The NFL schedule release heaped love on the Cowboys and snubbed Deshaun Watson and the Texans.
Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes will likely meet in more playoff games. But only Mahomes is an NFL champion now.
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys get to grab some major Los Angeles spotlight in Week one.
Deshaun Watson and Bill O'Brien
CeeDee Lamb brings his explosive, playmaking ways to the Dallas Cowboys.
Patrick Mahomes has been good in any type of weather for the Chiefs.
J.J. Watt is becoming a more vocal leader when the Texans need it most.
Zeke Elliott, Dak Prescott
The NFL released its 2020 schedule in a typical burst of “This is the National Football League” bravado. And matching three-hour-plus shows on ESPN and the NFL Network. Which largely proves desperate sports fans will watch anything these days as long as Mina Kimes makes a cameo.
If the season goes as planned — and it’s a monster-sized IF with the coronavirus pandemic’s shadow looming over all the football hoopla — this NFL schedule brings some quick revelations.
1). Who Hates the Houston Texans?
Bill O’Brien sure seems to have annoyed plenty more people than DeAndre Hopkins. For the league’s awarded the Houston Texans’ coach/GM/kingpin with the opening gauntlets of all opening gauntlets. The Texans go back to Kansas City for the very first game of the NFL season on September 10 (coronavirus willing), a national TV Thursday night showcase that will see the Chiefs get their Super Bowl rings.
Then, they turn around and host the Baltimore Ravens, arguably the most talented team in the league, in Week 2, go to Pittsburgh in Week 3 and host the Minnesota Vikings, another playoff team with at least dark horse Super Bowl visions, in Week 4. Talk about a big gulp.
It’s no great stretch to picture a potential 0-4 start and all the O’Brien fury that would go with it. Luckily, O’Brien is as good of a coach as he is a questionable GM.
2). Dallas Cowboys Get an Early Easy Street
The Cowboys are a TV network president’s best friend — and love is certainly paid back with this slate. Dak Prescott and all those Cowboys offensive toys (including new yacht-acquired wideout CeeDee Lamb) get to help open the NFL’s new space-age stadium of the future — the Rams’ SoFi Stadium — in the first Sunday Night Football showcase of the season (if coronavirus considerations allow it).
While the Rams’ record-breaking $5 billion stadium is ready for prime time, Sean McVay’s team is shadow of the squad that played in the Super Bowl just two seasons ago. That fits in with the Cowboys’ early slate, which also includes the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 and a run of three also-rans at Jerry World in Weeks 4, 5 and 6 (the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals (Hopkins’ new team). Then, things arguably get even easier with a road trip to play the Washington Redskins in Week 7.
It’s hard to imagine these talent-loaded Cowboys not getting off to at least a 5-2 start under new coach Mike McCarthy with this schedule.
The annual Thanksgiving Day game is November 26 against the Redskins, but it’s the following Thursday night that looms as the game that jumps right off the page. A December 3 road contest against the Ravens and supernova quarterback Lamar Jackson. Along with Chiefs-Ravens on Monday Night Football in Week 3, this figures to be one of the true marquee games that captures the attention of the entire league.
3). Watson Ignored, Cowboys Triumphed as Prime Time Players
Deshaun Watson is at worst the third most exciting young quarterback in the league (behind only Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, maybe). Yet, the Texans only have two national TV games all season? Those are that season kickoff special against the Chiefs and a Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit.
Something here does not compute. Again, who did the Texans tick off? Watson deserves better.
Just call Janice McNair’s franchise, the kings of 12’o’clock.
“I think to be able to have most of our games at noon, it does give us an opportunity to get into a real routine, which is really important,” O’Brien tells Texans TV. “I think our players enjoy that. We enjoy the noon games, especially at home in front of our fans. And I think you’re right about that.
“It allows us to get into a little bit of a normal routine during the season which hopefully will help us.”
That’s finding a positive in anonymity.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ prime time status only continues. Jerry Jones’ franchise gets the maximum allowed five prime time games — that Sunday Night Football opener vs the Rams on September 13, Monday Night Football against the Cardinals on October 19, at the Eagles in the first Sunday Night Football Game of November, that titanic tilt against the Ravens in Week 13 and a home contest with the San Francisco 49ers on December 20.
It’s still mighty good to be America’s Team. It should be better to be Deshaun Watson. There is NFL schedule 2020 for you.