The Dallas Cowboys will get their schedule tonight when the league releases the full slate of NFL games. While there’s much anticipation and excitement over the schedule release here’s something to keep in mind as Cowboys fans, the NFL hasn’t done the Cowboys any favors with the schedule in recent years.
I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy or that the NFL is responsible for what happens to the Cowboys because of scheduling, but they do tend to get the short end of the scheduling stick. For instance, the Cowboys have now spent the past five season opening games on the road and ended the last three seasons away from Cowboys Stadium. That means Dallas has spent the past three NFL seasons on the road for both the season opening and season ending games. That’s a tough task to ask of any team.
Again, I’m not saying it would have made a difference but in each of the past two seasons, the Cowboys have finished on the road against division rivals with a spot in the playoffs on the line. Maybe if Dallas had a home game in one of those years, they would have won the NFC East and went onto the playoffs. It happened that way in the 2009 season, which makes it more likely the Cowboys would have won either of those games if they were playing at home.
There has also been a disturbing trend for the Cowboys the past two seasons where they have played their first two games, as well as their season finale, on the road. So it’s fair to say the schedule makers have put the Cowboys behind the eight ball in each of the past two seasons. It’s very hard to win on the road int he NFL and it’s even more difficult to start off the season on the right foot when the schedule has them on the road for the first two weeks.
Of course we know much has been made of the Cowboys record in December recently but everyone seems to forget the way the NFL schedule makers usually buries the Cowboys with good teams during that month, so I’m guessing it’ll be the same this year. Also a trend with the Cowboys is getting an early bye week, which is likely again in 2013.
The Cowboys have only opened up at home just twice in the past 10 seasons so don’t expect that to change this year. However, I do expect the Cowboys to end the season at home, but that’s just my gut feeling.
None of this means much anyway since you have to play the opponents on your schedule at some point; it’s now just a matter on when and where the NFL tells you to show up. This is just a reminder that before you get too excited about the Cowboys schedule release, rarely has the NFL done the Cowboys any favors.