By Ryan Ratty @RyanRattyNFL on April 23, 2014
The NFL released each team's full schedule Wednesday night, and the Dallas Cowboys will be looking to make the playoffs for their first time in four years. Dallas has finished 8-8 in the past three consecutive seasons, and 2014 will be a make-or-break year for this staff. Here are the five biggest games of the Cowboys' schedule for next year.
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In recent memory, the New Orleans Saints have beaten up the Cowboys pretty good. Last season in particular, the Saints ran over the Cowboys in the Superdome. The Saints are a turf-team, meaning they play better when they are on turf because of their fast-paced offense. Dallas' defense will gets its first real test against a top-tier defense when Sean Payton and the Saints come to town.
The Cowboys will head to Seattle in week 6 to play the defending the Super Bowl Champions. The Seahawks, despite losing key players, are one of the NFL's premier teams. Seattle could manhandle Dallas like it did in 2012. Jerry Jones has Super Bowl aspirations, and if he wants to reach the top of the mountain, he will have to see this team again the playoffs.
Week 1 will be a good sample size of what to expect from Dallas. The good thing is that the 49ers will likely be without Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith. Dallas will have a good opening day test against Jim Harbaugh's 49ers. The Cowboys have had trouble with running quarterbacks in the past, and it will be interesting to see if Rod Marinelli will be able to contain Colin Kaepernick.
If Dallas is in playoff contention, this will be a must-win for them. The Eagles will be the favorites in this division going into the 2014 season. If Dallas can go 4-2 or 5-1 in the division, it will greatly help their chances at making the playoffs. This will also be a tough game because the Cowboys will be on the road on a cold night in Philadelphia.
If history repeats itself, like it always does, the Cowboys will be playing the Redskins for the divisional title. All jokes aside, the Redskins could very well be a formidable squad next season. With the additions of DeSean Jackson, Jason Hatcher, and Ryan Clark, the Redskins did their homework in the offseason. Dallas could face a win-or-go-home matchup here, and the Redskins could also play to spoil their chances.
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