A post-draft look at the Falcons’ 2017 opponents: The Cowboys, Game Nine

FILE – In this Nov. 24, 2016, file photo, Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott (4) and Ezekiel Elliott (21) lead the team out of the tunnel during introductions before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, in Arlington, Texas. Prescott and Elliott topped NFL player merchandise and products sales. The Dallas Cowboys running back who led the league in rushing, and the quarterback who was the Offensive Rookie of the Year, represent the first time two rookies led the list compiled by the NFL Players Association. The list is based on total sales of officially licensed NFL player merchandise, tracking year-end results from March 1, 2016 through Feb. 28, 2017. “It’s pretty humbling,” Elliott said. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)

FLOWERY BRANCH — A look at the teams on the Falcons’ schedule and how they have reconstructed their roster since the season’s end. We’re up to Game Nine, when the Falcons will host the Dallas Cowboys at 4:25 p.m. on Nov. 12:

GAME ONE: CHICAGO BEARS

GAME TWO: GREEN BAY PACKERS

GAME THREE: DETROIT LIONS 

GAME FOUR: BUFFALO BILLS

GAME FIVE: MIAMI DOLPHINS

GAME SIX: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

GAME SEVEN: NEW YORK JETS

GAME EIGHT: CAROLINA PANTHERS

GAME NINE: DALLAS COWBOYS

Dallas Cowboys at Falcons,  at 4:25 p.m. Nov. 12

No longer with the Cowboys: QB Tony Romo, DE Jack Crawford, RT Doug Free, S J.J. Wilcox, DE Ryan Davis, CB Morris Claiborne, CB Brandon Carr, RB Lance Dunbar, QB Mark Sanchez and TE Gavin Escobar.

Key free agent signings/pickups: CB Nolan Carroll, RT Byron Bell, DE Stephen Paea and DE Damontre Moore.

Dallas Cowboys’   2017 NFL draft

1 28 Taco Charlton DE Michigan
2 60 Chidobe Awuzie CB Colorado
3 92 Jourdan Lewis CB Michigan
4 133 Ryan Switzer WR North Carolina
6 191 Xavier Woods SAF Louisiana Tech
6 216 Marquez White CB Florida State
7 228 Joey Ivie DT Florida
7 239 Noah Brown WR Ohio State
7 246 Jordan Carrell DT Colorado

Weaknesses: The Cowboys are re-tooling their entire defensive unit. They are banking on rookies Awuzie and Lewis to play early in their careers. On offense, the Cowboys must find a replacement for Free at right tackle. La’el Collins got the first shot at the spot. 

Strengths: The offensive line is the key to the operation. They helped to spring running back Ezekiel Elliott and allowed quarterback Dak Prescott to thrive as a rookie. Linebacker Jaylon Smith is trying to comeback from a gruesome knee injury. He was a top 10 talent the Cowboys picked up in the second round of the 2016 draft.

Comment: The Cowboys went 13-3 last season and reached the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. The key to their growth is the continued development of Prescott, who completed 67.8 percent of his passes (4th in the NFL), 3,667 yards passing and had an impressive 23-to-4, touchdowns-to-interception ratio. Prescott’s passer rating was 104.9, behind only Matt Ryan and Tom Brady.



FALCONS SCHEDULE

Exhibition season

Falcons at Miami Dolphins at 7 p.m. Aug. 10

Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers at 4 p.m. Aug. 20

Arizona Cardinals at Falcons at 7 p.m. Aug. 26

Jacksonville Jaguars at Falcons at 7 p.m. Aug. 31

Regular season

Sept. 10 at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m., Fox

Sept. 17 Green Bay Packers, 8:30 p.m. NBC

Sept. 24 at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. Fox

Oct. 1 Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., CBS

Oct. 8 BYE

Oct. 15 Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS

Oct. 22 at New England Patriots, 8:30 p.m., NBC

Oct. 29 at New York Jets, 1 p.m., Fox

Nov. 5 at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox

Nov. 12 Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Nov. 20 at Seattle Seahawks (Mon) 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Nov. 26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 3 Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 7 New Orleans Saints (Thur), 8:25 p.m., NBC/NFL Network/Amazon

Dec. 18 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mon). 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Dec. 24 at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 31 Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox

THE FALCONS 2017 DRAFT

MUST READ PROFILE: Falcons top pick McKinley makes name for himself

2017 Falcons report card: Falcons earn a B-plus

NFC Champs add a pass rusher, quality depth 

1st rounder: Meet defensive end Takkarist McKinley

3rd rounder: Meet linebacker Duke Riley

4th rounder: Meet offensive guard Sean Harlow

5th rounder: Meet defensive back Damontae Kazee

5th rounder: Meet running back Brian Hill

5th rounder: Meet tight end Eric Saubert


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