6 Cowboys games in 2023 will give one team a rest advantage
It’s often the days between gamedays that determine the outcome of the action on the field. And it’s not just the practices and the drills and the film study and the gameplan meetings, but simply how many days a team has to recuperate from their most recent battle that sometimes matters just as much.
Coaches always place a great deal of importance on rest days, but thanks to an NFL schedule that has over the years increasingly sprawled from exclusively Sunday afternoons into Sunday primetime, Monday nights, Thursday nights, and even the occasional Saturday kickoff, a team often finds itself operating on a very different prep schedule than their opponent in any given week.
And thanks to the magic of flexing, some games can even be changed on the fly once the season is well underway. It all can either help a team on the short end of an abbreviated work week, or else make things more difficult by slashing valuable prep time, depending on the circumstances. Either way, it wreaks havoc on a coach’s preferred routine.
Here’s a quick look at the six games on the Cowboys’ 2023 schedule that- currently- have either Dallas or their opponent coming into the matchup with a rest advantage.
An offer for Cowboys fans
For the best local Austin news, sports, entertainment and culture coverage, subscribe to the Austin American-Statesman.
Week 2 vs New York Jets: Cowboys +1 day
Apr 30, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers walks off the court after game one of the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference semifinal playoffs between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Cowboys will have 24 hours more rest than the Jets before their highly-anticipated Week 2 meeting. Thanks to a Week 1 primetime appearance to kick off the Monday Night Football season, the Jets will travel to Dallas on a short week with 39-year-old Aaron Rodgers at the helm.
Week 6 at Los Angeles Chargers: Chargers off bye week
Aug 20, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers guard Zion Johnson (77) provides coverage against Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Trysten Hill (72) for quarterback Easton Stick (2) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Bolts might not have picked an early Week 5 bye for themselves, but they’ll love it come Week 6 when the Cowboys show up at SoFi Stadium. Dallas will have just clashed with the 49ers in San Francisco the Sunday prior- and in the night game, to boot, shaving off a few more precious hours of prep for this second leg of a Cowboys’ California twofer.
Week 8 vs Los Angeles Rams: Cowboys off bye week
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, top, throws under pressure from Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis )
The Cowboys’ own bye week comes in Week 7, while the Rams are hosting Pittsburgh. That should leave Dallas extra refreshed and ready for when Sean McVay’s squad visits AT&T Stadium in the early-afternoon slot of Week 8’s Sunday slate.
Week 11 at Carolina: Panthers +3 days
Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott (4) scrambles as Carolina Panthers’ Wes Horton (96) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)
The Cowboys will head to Charlotte in Week 11 to face a Panthers squad that will have gotten three extra days of rest. Dallas will be on a regular Sunday-to-Sunday travel schedule, but Carolina will have played Chicago ten days earlier, on Thursday night in Week 10.
Week 14 vs Philadelphia: Cowboys +3 days
Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) runs with the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas will be the beneficiary of the Thursday mini-bye when they host the Eagles in Week 14. The Cowboys will have played Seattle ten days earlier, on the Thursday after Thanksgiving, but Philadelphia will tangle with the 49ers late Sunday afternoon in Week 13 before they can prep for this NFC East showdown.
Week 18 at Washington: Cowboys +1 day
LANDOVER, MARYLAND – JANUARY 08: Carlos Watkins #91 of the Dallas Cowboys tackles Jonathan Williams #41 of the Washington Commanders during the first half of the game at FedExField on January 08, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The actual date of the season finale for both teams has yet to be set; it could be Saturday, Jan. 6 or Sunday, Jan. 7. Either way, Dallas will have one day more than Washington to prepare; the Cowboys’ Week 17 game will take place on Saturday night and allow them to spend all day New Year’s Eve resting and rehabbing while the Commanders play San Francisco.