Finding any trap games on the schedule?

So looking at the schedule, it seems pretty obvious that games against Baltimore, San Francisco, Detroit and both Philly games should be tough. There are some other big games also, but what’s an opponent that could be a potential trap game to keep an eye on? – Craig McElroy, Palestine, TX

Patrik: When I was penning my full breakdown of the schedule (up now on the site — shameless plug), I pointed at one game in particular that some Cowboys fans might rightfully view as this year’s trap game. All things considered, I believe it might be the Week 15 matchup against the Panthers. The Cowboys will come off of a stretch that will include three divisional games and two grueling AFC fights — the Texans and Bengals — before marching onto the same field in Charlotte wherein they beat the Panthers handily in 2023, and despite playing with their food a bit, probably feeling as if they can take a proverbial breath against a team that finished 2-15 last season. To me, that has “trap game” written all over it, and the danger is definitely there for the Cowboys to get upset if they sleepwalk into Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 15 — unable to afford such a loss at the most important time of the regular season (playoff seeding, division race, momentum, etc.). Stay frosty, Cowboys.

Nick Harris: The Cowboys play just four games against 2023 playoff teams after the week 8 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, as the second half of the schedule could allow them to widen a lead or catch up to one before season’s end. The game that stands out for me is a Sunday night clash against Tampa Bay as one of those four games that could be undervalued going in. Ahead of a potential pivotal divisional showdown in Philadelphia the following week, it’ll take a great deal of attention to take down the Bucs — a team that same may have forgot won a playoff game a year ago.

Nick Eatman: Sometimes, it’s the stuff right in the middle of the sandwich that you don’t even see. In this case, the Cowboys play on the road at San Francisco on Oct. 27 and a Nov. 10 home game with Philly. But in between those two headline matchups, the Cowboys have a Nov. 3 road game in Atlanta. That’s the one to keep an eye on. The last two trips to the Falcons have seen Dak getting blitzed all game and sacked eight times to a 27-7 loss in 2017 and then a last-second 22-19 win in 2018. It hasn’t been easy at all and the Falcons have just enough players to make it interesting. Kirk Cousins hasn’t had much success vs. Dallas but if the Cowboys aren’t in the right frame of mind after the 49ers and before the Eagles, it could be a tough one.

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