Cowboys schedule 2018: Playoff team-laden slate harder than it looks for Dallas

The Cowboys play in the NFC East, but there’s definitely a Southern feel to their 2018 schedule. Dallas will face all the teams from the NFC and AFC South, adding five 2017 playoff teams to the slate in addition to Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia twice.

Bottom line: The Cowboys are built to remain an inconsistent team, and their schedule is more difficult than what the overall numbers indicate. The offense and the defense are both in transition, and Dallas is bound to play in a ton of close games. The Cowboys will be half underdog, half favorite over 16 games. Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott will do their thing together again, but their help will be streaky. Record prediction: 8-8

With his playing time dwindling, the 27-year-old Kendricks asked to be dealt or released last offseason. The Eagles opted to hang on to him, and he ended up making valuable contributions during the team’s championship run, finishing with 51 tackles and a pair of sacks. His role increased when fellow linebacker Jordan Hicks was lost to an Achilles rupture in October.

He played 60 percent of the defensive snaps overall.

That’s in sharp contrast to 2016, when he was in for just 27 percent of the snaps, as new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz kept him off the field in most sub packages.

The athletically gifted Kendricks has had an up-and-down career since being selected in the second round by Philadelphia in 2012. He posted 86 tackles, four sacks, four fumble recoveries and three interceptions in his second season, but he hasn’t been able to reach those same statistical heights in the years since as his playing time gradually declined.
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