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Gut Feeling: Writers react to 2024 schedule release


FRISCO, Texas – On Monday, we learned of the regular-season opener. Now, the NFL has announced the full 2024 schedule. Here is what the Cowboys staff writers had to say about the 17-game lineup, with the focus on what stands out the most at first glance.

Nick Eatman: Let me qualify like I always do when talking about the schedule in May – no one really knows what's going to happen with any of the game. I'm sure we all said how tough Week 2 with the Jets would be last year, thinking Aaron Rodgers would be in the game. And none of us probably gave two thoughts to the Week 3 game in Arizona. How did those two turn out? My point is that we really don't have a clue. But saying all of that … I'm going to focus on a stretch of game where the Cowboys really need to dominate if they're going to be a good team this year. For me, I'm looking at late-November to late-December. There's a six-game stretch between the Nov. 18 game against Houston and the Dec. 22 matchup with the Bucs where the Cowboys need to make a move in the standings. It's four homes games – Houston, Tampa Bay, NY Giants and Cincinnati, along with road games at Washington and Carolina. Again, we don't know how any team is going to be but from the looks at it now, they need to be in that 5-1 range right there. Those are games the Cowboys should win. It looks tough before and after that, but even if there's a slower start to the season, that stretch right there could help them make up some ground.

Patrik: So much for a warm-up stretch. The first six games of the season will be a gauntlet. Opening the season against the Browns' defense and Amari Cooper on offense, only to turn around two weeks later and host Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, is a brutal way to test the readiness of what is now a younger Cowboys' roster, especially on the offensive line. But wait, there's more. They'll fly to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in Week 5 after a prime time divisional matchup with the Giants and, in Week 6, find themselves hosting a rematch with the same (also playoff-ready) Lions who nearly handed them a controversial loss in 2023 at AT&T Stadium. Toss in a sneaky Saints visit in Week 2 and, let me be very clear here, we will know EXACTLY who the Cowboys are before they hit their bye in Week 7.

Nick Harris: Considering the opponents that were already known going into Wednesday, I feel like this schedule is relatively user-friendly for the Cowboys. Granted, the tough stretch is what Dallas will start the season with, but having the bye week to prep for San Francisco is a huge development. From there, only 4 of the final 10 games are against playoff teams from 2023, and three of those four are at home. If the Cowboys get out to a rough start before the bye week, they'll have a user-friendly path towards correcting it.

Mickey Spagnola: We knew before the schedule release this would be a difficult one just from the opponents the Cowboys must face with the first-place schedule. But this order of games seems to be a very fair one for the Cowboys. Really only two potential cold weather games from Nov. 24th on, at Washington on the 24th and then one Dec. 29 at Philadelphia. And if there is a tough stretch, and just one, it's a Monday night game Nov. 18 against Houston at AT&T Stadium, then the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the game at Washington, followed by the Thanksgiving Day game against the New York Giants at home. Three games within 11 days. But then that's offset since the next game is not until meeting Cincinnati at home on a Monday night, Dec. 9. A full 10 days between those two games. No complaints here.

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