Sunday, December 27, 1998
Cowboys look to do well in playoffs this year
By Jeff Walker
IRVING -- The Dallas Cowboys have gone 7-0 against teams from
the NFC East heading into today's regular-season finale with
the Washington Redskins. Against the rest of the league Dallas
There are some that think the Cowboys should have to defend
themselves for having such a weak schedule and playing in a weak
Hey, don't blame the Cowboys.
Several people have inquired recently as to how the National
Football League determines its schedules.
Put simply, the NFL schedule is much like the NCAA brackets
uses for its tournament in March. The seeds are already in place,
the only thing left is to plug in the teams and sort out time
The time and place depends mostly on availability of a site.
However, with the growth of television coverage, ratings also
come into play as to who will play on Sunday night, Monday night
Each team plays its divisional opponent twice, that's a no-brainer.
When playing an interconference opponent, each division in the
NFC will play an entire division in the AFC, rotating every third
year. The NFC East played teams from the AFC West this season.
Next year, it will be the teams from the AFC East.
The remaining part of the schedule is also predetermined,
with certain NFC teams facing other teams in the conference,
once again, based on where they finished in their respective
divisions the prior season.
This year the Cowboys were fortunate because they had an awful
season a year ago and thus, had a weaker schedule.
Next year, however, Dallas will have to play the first-place
team's schedule. If my calculations are correct, based on the
schedule the New York Giants (last year's division-winner) had
this season, Cowboy fans can expect to see Randy Moss back at
Texas Stadium again next year with the Vikings, as well as Steve
Young and San Fransisco. Dallas will also be forced to travel
to Green Bay and Atlanta for intraconference matchups.
The AFC schedule is a little tougher to pin right now with
teams still jockeying for positions.
Now that we have next year figured out, what about this year?
True, the Cowboys had a weak schedule and are limping into
the playoffs. Yet, following last Sunday's 13-9 squeaker over
Philadelphia, there was no doubt what these guys thought.
"I'd like to think that we will go all the way,"
said quarterback Troy Aikman.
Emmitt Smith was a little more sure of his team's ability.
"I feel we can go as far as we want to go and as far
as we put our minds to go and achieve," he said. "Simply
put, I think we can go all the way."
Jeff Walker can be reached at 676-6711 or email@example.com.