Most of the NFC East teams can be happy with how the schedule release panned out, and the Dallas Cowboys are no different in this regard. There's a strong possibility to go high into the bye week and, even though they finish the season away from home, the chances of getting into Week 18 with a playoff berth secured are interesting.
In a best-case scenario, the Cowboys can start the season with a 4-0 record; even though they start against the Buccaneers and the Bengals, both are home games, which gives Dallas an advantage. The second stretch of the season sees games against the Rams and the Eagles away from home, so it's a safe bet to say they'll not navigate this undefeated.
Still, with home games against the Lions and the Bears before the bye week, the Cowboys can be confident with the first half of their season. It's not going to be easy to play in Green Bay in Minnesota right after, though.
Three straight home games against the Giants, the Colts and the Texans see Dak Prescott and his friends in a great position to put together a string of wins to reinforce their playoff push. Going to Jacksonville and hosting Philadelphia also see Dallas in a strong hand in December.
To close the year, two games against Tennessee and Washington might make things difficult for the team if they haven't secured a playoff berth by then. Nevertheless, with such a strong offense and considering how weak the NFC East is, the Cowboys should navigate with ease to secure at least a positive record at the end of the year.
How will the Cowboys’ passing game work without Amari Cooper?
With the Cowboys facing cap issues before the start of the season, tough decisions had to be made to get under the salary cap for the 2022 season. Perhaps none was more damaging to the roster than Amari Cooper being traded to the Cleveland Browns for a mere 5th-round pick, giving place to CeeDee Lamb taking over as the number one receiver but losing an integral part of their 11 personnel set.
The Cowboys were one of the teams that most used 11 personnel sets in 2021, which was a huge staple of Kellen Moore's offense. By spreading the field with their three great receivers (Cooper, Lamb and Michael Gallup), Dallas was able to stress defenses through the air and open up spaces for the running game to take over when the box was lighter.
Now that Cooper is off the picture, Lamb will be the number one receiver for Dak Prescott, while Gallup will work as WR2 after extending his contract throughout the offseason. The problem is who's the remaining starter, with earlier impressions seeing newly-signed receiver James Washington as WR3. Washington, although a speedy player, isn't a great route runner and struggles to create separation other than vertical ways.
This should probably lead to a dropoff in statistics for the Cowboys' offense, with Moore struggling to create opportunities for Washington as he'll already have guys like Lamb and Gallup creating deep opportunities. There's no one who can create separation through his routes in this roster as Cooper did, and it's a major concern for Dallas as of now.