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Strength of Schedule: Cowboys’ First Eight Weeks Key for Super Bowl Run

Little by little, football is getting closer. It definitely feels different this year, though. Usually, by now we'd be getting excited about reports on how players have been doing in , , and other practices. Instead, right now we're waiting for to learn as much as we can about the players that will form the 2020 roster.

Despite two games being canceled, the is still aiming to play the regular season as scheduled, with a September 10th kickoff between the and the .

As soon as NFL schedules are released we begin conversations on who has the toughest schedule, or the easiest one. However, data has taught us we usually approach this the wrong way. The mainstream way of defining strength of schedule is by using the team's last season records. Where is the logic in that?

How relevant would the 2019 ' record be in 2020? They played last season with backup quarterbacks and now is set to return from . What about the Bengals? Teams change every single year. Some change a little, but some have drastic changes that should make us completely dismiss the traditional way of evaluating the strength of schedule (SOS).

Enter projected wins. The world has been a reliable source of projected win totals as the betting market accurately predicts how teams will fare in any given season. A lot of websites have made an effort to provide better NFL teams SOS by utilizing this method.

According to Sports Betting Dime, using projected win totals, the Dallas Cowboys have a relatively easy schedule. The Cowboys rank 22nd in strength of schedule (the lowest, the easiest). This is far from surprising considering the features the as the only other legit playoff contender. Meanwhile, New York and Washington will continue to be in rebuilding mode barring any big surprise.

But things aren't that simple. When taking a look at the first and second halves of the season, things change drastically for the Cowboys. In the first half of the 2020 campaign, the Cowboys rank 27th in strength of schedule. But take a look at the second half of the season and Dallas will have to play the 9th toughest schedule in the league.

This makes a ton of sense, considering the Cowboys will face the Pittsburgh Steelers, , and in a five-week span. Little after that, they'll be playing the defending Champions .

As the NFL will play on a brand new 14-team playoff format, earning the top seed in the conference will be key to make a run at the as only one team per conference will own a first-round .

Taking advantage of an easy first-half schedule will be key for the Dallas Cowboys to establish themselves as legit Super Bowl contenders early in the season.

Of course, things might not be as easy as they seem. After all, some opponents in the first eight weeks might turn out to be a surprise, including the who could bounce back after a disappointing . The same goes for the who have rebuilt the for . The just saw put on an impressive rookie year and now have on the team as well.

Football can't get here fast enough.

Mauricio Rodriguez
Mauricio Rodriguez
I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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  1. This is, of course. the NFL and anything can happen! You would want an easier schedule in the beginning to build teamwork and confidence! let’s hope Dallas makes the most of it, especially with a new coach!

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