As is always the case, the Dallas Cowboys will enter 2013 with heavy expectations.
Unfortunately, there's a strong chance America's Team won't live up to the preseason hype this coming season, as Dallas has gone just 22-26 over the past three seasons. The Cowboys haven't made the playoffs since 2009 and have just one postseason win since 1996.
After a 3-5 start to the season in 2012, Dallas bounced back to pull to 8-6 only to lose its final two games, surrendering the NFC East division to rival Washington in the last game of the regular season.
|2013 Dallas Cowboys Schedule|
|1||Sept. 8 ||vs. New York Giants ||8:30 p.m. ET||NBC|
|2||Sept. 15 ||at Kansas City Chiefs||1 p.m. ET ||FOX|
|3||Sept. 22 ||vs. St. Louis Rams||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|4||Sept. 29||at San Diego Chargers ||4:25 p.m. ET||FOX|
|5||Oct. 6||vs. Denver Broncos||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|6||Oct. 13||vs. Washington Redskins||8:30 p.m. ET||NBC|
|7||Oct. 20||at Philadelphia Eagles||1 p.m. ET ||FOX|
|8||Oct. 27||at Detroit Lions||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|9||Nov. 3||vs. Minnesota Vikings||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|10||No. 10||at New Orleans Saints||8:30 p.m. ET ||NBC|
|11||Nov. 17||BYE WEEK ||—||—|
|12||Nov. 24||at New York Giants||4:25 p.m. ET ||FOX|
|13||Nov. 28 ||vs. Oakland Raiders||4:30 p.m. ET ||CBS|
|14||Dec. 9 ||at Chicago Bears||8:40 p.m. ET ||ESPN|
|15||Dec. 15||vs. Green Bay Packers||4:25 p.m. ET ||FOX|
|16||Dec. 22 ||at Washington Redskins||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|17||Dec. 29 ||vs. Philadelphia Eagles||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
Note: For a complete look at Dallas' 2013 schedule, check out NFL.com.
Although the Cowboys will play a challenging schedule in 2013, it's certainly not hard to imagine Dallas picking up 10 or more wins and earning a playoff berth.
The Cowboys' eight road opponents in 2013 had a combined record of 53-75 in 2012 (30-50 if you discount the three NFC East opponents). Outside of the division, the Chicago Bears pose the biggest away threat for Dallas in Week 14 on Monday night, as the only road opponent other than Washington to win 10 games last season.
Chicago beat Dallas 34-18 in Texas in Week 4 last season.
Dallas will face some much stiffer tests in Arlington this coming season, as it is set to host Denver, Green Bay and Minnesota in 2013. Each of these teams reached the playoffs in 2012 and combined to win 34 games a season ago. Plus, the Broncos and Packers boast two of the league's top quarterbacks in past MVPs Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, respectively.
The combined record of Dallas' 2013 home opponents last season was 68-59-1.
Which game will present the toughest test for Dallas in 2013?
Most Pivotal Matchups
The two most intriguing and important matchups on the Cowboys' 2013 schedule are those pitting Dallas up against division rival Washington, including one in Week 16. The Cowboys swept the Eagles and split with the Giants in 2012 but went 0-2 against the NFC East champion Redskins.
With the emergence of Robert Griffin III in D.C., the Cowboys will need to pick up at least one win over the defending division champs in 2013 in order to solidify themselves as playoff contenders.
With challenging home games against the Packers, Vikings, Rams and Broncos this season, Dallas must take care of business within the division, finding a way to improve on its 4-4 record at Cowboys Stadium a year ago.
The Cincinnati Bengals were the only playoff team in 2012 to lose more than three home games over the course of the regular season.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.