Week 1 opponent for Commanders in 2024 is an easy choice

Could this be the Commanders' opponent in Week 1?
Dan Quinn and Josh Harris
Dan Quinn and Josh Harris / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After a dramatic offseason that saw the Washington Commanders implement drastic changes across the board, all eyes are fully focused on the upcoming NFL schedule release for the 2024 campaign. Every team knows who they'll be playing, but getting the order in place should provide a broader indication of targets when competitive action resumes.

The Commanders have nowhere to go but up after a dismal campaign last time around. Ron Rivera was fired as head coach - a decision that seemed like a foregone conclusion from a long way out. Dan Quinn is the new man in charge and there is a lot to work with thanks in no small part to some masterful roster maneuvering by new general manager Adam Peters throughout the recruitment period.

Nobody is expecting miracles right away, not by a long shot. But there is a growing belief that the Commanders could be in line to make big-time progress if rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels proves capable of becoming a franchise-caliber presence under center.

Commanders should play the Cowboys in Week 1

Some games hold more significance than others. Thanksgiving Day is always one of the first ports of call. Who the Commanders face in Week 1 will be something else that will generate interest as Quinn looks to hit the ground running.

Looking at the sentimental value and how the game could draw potential national recognition, the schedule-makers have an easy decision to make.

The Commanders should host the Dallas Cowboys on opening day.

It's a marquee home matchup in front of what should be a sold-out, expectant crowd at the newly-named Commanders Field. There should also be enough excitement to prevent the well-traveled Cowboys fans from filling out the stands, which couldn't be said of previous games between the two.

Then, there's the Quinn factor.

Many thought Quinn was turning down head coaching opportunities elsewhere to become Dallas' man at the helm. This was not a sentiment echoed by owner Jerry Jones, who opted to keep Mike McCarthy and let the defensive coordinator take his chances elsewhere. On an NFL East adversary, no less.

Quinn would never admit it publicly, but he'll be eager to get one over on his former employers. What better time to do it than the first time of asking to kick-start the Commanders 2024 campaign? It almost makes too much sense, especially considering it's one of the NFL's most iconic battles throughout league history.

Plenty of ex-Cowboys players and coaches followed Quinn to Washington, which adds fuel to the fire as the Commanders look to change the narrative. They've been second-best in this matchup for years, so being more competitive is the minimum requirement with increased optimism around the franchise.

Perhaps the league's schedule-makers might want to wait until the two teams find their feet before making this one center stage. But if Quinn was to get the Cowboys early, he'd have a good handle on their playing personnel and schematic concepts. This could give the Commanders a fighting chance to make an immediate statement that makes the NFL sit up and take notice.

After so much dismay in recent years, that's not a bad building block.