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Mailbag: Identifying The Potential "Trap Games"


When I look at the schedule, I always try to chalk up the "easy" wins, the games you don't have to really worry about. That's what I'm doing with the Bears, Lions, Texans, Jaguars and maybe even the Giants games. But which game like that do you think could be a trap? A team that might surprise the NFL, and definitely the Cowboys if they're not ready for them. — Aaron Kessler / Birmingham, Ala.

Nick: Well first of all, I don't ever put the Giants, or any NFC East team in that category – ever. It doesn't matter if they're a terrible team and only win 2-3 games a year, you know they're going to be a tough out against division opponents. I've seen the Cowboys finish 12-4 and lose two games to a 4-12 Washington team. We all know the Cowboys finished 1-15 in 1989 and beat a playoff-contending Washington squad as well. That being said, you're right that there's always a team or two that surprises the entire league. And while I'm not saying the Cowboys will lose this game, I have a sneaky suspicion the Lions game could be tougher. They might not be a good team yet, but that game could be a challenge. Dan Campbell will return to Texas and have his team ready to play. Jared Goff has beaten the Cowboys before and usually, when a team has been down for a while, at some point all these top picks are going to come together. If I have to pick a team from that group, I could see the Lions being a tough team to beat that day.

Kyle Youmans: It's hard for me to chalk up any division game as an "easy win" no matter how down the NFC East may be. So, excluding the Giants games from this list, I'd keep an eye on the Bears and Jaguars games specifically. Both teams enter the year with second year quarterbacks with career-high expectations and new head coaches with Matt Eberflus and Doug Pederson taking over. That is a recipe for a surprising win here-and-there throughout an entire schedule. I could see games where Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence break out and have nice stat lines to keep their team competitive. However, Dallas has a significant amount of talent on their roster compared to both those teams. Which makes this a trap game that absolutely should be won.

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