboys secondary and special teams units.

Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

The Dallas Cowboys will head out on the road in Week 10 to take on a very talented Atlanta Falcons team. The Falcons have one of the best offenses in the entire NFL and a young defense that shows a lot of promise.

I personally believe the toughest adversary for the Cowboys against the Falcons is none other than wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones is one of the best WRs in the entire NFL and when healthy can take over a game by himself. This will be a tough matchup for the Cowboys young secondary, but hopefully they can come up with a game plan to limit Jones' effectiveness.

Fletcher Cox, DT, Philadelphia Eagles

The Dallas Cowboys play the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11 and 17 of the 2017 season. This NFC East divisional matchup is always entertaining because these two teams truly hate one another. The Eagles are a very talented team, but not when you compare their roster to the Cowboys.

I think the toughest adversary in this matchup is defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Cox has developed into one of the better DTs in the entire NFL and is effective in both the running and passing game. I would be surprised if he has matched up with Zack Martin very often, instead he will probably be playing against whoever the Cowboys insert at left guard.

Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

The san diego chargers helmet logo

The Los Angeles Chargers are one of the more confusing teams to analyze on the Cowboys' 2017 schedule. They have a balanced blend of veterans and youth throughout their roster and are talented enough to give the Cowboys some trouble.

The Chargers have a talented pass rushing duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, but I still believe the toughest adversary for the Cowboys is quarterback Philip Rivers. This Week 12 matchup will ultimately come down to how Rivers performs and if the Cowboys defense can do enough to keep him out of the end zone. Rivers may be one of the older players on the roster, but he still has plenty left in the tank.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders

In week 15, the Dallas Cowboys travel to Oakland to take on a talented and playoff caliber Raiders team. This team is built much like the Cowboys, which should make for a very entertaining/close ballgame.

The Raiders were able to lure Marshawn Lynch out of retirement to become their featured back and it is a gamble that could pay off huge in 2017. A year away from the game could have benefited Lynch, because he is entering that age were players bodies start to break down. If he returns to anywhere near "Beastmode", the Cowboys defense could have their hands full.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

The Dallas Cowboys play their final home game of the 2017 season against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16. Hopefully the Cowboys have secured their playoff spot by now, but if not this game could have huge implications to their playoff hopes/seeding.

It would've been too easy to go with one of Seattle's talented defensive players, but I think the Cowboys' offense can do enough to put points on the board. I believe quarterback Russell Wilson will be the toughest adversary in this matchup. If the Cowboys defense can fluster and limit Wilson's productivity, they should be able to put enough points on the board to win this game.

Share your thoughts on who you think the toughest adversaries are on the Cowboys' 2017 schedule in the comment section below.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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3 Comments
  • Donny Cook

    I’ll respectfully disagree about the “easy” schedule last year….Dallas faced some not to shabby defenses..like the Vikings, Eagles, Bengals (yes they have pretty solid players), Pittsburgh….this year, I see the same thing, I see some good defensive fronts that Dallas will face but with questionable offenses such as the Giants…..they still have Eli Manning as QB, which Eli will we see, the wild Eli Manning that gets picked 2,3 times a game or the the Eli that can light up a secondary, same for Kirk Cousins, look, I am not saying there bad QB’s you don’t know what your going to see….there’s 4 games right there, then there’s Denver…who’s gonna be the QB…Chad Kelly? Paxton Lynch? Trevor Siemian? Then the Rams…has Jared Goff developed more this offseason instead of being the 5 TD pass to 7 INT QB? Same for the Chiefs…all due respect to Tyreek Hill…Chiefs said they wont be using him as much in the return game although I agree dangerous anytime he gets the ball in his hands..you don’t know which Alex Smith you’ll get either…then there’s the Falcons..which I am glad you brought up…but I am not even close to being afraid of…are they going to be more balanced….they lost the SB because they went back to passing, Patriots couldn’t stop Freeman….then there’s the chargers…..yes Phillip Rivers can light up a secondary…but he’s also a turnover machine…last 2 years alone 34 interceptions ..I think he’s trending downhill….unless they start using Melvin Gordon more and becoming more balanced….I just don’t see any of these teams as a threat….when you have QB’s turning the ball over…I don’t care how good your defenses are…Zeke and Dak attack will wear them down…but when you want to talk schedules….who have the Patriots faced that they beat that will wow you??

