As you probably have heard by now, winning the NFC East in back-to-back years is a rare occurrence. The Dallas Cowboys are aiming to make it happen in 2022.

In order to do so, they will have to fend off the Philadelphia Eagles and their well-rounded roster. This year, Jalen Hurts will have no excuses as he plays behind a fine offensive line and one of the best pass-catching trios in the league made up by A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert.

The Cowboys have the key edge at quarterback as Dak Prescott has proven to be a Top 10 player at his position. Even still, Dallas will need to overcome several concerns to retain the division title.

Here are my two biggest concerns for the Cowboys in their 2022 battle versus the Eagles.

1. Strenght of Schedule

Using the most accurate metric for strength of schedule (projected win totals instead of last year’s wins), the Cowboys are projected to have the 10th easiest schedule this season. That’s good news by itself, but the thing is the Eagles have the second easiest calendar.

Does that really matter? Short answer, yes.

According to Sharp Football Analysis, “of the 10 NFL teams that actually had the easiest 2021 schedules, only 3 went under their projected win total.”

The fact that the Eagles are projected to have the second-easiest schedule in the NFL suggests they’re likely to exceed their projected win total which stands at 9.5 in most sportsbooks.

Does that mean the NFC East could require 11-12 wins to be the champion? If Philadelphia lives up to the expectations, the Cowboys won’t have much room for error.

2. Eagles’ offensive line

Recently, PFF labeled the Cowboys’ defensive line as the biggest weakness of the team. Although that was a controversial statement given question marks at offensive line and linebacker, there’s some truth to it.

The Cowboys’ front seven struggled versus the run in 2021 and there weren’t plenty of additions to the unit this offseason. Inside, the Cowboys only added fifth-round pick John Ridgeway. Dallas is betting on young players like Osa Odighizuwa to improve this year.

Will that be enough to stop what the Eagles have on the offensive line? With Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson at tackle and Jason Kelce manning the center position, there might be matchup problems. Landon Dickerson and Isaac Seumalo make up a decent duo at guard.

The NFC East could come down to the wire and head-to-head could be the defining tiebreaker. The Cowboys being able to beat the Eagles’ offensive line will be a critical storyline to follow this season.

For more on this, check out Wednesday’s A to Z Sports Dallas Primetime!

Featured image via Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports