Dallas Cowboys: 2013 Cowboys schedule

Schedule: Five key games for Cowboys

April, 18, 2013
The Dallas Cowboys will have four games in prime time, including a Dec. 9 contest on ESPN against the Chicago Bears.

With the 2013 schedule now released, we look at five key games for the Cowboys:

Sept. 8 vs. New York Giants: The Giants have never lost at Cowboys Stadium. Never. Ever. Never. Ever. Could that change in the season opener? It's the Cowboys' first Week 1 game at home since 2007. In that contest, the Cowboys beat the New York Giants, 45-35. For New York, beating the Cowboys in Week 1 would be revenge after losing in Week 1 in 2012 to the Cowboys, the night the Giants received their Super Bowl rings. Getting off to a strong start is important for the Cowboys, given their struggles at the end of the season.

Oct. 6 vs. Denver: The Cowboys have beaten Peyton Manning the last two times they've faced him, but that was when he played for the Colts. This time, Manning brings the Denver Broncos to town with a new weapon in wide receiver Wes Welker. With a rather easy September schedule gone, facing the Broncos will be a good early-season test for the Cowboys' secondary and pass rush. Manning is one of the best at getting rid of the ball quickly, so defensive ends DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer will need to pressure the pocket.

Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett examine the recently-released NFL schedule and agree that the Cowboys don't have any reason to complain.

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Oct. 13 vs. Washington: It doesn't matter when these NFC East rivals meet, it's a special contest. Add Robert Griffin III to the equation and you might have an early-season letdown by the Cowboys. It's these games early on that have hurt the Cowboys in the past, whether it's Jason Garrett messing up clock management or Tony Romo committing major turnovers. The Cowboys have to win games like this. It's uncertain how Griffin will play given the type of knee injury he sustained, but the Cowboys have to contain him to win.

Nov. 10 at New Orleans: The Saints are angry. They lost their head coach and one of their best defensive players to Bountygate. Sean Payton has returned and, while he's been humbled by the year-long suspension, believe he wants to beat the Cowboys. The Saints knocked off the Cowboys last year when the game didn't mean anything to them. Guess what happens this year? Romo is an excellent quarterback in November, posting a 21-4 mark, and if the Cowboys start their annual playoff run, it starts here in the Superdome.

Dec. 29 vs. Philadelphia: The regular-season finale has been dreadful for the Cowboys the last two seasons. Losses in the last two finales have cost the Cowboys playoff berths. Will this game mean the same thing? Will it get flexed to a Sunday night game? If the Cowboys want to reach the postseason, beating Chip Kelly's Eagles at this stage of the year could mean everything. Yes, again.

5 Wonders on the Cowboys' schedule

April, 18, 2013
IRVING, Texas – The NFL’s release of the schedule has me back to wondering, so we break out an offseason version of Five Wonders, Cowboys’ schedule style.

  • I wonder if the Cowboys told the league they were a bit tired of starting the year on the road. In 2011 and ’12, the Cowboys played their first two games on the road. This year’s opener vs. the Giants marks only the third time in 11 years the Cowboys have opened at home. The last came in 2007 when they beat the Giants, 45-35, in Wade Phillips’ debut. Before that it was Bill Parcells’ debut in 2003 vs. Atlanta. At least recently the schedule has had to factor in the Cowboys’ Arlington neighbors, the Rangers. With Ron Washington’s crew out of town, the Cowboys open on Sunday Night Football against the Giants. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. They are 0-4 vs. New York at Cowboys Stadium.

  • I wonder if the Cowboys told the league they were a bit tired of ending the year on the road. This year’s finale vs. Philadelphia marks only the fourth time in 11 years they have closed the year at home. The Cowboys are 1-9 in their last 10 season-enders. The win? Against the Eagles in 2009. So that’s a good thing. Perhaps.

    ESPN's Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the upcoming NFL draft and the best strategy for the Cowboys.

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  • If you wondered when the last time the Cowboys had a bye this late in the year, I’ve got your back. You have to go back to 1990 when the Cowboys had a later bye week than the one they have this year. That came Dec. 9, 1990, which was Jimmy Johnson’s second season. This year’s bye comes Nov. 17, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing with the 10-day break coming after Thanksgiving. That time off will allow the Cowboys time to heal up if necessary. And health is as important as just about anything late in a season.

  • I wonder if other teams told the league that the Cowboys need to play on the road entering their Thanksgiving Day game. I’ve always felt it was unfair that most of the time recently the Cowboys were able to play at home before the Thursday game and other teams had to travel. This year, the Cowboys are at the Giants leading into the holiday game against Oakland. With a 3:25 p.m. kickoff at MetLife Stadium, the Cowboys are looking at an early-morning landing home. The short-week advantage is at least mitigated some with the road game.

  • I wonder if the Cowboys will ever lose their national appeal. They have four games in prime time: three on NBC (NY Giants, Washington, New Orleans) and a Monday Night Football matchup at Chicago. All for a team that has missed the playoffs in four of the last five seasons. And the Cowboys will not play on NFL Network for the second straight year and Jerry Jones is the chairman of the NFL Network Committee. Seems weird.
  • IRVING, Texas – Until the Cowboys win in December, the closing month will always be the toughest stretch of games.