    • Brian Martin

      Donny, I agree with just about everything you said. If I do however think the 2017 schedule is a little tougher than last year’s, but the Cowboys are capable of winning every game.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com/ Bryson Treece

      Also have to go deeper than just who they are (stout D vs weak D, when, where, etc.). Cowboys’ 2016 schedule was based on a 4-12 finish in ’15. It is unreasonable to think it would be as difficult as a schedule earned by a 13-3 season. So yeah, 2017 is a tougher schedule; it’s how the league is played.

      I believe the Cowboys can do with this year’s schedule what they did with last year’s schedule, but it is a tougher schedule. The Vikings were on a roll last year, playing above expectations, as were the Eagles. Pittsburgh is a known entity. The Bengals didn’t play as good as their defense actually is against us last year. Lot of things go into it, even bye weeks and home/away.

      Thanks for reading, Donny!

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Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Defense Comes Alive In Loss At LA Rams 2
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.

It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.

Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.

Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.

This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.

Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."

https://twitter.com/TheSupremeTaco/status/1072203745868554240

Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.

It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.

Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.



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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.

Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.

The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.

Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.

The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.

For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.

Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to  square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.

For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.

Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Al igual que el resto de la afición de los Dallas Cowboys, parte de mí se siente confiada respecto a este equipo visitando a Indianapolis Colts y resultando victoriosos. ¿El problema? Los Colts no son un rival sencillo de vencer. Si crees que la racha de los Cowboys los intimidará, piensa de nuevo. Los Houston Texans llevaban nueve victorias al hilo antes de enfrentarse a este equipo.

Siendo objetivos, este puede ser el partido que evite que los Cowboys cierren su temporada con ocho victorias al hilo para terminar el año con un récord de 11-5. Ni los Tampa Bay Buccaneers ni los New York Giants deberían presentar amenaza alguna contra Dallas. Lo mismo no se puede decir de Indianapolis.

Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, Andrew Luck está realmente de vuelta. Gracias a una reconstrucción de su línea ofensiva, su nivel de juego a regresado al nivel que conocíamos de él desde que llegó a la NFL. Afortunadamente para los Colts, Luck se ha mantenido sano toda la temporada y no se ve rastro alguno de sus lesiones anteriores en el emparrillado.

T.Y. Hilton está teniendo un muy buen año y sin duda alguna presentará un reto para Byron Jones y el resto de la secundaria de los Cowboys. Eric Ebron en la posición de tight end también será un dolor de cabeza para la defensiva.

Lo más interesante se dará en las trincheras. Los Cowboys han hecho un muy buen trabajo presionando quarterbacks opuestos en la temporada, pero si el centro de los Colts, Ryan Kelly está sano el domingo, se enfrentarán al mejor duo de centro-guardia en la liga actualmente. Con Quenton Nelson al lado, Luck estará muy bien protegido.

Sin embargo, Kelly no ha jugado debido a una lesión y aún está por verse si tomará el campo el domingo por la mañana. Los Cowboys hicieron un muy buen trabajo a la entonces ofensiva #1 de la liga, los New Orleans Saints, pero eso no significa que la ofensiva #8 que tienen los Colts no los retará.

Promediando 27 puntos por juego, la defensiva necesitará ayuda de Dak Prescott y compañía para ganar el partido. Dallas continúa moviendo el balón efectivamente, pero es tiempo de anotar touchdowns y no goles de campo.

Ezekiel Elliott será, una vez más, clave para la victoria. Enfrentándose a una defensiva Top 10 contra el juego terrestre, mover las cadenas con Zeke no será tan fácil. El novato Darius Leonard como linebacker ha sido algo espectacular otra temporada al igual que Leighton Vander Esch. Liderando a toda la NFL en tackleadas, estará listo para recibir a los Cowboys al Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lo más importante de este partido...

Por más impresionante que sea la racha de cinco victorias consecutivas, los Cowboys tienen que demostrar que pueden ganarle a un equipo fuerte estando de visita. Porque hay que admitirlo, Jason Garrett y su equipo no han tenido éxito fuera de casa. Claro, le ganaron a un equipo debilitado de Philadelphia Eagles y a unos Atlanta Falcons que va 4-9.

Este equipo "nuevo" de los Cowboys no ha ido contra un rival de calidad siendo el visitante. Es tiempo de demostrar que lo pueden hacer, ya que si quieren contender en postemporada, es justo lo que necesitarán... jugar bien de visita.

Sinceramente creo que los Cowboys ganan este partido. Principalmente gracias a su defensiva, pero también veo a la ofensiva dominar el tiempo de posesión en un juego de pocos puntos. Es tiempo de mantener esa racha.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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