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Sunday, April 21, 2013
Another look at the Cowboys schedule

By Calvin Watkins

ESPNDallas poked and prodded the Cowboys schedule was released on Thursday.

Now, I've decided to take another look at it.

PODCAST
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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Positive September: The Cowboys have a chance to finish 3-1 or 4-0 in September. The toughest game of this early season stretch is the opener against the New York Giants, who are 4-0 at Cowboys Stadium. The last time the Cowboys finished September perfect (4-0) was 2007. Over the last two seasons, the Cowboys are 4-2 in September, a solid mark. However, that Week 2 loss at Seattle was a painful one last season. In 2011, the Cowboys lost the season opener against the New York Jets, but rallied to win an emotional game at San Francisco, 27-24, where Tony Romo suffered a broken rib and a punctured lung. Miles Austin (hamstrings) was also hurt in that game. If the Cowboys can finish September on a positive heading into the Week 5 game against Denver, then maybe, just maybe, this team might be headed to big things in 2013.

Tony Romo vs.: Coach Jason Garrett says quarterbacks get to much of the blame and or credit when it comes to wins and losses. He's right in some ways, but last year, Romo was outplayed by opposing quarterbacks, Russell Wilson, Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III and Drew Brees, too many times last season. Outside of taking on the NFC East again, Romo, who already has two wins over Peyton Manning, has to make sure he performs well early in the season or the criticism he heard from signing a new contract will extend into the regular season. The Week 4 matchup against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers proves to be interesting. You can almost compare Romo's career to Rivers'. Romo takes on Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Brees and Cutler this season. I would like to know if Romo will face Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryor on Thanksgiving Day when the Oakland Raiders visit Cowboys Stadium.

Why the Raiders on Thanksgiving Day: It seemed like a natural to have Peyton Manning face Romo and the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. Instead, we have the Raiders take on the Cowboys for the second time in five seasons. Maybe the Raiders were given the date as a favor to the Davis Family to showcase the Raiders in front of a national audience. The Raiders were on of the worst teams in the NFL last season and while every team gets a prime time date, thanks to the Monday and Thursday night schedules, the Raiders didn't seem fit for a Thanksgiving Day appearance again.