At this point there's been plenty of time to digest the Dallas Cowboys 2013 regular season schedule. We've applied offseason activities such as free agency and the 2013 NFL draft and we have as good of a picture as possible regarding which games are most important.
Yes, Dallas wants to win every game, exactly like every other NFL team—but this is far from likely.
DallasCowboys.com columnist Mickey Spangola recently put it best when he described the difficulty Dallas faces in terms of opposing quarterbacks. In other words, there will be very few breaks for the Cowboys next season, at least on paper.
I'm going to highlight eight games on the schedule that are likely to go very far in determining exactly what Dallas' playoff chances are in the coming season.
I'm staying away from most division games, not because they aren't important, but simply because I'm not sold on the quarterbacks causing the Cowboys much harm. These games primarily include the two against Philadelphia and Washington.
The Eagles will feature a first-year head coach in Chip Kelly, an offense that matches that description and nothing to fear too much at quarterback.
The Redskins will trot out second-year passer Robert Griffin III, who's coming off multiple knee injuries from late last season and it's unknown exactly when he'll play again—or how well. We'll see if the Redskins can lead the league in rushing once again.
If Dallas can't take three of those four games then America's Team is probably not playoff-bound.
Elsewhere, the competition gets much more stiff. Notching some wins in the following games could help the Cowboys dramatically as they attempt to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2009.