During July, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be analyzing the schedules of every team in the NFL and ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult). This series will be split up into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) for each team. In this article, the Dallas Cowboys most difficult games are the focus.
Dallas Cowboys Most Difficult Games in 2016
1. Week 6 at Green Bay Packers
The Cowboys have had much trouble against the Packers in recent memory and have only won one game at Lambeau Field. Last season, the Cowboys lost to the Packers 28-7. That was when the Packers were without wide receiver Jordy Nelson and running back Eddie Lacy was on the heavy side. Now that Lacy has dropped weight and Nelson will be returning from a torn ACL, the Packers will no doubt be the Cowboys’ toughest challenge during the season.
2. Week 13 at Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are coming off of an NFC North title with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as well as wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Cordarelle Patterson. They also have one of the best running backs in NFL history in Adrian Peterson. Now, they have another wide receiving threat in Laquon Treadwell. With a team like that, the Cowboys will have their hands full when they travel to U.S Bank Stadium.
3. Week 14 at New York Giants
The Giants have a team that is similar to the Vikings, but fans are unaware of what running back Paul Perkins can do for the Giants. Either way, the Giants have a great team, led by quarterback Eli Manning and three star receivers in Odell Beckham Jr, Victor Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepard. The other thing the Cowboys will be battling is the crowd noise at MetLife Stadium.
4. Week 1 vs New York Giants
Just like in the Week 14 game, the Cowboys will have their hands full when they take on the Giants in the season opener. The only difference in this game is that the Cowboys will have the home field advantage. Fans will also get to see what all rookies can show what they are made of and what they are capable of.
5. Week 2 at Washington Redskins
The first two weeks will be rough for the Cowboys. While they are looking like a team that could win the NFC, the Giants and Redskins also look like they can win the division. The Redskins have quarterback Kirk Cousins to lead them. His targets include wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who can be dangerous when he gets open, rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson and tight end Jordan Reed. The Redskins won the division in 2015. The Cowboys will look to stop them this year and win the division themselves.
6. Week 12 vs Washington Redskins
The story here is the same as it was for the Giants. The one difference in this game is that the Cowboys will have the home field advantage. This game will be second of three Thanksgiving games. The last time the Redskins and Cowboys played against one another on Thanksgiving, Robert Griffin III threw for four touchdowns in a win in 2012. The Cowboys will be looking for a different outcome this time around.
7. Week 10 at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers and Cowboys have a very long rivalry. The two teams have met in three Super Bowls, with the Steelers winning two of those three meetings. In their last two meetings, in 2008 and in 2012, they gave gone down to the wire. It looks like their Week 10 meeting in Pittsburgh will be the same. The Steelers are without wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who was suspended for a year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but they do still have wide receiver Antonio Brown. They also have a star running back duo in Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams.
8. Week 5 vs Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals may have a big wide receiving duo, as they picked up free agent receiver Rashaun Simonise. Along with him and AJ Green, this will be a tough game for the Cowboys.
These were the eight hardest games of the 2016 season. Be sure to check out the easiest games as well.