    Three of the Cowboys’ December opponents had winning records in 2012 (Chicago, Green Bay, Washington) and two made the playoffs (Packers, Redskins). The Bears finished 10-6 in 2012 and lost out on a wild-card spot due to tiebreakers.

    Winning at Chicago in December is a difficult challenge, but the Bears have changed coaches and have parted ways with future Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher. The Cowboys will also look to avenge a 34-18 drubbing last season at Cowboys Stadium in which Tony Romo was intercepted five times.

    The first time Green Bay played in Cowboys Stadium, it won Super Bowl XLV. Aaron Rodgers is at the top of the quarterback charts in the NFL and Clay Matthews signed an extension this week. The last time the Cowboys played the Packers happened to be Wade Phillips last game as coach, a 45-7 thrashing at Lambeau Field on Nov. 7, 2010.

    Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett examine the recently-released NFL schedule and agree that the Cowboys don't have any reason to complain.

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    Every Cowboys fan should remember what happened when their team visited Washington to close the 2012 season. Romo was intercepted three times and the Cowboys limped home with a 28-18 loss to finish 8-8 for the second straight year. Any trip to FedEx Field has been a grind for the Cowboys. Robert Griffin III makes it that much harder.

    Closing the year at home against Philadelphia will be nice after the Cowboys failed to win de facto NFC East championship games at MetLife Stadium to the Giants and FedEx Field to the Redskins in 2011 and ’12. In fact, the last time the Cowboys made the playoffs was in 2009 when they ended the year by beating the Eagles and beat them again a week later in the wild-card round.

    What could help the Cowboys entering December is a late bye (Nov. 17) and the 10-day break after the Thanksgiving Day game. That time off could benefit the team’s health.
    If the Cowboys can open with a win over the New York Giants again, September should be sweet.

    The softest stretch of the Cowboys’ schedule is the three weeks after the opener. The Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers combined to go 16-31-1 last season.

    It’s the only stretch of the season that features three foes that had losing records last year. Granted, the Cowboys have to travel to Kansas City and San Diego, but the Chiefs and Chargers were a combined 4-12 at their home stadiums last season.

    The Chiefs (Andy Reid) and Chargers (Mike McCoy) have new coaches, so it could also be to the Cowboys’ benefit to face those teams so early in the season.

    Cowboys open season vs. Giants

    April, 18, 2013
    PM ET
    The 2013 NFL schedule was released Thursday night.

    Here is the Dallas Cowboys' schedule:

    Sept. 8, vs. New York Giants, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
    Sept. 15 at Kansas City, Noon (FOX)
    Sept. 22 vs. St. Louis, Noon (FOX)
    Sept. 29 at San Diego, 3:25 p.m. (FOX)
    Oct. 6 vs. Denver, 3:25 p.m. (CBS)
    Oct. 13 vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
    Oct. 20 at Philadelphia, Noon p.m. (FOX)
    Oct. 27 at Detroit, Noon (FOX)
    Nov. 3 vs. Minnesota, Noon (FOX)
    Nov. 10 at New Orleans, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
    Nov. 17 Bye
    Nov. 24 at New York Giants, 3:25 p.m. (FOX)
    Nov. 28 vs. Oakland Raiders, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
    Dec. 9 at Chicago, 7:40 p.m. (ESPN)
    Dec. 15 vs. Green Bay, 3:25 p.m. (FOX)
    Dec. 22 at Washington, Noon (FOX)
    Dec. 29 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Noon (FOX)

    Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett examine the recently-released NFL schedule and agree that the Cowboys don't have any reason to complain.

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    Notes: The Cowboys are playing their first season-opening game at home since 2007. They beat the New York Giants, 45-35, that year. ... The Cowboys have won the last two meetings over Peyton Manning when he played with for the Indianapolis Colts. ... In 2009, Oakland visited Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving Day and lost, 24-7. ... With the Cowboys finishing the season against the Eagles, it marks the seventh consecutive year the Cowboys will play an NFC East rival in Week 17. Dallas lost the regular-season finale the last two seasons where a victory would have clinched a playoff berth.

    Cowboys' schedule being released today

    April, 18, 2013
    AM ET
    Finally, after a delay and weeks of wondering, the NFL schedule will be released at 7 p.m. CT today.

    Here's a primer for the Cowboys:

    Who they play: The home games are against the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. The road games are against the NFC East and Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.

    Reunion games: The Cowboys will face former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, now in New Orleans. Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli takes on the Lions, whom he was the head coach for from 2006-08, at Ford Field and the Bears, where he was an assistant/defensive coordinator the last three seasons, at Soldier Field. Of course, Tony Romo faces his favorite team growing up, the Packers.

    The strength of schedule: Cowboys' opponents had a .475 winning percentage last season. There are four teams on the schedule -- Washington, Green Bay, Minnesota and Denver -- who reached the postseason last year.

    Who plays on Thanksgiving? The Cowboys have alternated NFC-AFC opponents on Thanksgiving Day, with the Redskins (NFC team) visiting Cowboys Stadium last season. Possible opponents this season could be Denver and Oakland. The Cowboys faced the Raiders on Thanksgiving in 2009, so the Broncos appear the favorite for 2013.

    Late season schedule: The Cowboys posted a 3-2 mark in December last season and it still wasn't good enough to reach the postseason. The Cowboys were a combined 5-7 from 2009-11 in December. A late-season road game in New Orleans or Chicago could have playoff implications, if that's what the schedule reads.