FRISCO - The 2020 NFL season might go on as planned. But the announcement on the release of the NFL schedule? That’s on, for sure.
UPDATE 6:31 p.m. Thursday: - The Dallas Cowboys will be trying to win their third NFC East title in five years under the leadership of a new coaching staff ... and with a 2020 NFL schedule that offers opportunities to put 8-8 behind them.
Here's what we've got on this year's schedule, with a starting note: It's May. It's fairly impossible to know which team will be good at which time, which team will be hot, which team will be injured ... But it's darn fun to guess. So here goes:
Week 1 - at Los Angeles Rams, Sept. 13 720p - Jerry Jones gets his way. The Cowboys will open up the new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. (P.S.: We're also told they'll play Preseason Game 2 at SoFi against the Chargers.) That keeps Southern California as part of Cowboys Country.
Week 2 - home Atlanta, Sept. 20 noon - Dallas has handled this track meet before. They might have to outscore the track meet this time.
Week 3 - at Seattle, Sept. 27, 325p - Yes, it seems like the Cowboys play the Seahawks - and play at Seattle - far too often. It seems that way because it's true. And because doing so is so challenging.
Week 4 - home Cleveland, Oct. 4, noon - Two teams that on paper are offensively dynamic.
Week 5 - home New York Giants, Oct. 11, 3:25p - We assume Jason Garrett will get booed. Hey, no Eli Manning; somebody's got to absorb it!
Week 6 - home Arizona, (Mon) Oct. 19, 7:15 - Another circus offense. And Kliff can compare Draft Room notes with Jerry.
Week 7 - at Washington, Oct. 25, noon - Will the 'Skins be out of it by then?
Week 8 - at Philadelphia, Nov. 1, 7:20p - The first thing the Cowboys always look at here is the weather report. The second? Is Carson Wentz still standing?
Week 9 - home Pittsburgh, Nov. 8, 3:25p - Better here than there ... though McCarthy, a native Pittsburgher, probably would've loved to go into his own town and beat his boyhood team. Instead, he'll try to do so in his new house.
Week 10 - BYE
Week 11 - at Minnesota, Nov. 22, 3:25p - One of the loudest buildings in the world. (I grew up a Vikings fan, so I dig it.)
Week 12 - home Washington, (Thurs) Nov. 26, 3:30p - Thanksgiving is a feast ... and hopefully Dallas can feast on rival Washington. A high-profile game ... no time for a letdown.
Week 13 - at Baltimore, (Thurs) Dec. 3, 7:20p - Jerry loves watching Lamar Jackson play. Except not so much today.
Week 14 - at Cincinnati, Dec. 13, noon - Andy Dalton Parade Week.
Week 15 - home San Francisco, Dec. 20, 7:20p - The defending NFC champs, and see below ...
Week 16 - home Philadelphia, Dec. 27, 3:25p - If you have to play tough teams like the Niners and the Eagles (and you do), and if you have to play them back-to-back (and in 2020, you do), you might as well play them at home, as occurs at the end of December.
Week 17 - at New York Giants, Jan. 3, noon - Snow will be in the forecast ... and this time maybe it'll be New Yorkers doing the Garrett booi
The Cowboys and the NFL will make all of this official tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT. It's all worthy of some deep analysis new coach Mike McCarthy's and Dallas' scheduling highs and lows. We've done some above. More to come ...
Noon Thursday: THE RUMOR MILL: The league will unveil its 2020 schedule tonight at 7 p.m. CT - and of course during this COVID-19 pandemic time, the telecast - scheduled to last a whopping three hours - will surely be watched by a gigantic audience starving for sports entertainment. (Sidebar: We expect to have the schedule in hand by 6:30 p.m. ... so check back!)
And the Rumor Mill is already cranking up.
RUMOR 1: We reported in this space in February that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' desire to "open'' the new stadium in Los Angeles meant Dallas was asking the league for a Week 1 visit to the Rams.
RUMOR 2: Might have to scrap that, Jerry. As noted below, the hottest rumor of the week comes in this form: Every team in the NFL will open its season with the four games against non-conference foes. The idea behind that? From a tiebreaker standpoint, non-conference games are less important, so if they have to be cancelled ... let 'em be cancelled in Weeks 1 through 4.
In Dallas' case: RUMOR 2 means Weeks 1 through 4 would be a march through the AFC North.
RUMOR 3: But wait! A report out of D.C. has the Redskins and Eagles playing in Week 1, which obviously crushes the RUMOR 2 theory. Hmm.
For Dallas, the scheduled opponents are: HOME: The Eagles, the Giants, the Redskins, the Falcons, the Browns, the Niners and the Steelers and Cardinals, and ROAD: The Eagles, the Giants, the Redskins, the Vikings, the Seahawks, the Bengals, the Ravens and the Rams.
"Cowboys vs. Giants'' has become a Week 1 tradition. But ... again, one early rumor: That the NFL, with a bow to the possibility of having to cancel games, will schedule the first four games against non-conference foes. In Dallas, that would mean Weeks 1 through 4 against some combination of hosting the Browns and the Steelers and traveling to the Bengals and Ravens.)
￼￼The broadcast promises analysis of the "top matchups and primetime games," per the NFL release. ... and of course we will do the same all day and night here at CowboysSI.com.
The NFL is dealing with potential issues - which in the Cowboys case includes the possibility of training camp in Frisco rather than Oxnard (or no camp at all) - as it works through the 2020 offseason despite the COVID-19 crisis. Free agency kicked off as scheduled in March and the 2020 NFL Draft was held virtually from April 23-25. And tonight, starting with the announcement that the league plans its opening night for Sept. 10, comes yet another “NFL holiday” at a time when American sports fans can use the celebratory distraction.