Several weeks ago, the NFL released the opponents the Cowboys will be playing in 2008. Although we have been told which teams we will play at home and which are road games, the NFL has not yet released the date that each game will take place. I am sure that when the dates of the games are released, Kelly, here at StarStruck, will be busy designing schedules for us all to post on our sites.
Naturally, we will face each opponent in the NFC East twice during the regular season. This means that we will have to face the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles once on the road and once at home for a total of 6 games of the 16 game season. Although we won our division handily this year, we cannot take any of these games for granted. I have said it before and I will continue to say it: Year in and year out, the NFC East is one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NFL. Although I believe we are better overall than each of these teams, any one of them is capable of beating the Cowboys on any given day. I think we are the stronger team out of these opponents and will win the division again next year, but I will not be surprised at one or even two losses within the division. I can already feel some of you steaming at that last remark. Please understand, I am not being pessimistic, just realistic.
One side note: Considering that the Giants knocked us out of the playoffs this year, I would be very willing to bet that one Monday night game will involve us playing the Giants either at home or on the road. There’s too much drama there. The NFL almost has to put one of those games in prime time.
The remaining ten games in the regular season are made up of non-division opponents.
Road Games Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Home Games San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Of these teams, only four had losing records last year: the 49ers, Ravens, Bengals, and Rams. The rest were .500 or better. Six of our opponents made the playoffs. These were: the Giants, Redskins, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Packers, and Steelers. Since we play the Redskins and the Giants twice, that means that 8 of our 16 opponents for 2008 were playoff teams in 2007.
I have read some comments from other fans that we have an easy schedule and we should go undefeated in 2008. Again, I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but this is the NFL and since we were the number one seed in the NFC this last year, the powers that be in the league have no intention of making it easy on us. Although most of these teams didn’t come close to matching our 13-3 record last year, this will still be a tough schedule. Remember, we almost lost to Buffalo early this last season (and to be honest, we probably should have the way we played) but we pulled it out in the end. Just like I said about the NFC East, any team in the NFL has talent and can put together at least one great day of football (I think the Patriots would agree with that anyway).
As for an undefeated season, I would enjoy that just a much as any Cowboy fan. However, history makes me face the realistic probability that this won’t happen. Seldom does a team have that opportunity. It takes talent on your team, but due to the level of opposition in the NFL, a little luck is also usually needed. Personally, I would rather see us take a loss or two in the regular season and then go into the playoffs fighting mad. Lose early, get it out of our system and enter the playoffs knowing that we are a good team but not overconfident about it (Once again, I think the Patriots might agree with me here).
So, here’s what I think and some of you may write nasty things to me about it – but it’s ok, I can take it. We will win the NFC East. We will be the frontrunner for the Superbowl title and I think we WILL take it. Undefeated? No. I honestly believe our record will be no better than 14-2 and could even be 12-4. Again, I am not being negative, just realistic based on that schedule. We will lose at least one or two games in the NFC East and maybe one or two among our remaining opponents. I hope I am wrong. 19-0 would be wonderful. If I’m wrong I will gladly let my wife spank me and call me names (Hmmmm…..Now that I think about it……never mind. Now where was I??? Oh yeah….). The bottom line is that a tough schedule with some losses will prepare us to rise to the occasion when the playoffs arrive. Just like diamonds are made under extreme pressure, it may very well be the pressure of losses that cause our Stars to shine. Shine on Cowboys. Run for the Ring baby!!!