11. Dallas Cowboys (HOME)
When the Patriots take on the Cowboys at Gillette Stadium this fall, the matchup will feature arguably the two most despised teams in all the NFL. Yes, the Raiders and the Ravens have their fair share of detractors as well, but no two football teams curdle the blood of opposing fans more than Dallas and New England.
Jerry Jones stayed the course with head coach Jason Garrett this season, and the move proved wise, as “America’s Team” rebounded from a one-year playoff absence to post a 10-6 record, capture the NFC East, and beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round. Dallas went on to lose to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round, but that loss looks a bit better now that the Rams made it all the way to Super Bowl 53.
This ranking may raise some eyebrows – particularly if anyone reading roots for the Cowboys – but it feels right when considering the three teams ranked ahead of Dallas the Patriots will face at home next season (Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Cleveland). The only team of that bunch that Cowboys fans might feel insulted by is the Browns, but the gap between Dallas and Cleveland is actually much smaller than many people might imagine.
The Cowboys are a great team, and especially now that their defense is starting to match their offense in terms of elite, cohesive play, the rest of the NFC (and the NFL) should be on notice. For what it’s worth, though, it just doesn’t seem likely that Dak Prescott comes into Gillette Stadium and beats Tom Brady on his own field – especially not if this game is played sometime in November or December.