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Eatman: Schedule Suggests Opponent Ready To Break Out


IRVING, Texas – Naturally, it only makes sense for everyone to notice the season opener first when looking at a new NFL schedule.

Followers of this team can't help but look at the December slate, which for what appears to be the 10th year in a row, and what will continue to be the case around this team and every team for that matter, looks treacherous. That's kinda by design.

Thanksgiving Day, of course, is also something that draws interest even though the weeks before and after Turkey Day are garnering more attention.

For me, I wanted to see that Week 2 opponent. Recent history suggests a couple of things.

For starters, the Cowboys have gone 8-8 the last three years, but also went 1-1. The last time they went 0-2, which occurred in 2010, the season finished with a disappointing 6-10 record. Whether Dallas wins its opener or falls short, how it responds in Week 2 has been rather telling for this team. [embedded_ad]

And secondly, Week 2 vs. the Cowboys has proven to be a good sign here in recent years for their opponents. Which means that's good news for Titans fans.

Tennessee gets to face the Cowboys in a Week 2 contest in Nashville. If recent history tells us anything, and sometimes it really does, then the Titans could be your next breakout team in the NFL.

And yes, I'm fully aware the Titans cut Chris Johnson and have no running back on the roster that scares anyone. And I know they went 7-9 last year and are 36-44 the last five years with no playoff appearances. And yeah, I'm aware that Jake Locker is the starting quarterback and even his head coach, Ken Whisenhunt, has said it's a make-or-break year for him.

But for some odd reason, the Cowboys' Week 2 opponent here in the last few years have made the proverbial leap from average to really good in one short season.

Let's recap.

  • In 2010, the Cowboys faced the Bears with a 0-1 record after losing to the Redskins on Sunday Night Football. Chicago was coming off a 7-9 record the year before, but beat the Cowboys that day, 27-20. The Bears finished that year 11-5, for a four-game improvement.

* The next season, the Cowboys avoided a 0-2 start with a dramatic comeback win over the 49ers out in San Francisco. The Niners were 6-10 the previous year, but went on to finish 13-3 and make the NFC Championship Game. How about an improvement of seven wins from the previous year. * In 2012, Seattle went from 7-9 to 11-5 in one season. The Seahawks beat the Cowboys emphatically in Week 2, spoiling what appeared to be a signature win over the defending-champion Giants in the first game. Like the Bears in 2010, Seattle had a four-game improvement. * And last year, the biggest turnaround of them all was Kansas City's jump from 2-14 to 11-5. The Chiefs edged the Cowboys in Week 2, once again spoiling Dallas' season-opening victory over the Giants.

In the last four years, the Cowboys' Week 2 opponent is averaging a six-game turnaround from the previous season.

Watch out for those Titans. Not just in Week 2, but for the entire season.

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