5 games that will define the Dallas Cowboys 2021 season

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Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott celebrates

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates after making a touchdown throw against the Washington Redskins during the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Prescott connected with wide receiver Michael Gallup for the touchdown. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

DALLAS (KXAN) — The Dallas Cowboys 2021 schedule was released Thursday night. In 120 days, the Cowboys will jump start the regular season with a primetime matchup against Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, Sept. 9 on NBC (KXAN).

The NFL is now a 17-game regular season after owners voted to extend the season an extra game during this offseason. Dallas and the rest of the NFC will play eight home games and nine road games in 2021. Next year, the NFC will get nine home games and road games.

Dallas is one of 10 teams scheduled for five primetime games during the 2021 season. As always, there will be a lot of eyeballs on the Cowboys.

Before offseason camps have even started, let’s take a look at the five regular season games that will decide if Dallas can be a playoff contender in 2021.

5 make or break games for the Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles | Week 3 (Sept. 27): The Cowboys will play its home opener in week three on Monday Night Football against the Eagles.

Opening the season at Tampa Bay and a cross-country trip to Los Angeles, the Cowboys could very easily be staring at an 0-2 start to the season as quarterback Dak Prescott gets back into a regular season groove. Dallas can’t afford a home-opening loss to a divisional rival.

At Minnesota Vikings | Week 8 (Oct. 31): The Cowboys will be on the road for the game before and after its week 7 bye.

Dallas will return to Minnesota for the second straight season and looking for the same winning result as 2020. Both teams will be coming off the bye week.

At Kansas City Chiefs | Week 11 (Nov. 21): A road trip pitting Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes against the Dallas Cowboys defense seems like a lopsided matchup in favor of the home team.

This is the start to a pivotal stretch of four road games in five weeks. Four days after visiting Kansas City, the Cowboys will host the Las Vegas Raiders for the annual Thanksgiving game before heading back on the road for three straight.

At Washington Football Team | Week 14 (Dec. 12): A road trip to Washington D.C. starts the home stretch of the schedule.

Dallas will play four of its last five games against divisional opponents, which will be critical for the divisional and playoff race.

Washington Football Team | Week 16 (Dec. 26): The return game against the Washington Football Team starts a two-game home stand.

It’s a week 16 matchup. The Cowboys will know by this point if they have a real shot at the playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys 2021 schedule

DateTimeOpponent
Sept. 9 (Thursday)7:20 p.m.at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sept. 193:25 p.m.at Los Angeles Chargers
Sept. 27 (Monday)7:15 p.m.Philadelphia Eagles
Oct. 312 p.m.Carolina Panthers
Oct. 103:25 p.m.New York Giants
Oct. 173:25 p.m.at New England Patriots
Oct. 24BYE
Oct. 317:20 p.m.at Minnesota Vikings
Nov. 712 p.m.Denver Broncos
Nov. 1412 p.m.Atlanta Falcons
Nov. 213:25 p.m.at Kansas City Chiefs
Nov. 25 (Thanksgiving)3:30 p.m.Las Vegas Raiders
Dec. 2 (Thursday)7:20 p.m.at New Orleans Saints
Dec. 1212 p.m.at Washington Football Team
Dec. 1912 p.m.at New York Giants
Dec. 267:20 p.m.Washington Football Team
Jan. 212 p.m.Arizona Cardinals
Jan. 912 p.m.at Philadelphia Eagles

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