Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Tough slate awaits in '08.

We’re not done with the 2007 season as of yet, but if the Cowboys want to successfully defend their NFC East title, they’re going to have to do it the hard way, with the list of opponents they’re set to face in 2008.

We won’t know the dates for a little while, but the schedule certainly doesn’t do Dallas any favors, as they‘ll go up against every other team that will represent the NFC in the playoffs this season, with several more tough matchups on tap as well.

Along with facing their divisional opponents twice, which equates to playing three playoff-caliber opponents six times, the Cowboys will have several more quality teams on their slate.

Dallas will have to face four division champions, two at home (Tampa Bay and Seattle) and two on the road (AFC North champ Pittsburgh and Green Bay), which makes for a total of six playoff teams.

The Cowboys will also face a trip to Cleveland to face the Browns in the ‘#22 Bowl,’ though Brady Quinn may or may not be starting, depending on what the Browns do with Derek Anderson (a restricted free agent) in the offseason.

There’s also a road game at Arizona, who finished 8-8 this season, so all told, the Cowboys will have 12 games against opponents who finished .500 or better, with another who finished 7-9.

The other opponents will be San Francisco (home), St. Louis (away), Baltimore (home), and Cincinnati (home). Baltimore and San Francisco were supposed to be playoff teams this year, but severely underachieved, and so did the Rams and Bengals, with all four being hurt by injuries and ineptness on at least one side of the ball.

So, we’ll renew that once-fierce rivalry against the 49ers, and there also may be an added storyline in the Ravens’ visit to Texas Stadium, with Jason Garrett (as mentioned a few posts below) a potential candidate for the recently-vacated head coaching position in the Charm City.
2008 Opponents

Home: New York (10-6), Washington (9-7), Philly (8-8), Seattle (10-6), Tampa Bay (9-7), Cincinnati (7-9), Baltimore (5-11), San Francisco (5-11)

Away: Giants, Redskins, Eagles, Green Bay (13-3), Pittsburgh (10-6), Cleveland (10-6), Arizona (8-8), St. Louis (3-13)

The Last Time The Teams Met…

I’ll leave out the divisional opponents and the NFC teams that the Cowboys could meet in the next few weeks

Baltimore: 2004 - Ravens won 30-10 in Baltimore
Cincinnati: 2004 - Bengals won 26-3 in Cincinnati
Cleveland: 2004 - Cowboys won 19-12 in Dallas
Pittsburgh: 2004 - Steelers won 24-20 in Dallas
Arizona: 2006 - Cowboys won 27-10 at Arizona
San Francisco: 2005 - Cowboys won 34-31 at San Francisco
St. Louis: 2007 - Cowboys won 35-7 at St. Louis

It’ll be interesting to see how the schedule plays out in terms of dates, as there stand to be at least a trip or two into the cold in December, which means Tony Romo might have to reluctantly pull out the gloves, or tough it out and play bare-handed, which shouldn‘t be a problem, considering he grew up in Wisconsin and played his college ball at Eastern Illinois. You can imagine he’ll get as many tickets as possible for when the Cowboys visit Green Bay. I’ll put 7-2 odds on him doing a Lambeau Leap into his personal rooting section if he scores a rushing touchdown.

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