It is still unclear when the 2020 NFL schedule will get underway, but it’s never too early to look at which teams have the easiest and toughest roads to the 2020 playoffs. There are a few different metrics used to determine how easy a team’s upcoming schedule will be. The simplest way is to combine their opponents’ winning percentages from last season. With so much roster turnover across the league during the offseason, however, there is a more intricate way of calculating strength of schedule. The two metrics place the Cowboys in different spots regarding strength of schedule rankings for 2020.
The Cowboys’ 2020 schedule is the second-easiest by this simple metric
According to Radio.com, the Dallas Cowboys are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the second-easiest schedule in 2020 based on opponents’ 2019 winning percentage. The Cowboys’ upcoming opponents had a combined .457 winning percentage last season. The Baltimore Ravens are the only team with an easier road than the Cowboys in 2020. The Ravens’ opponent winning percentage last year was .438.
Dallas will play eight games against teams that had losing records last season. The Cowboys also get three games against the worst two teams in the NFL last year, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washingon Redskins.
Dak Prescott and co. went 6-1 last season against teams with losing records. If they can take care of the bottom dwellers again this season, the Cowboys should be looking at six or seven easy wins off the bat.
Another metric says the Cowboys’ schedule isn’t as easy as it looks
Sportsbettingdime.com is a website that aggregates betting odds from various sportsbooks across the country. It also publishes informative pieces for gamblers to build knowledge and place smarter bets.
SBD uses a different metric to calculate strength of schedule using 2020 NFL win totals. This takes into account every team’s new roster and possible upgrades from the 2020 draft. According to this measure, the Cowboys are actually tied for the 13th-easiest schedule in the NFL for 2020. The projected combined wins for Dallas’ opponents next season is 129.5, which grades out to a .506 combined winning percentage.
The Cowboys do play four games against teams with a win total of 10 or higher next season. Dallas has games against the two No. 1 seeds in each conference last year, the 49ers and the Ravens. Despite what their opponent winning percentage illustrates, the Cowboys’ schedule might actually be more difficult than it seems.
How many wins is realistic for the Cowboys in 2020?
One metric that measures strength of schedule says one thing while another metric says the opposite. So, which should Cowboys’ fans believe?
The truth is — winning in the NFL week-to-week is never easy. Even last season the Cowboys lost to the lowly New York Jets but crushed the Philadelphia Eagles and LA Rams. There are no sure wins or losses on any schedule.
Realistically speaking, Dallas should take care of business against the Bengals, Browns, Cardinals, Falcons, and the Giants and Redskins twice each. That gives them eight wins immediately. If Dallas can squeeze just two wins out of the Ravens, 49ers, Steelers, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, and Eagles twice, they’re already looking at 10-6.
One thing is for sure: the Cowboys have enough games against bad teams in 2020 to easily finish with a winning record and a playoff berth. By both metrics, Dallas is in the top half of the league in the easiest schedules.