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Arizona Cardinals 2017 Opponent Preview: Are the Dallas Cowboys back?

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A look at the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2017 season.

Arizona Cardinals v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals open up the season on the road, playing their first game in Detroit against the Lions and their second game on the road in Indianapolis against the Colts.

We have previewed both of those teams, make sure and check them out.

Now, we go to what I hope is not a third road game, and that is the home opener on Monday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys.

In previous years, the Cowboys and their fans have overtaken the stadium. Now, that hasn’t meant much on the field, as the Cowboys have not beaten the Cardinals since 2006 (funny enough their only win at University of Phoenix Stadium).

However, the Cowboys have gotten better, as have the Cardinals and there is a real chance this is a great battle.

Let’s take a look, thanks to our friends over at Blogging the Boys.

Dallas Cowboys

Notable free agent additions: DT Stephen Paea, CB Nolan Carroll, DE Damontre Moore, G Jonathan Cooper, OT Byron Bell, S Robert Blanton

Notable free agent departures: CB Brandon Carr, CB Morris Claiborne, S Barry Church, S J.J. WIlcox, OG Ron Leary, OT Doug Free, DT Terrell McClain, DE Jack Crawford

Trades:

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:

Round 1: Taco Charlton - The Cowboys hope the defensive end out of Michigan will help them create a pass rush, something the defense has been missing since DeMarcus Ware left.

Round 2: Chidobe Awuzie - A versatile defensive back, he could play corner, safety or some hybrid of both. The Cowboys are revamping their secondary.

Round 3: Jourdan Lewis - A cover corner out of Michigan, he could play the slot or outside in the Cowboys new secondary.

Round 4: Ryan Switzer - A slot receiver with punt return skills, he adds another weapon for Dak Prescott.

Round 6: Xavier Woods - A ball-hawking safety who the Cowboys hope can create turnovers in the secondary.

Biggest offseason addition: The top draft picks, the Cowboys didn’t spend much in free agency.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp: Besides everyone wondering about a sophomore slump for Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are desperately trying to upgrade their back seven on defense. They are hoping that last year’s second-round pick, Jaylon Smith, has overcome his injury and can be a key piece of their defense at linebacker with Sean Lee. They let go of four players who played significant snaps in the secondary and are counting on a group of young guys and rookies to take over. The Cowboys secondary has done a poor job of getting interceptions and making splash plays, they need playmkers on the field. The offense is stacked, the defense needs to improve.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: The Cowboys are shuffling their offensive line, guard Ron Leary left in free agency and right tackle Doug Free retired. They think they have a good player to plug in at right tackle, La’el Collins, but there is an open competition at left guard. The Cowboys identity is built around their elite offensive line, so it’s a little bit of a gamble this offseason as they re-tool a bit.

Notable injuries heading into training camp: Jaylon Smith is trying to recover from his catastrophic injury in his college bowl game. He spent a year rehabbing, now we get to see if his knee has recovered enough to play effectively. DeMarcus Lawrence is getting over back surgery. Cole Beasley has hamstring issues.