Cowboys' 2020 schedule is for the birds – all of them

A pecking order awaits the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.

Since 1996 when the Baltimore Ravens became a part of the NFL, there have been five teams in the league with "bird' mascots and only two teams have faced all five winged opponents in a single season (including the playoffs), per NFL Research.

The Cowboys are saddled up to be the third this upcoming season as they face the NFC East-rival Philadelphia Eagles as usual, along with the Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and the Ravens.

The 'Boys vs. The Birds

2020 Season

Week Opponent

2 vs Falcons

3 at Seahawks

6 vs Cardinals

8 at Eagles

13 at Ravens

16 vs Eagles

"The Bird Gauntlet" was previously run by the 2009 Chicago Bears, who took on an Alfred Hitchcock-esque attack to the tune of a 1-4 showing, and the 2014 Panthers, who needed playoff games against the Cardinals and Seahawks to finish said gauntlet and emerge with a 2-5 record in doing so.

While the Cowboys already have a regular season cluttered with feathered foes, two of their NFC East brethren – the Giants and Redskins – also have a chance at playing the "Bird Gauntlet," but would have to face the Falcons in the playoffs.

Of further historic note was that a four-team "Bird Gauntlet" obviously existed prior to the Ravens being hatched.

That gauntlet was last run by the Redskins and the Cowboys in 1992. Dallas went 6-1 (the Cardinals were members of the NFC East then) that season on its way to winning a Super Bowl, propelled no doubt by having previously taken the wind beneath their opponents' wings for themselves.

As Dallas looks once more to complete its running of the birds, it's staring at some unkind history, as well.

Despite playing in an NFC East that was ridiculously lacking in 2019, the Cowboys lost out to the Eagles for the division title with Philadelphia winning the crown and the teams' last meeting. However, the Cowboys are 4-1 over their last five against the Eagles. Against their other upcoming flighty foes they've interestingly defeated all of them in their last meeting, but have struggled over their last five. Dallas is 1-4 over its last five and all-time against Baltimore, it's 1-4 versus Arizona, 2-3 against Seattle and it's 2-3 versus Atlanta.

Thus, while the bird is the word for the Cowboys in 2020, the schedule doesn't promise any smooth surfing.

Nearly 30 years after running the four-team "Bird Gauntlet," Dallas has a stacked offense boasting Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and a talent-laden roster overall. The sky's the limit for the Cowboys, and it's also where they'll find a good many of their opponents in 2020.

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