Dallas Cowboys schedule and predictions takeaways:
- Dallas will take part in the NFL Kickoff Game, facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 9 at 8:20 PM EST on Sunday Night Football
- After a Week 7 bye, the Cowboys will close out the regular season with 11 consecutive games
- Dallas will appear in five primetime games, not including FOX’s Game of the Week
Fans witnessed one of the NFL’s worst defenses last year. Bringing in Dan Quinn as the defensive coordinator and reuniting him with some of his key players might help this unit take a step forward. But the Cowboys’ secondary is still a problem and a lack of depth on the offensive line could cause problems in a 17-game season.
Dallas Cowboys schedule predictions, roster outlook
All our predictions are based on the Cowboyd keeping and starting these key players:
- QB: Dak Prescott
- RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard
- WR: Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Noah Brown
- TE: Blake Jarwin, Josh Ball
- Defense: Outside top-20 in NFL defense rankings
Let’s dive into our Cowboys’ predictions for the 2021 season.
Dallas Cowboys 2021 preseason schedule
|Thursday, Aug. 5||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||8:00 PM||FOX|
|Friday, Aug. 13||@ Arizona Cardinals||10:00 PM||KTVT|
|Saturday, Aug. 21||vs. Houston Texans||7:00 PM||KTVT|
|Sunday, Aug. 29||vs. Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 PM||KTVT|
This season the NFL is lowering the amount of preseason games to three per team, and instead expanding the regular season to 17 games, rather than the traditional 16 games.
Week 1 – @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|Thursday, Sept. 9||8:20 PM||NBC|
- Spread: Buccaneers -6.5 (via DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Buccaneers -305, Cowboys +240
- Over/Under: 52
A top-three offense and the NFL’s best defense is a recipe for the Cowboys getting blasted off the field. Tom Brady will have no trouble racking up points and yards against the Cowboys’ secondary. When Prescott hits the field, he’ll be under duress and his receivers might have some issues getting open off the snap.
- Week 1 schedule prediction: Buccaneers 41, Cowboys 27
Week 2 – @ Los Angeles Chargers
|Sunday, Sept. 19||4:25 PM||CBS|
Don’t sleep on the Chargers in 2021. Los Angeles boasts the defensive talent to be a top-10 unit in the NFL and its offense offers just as much potential. New head coach Brandon Staley is a defensive guru who will find ways to contain the Cowboys’ passing attack and generate turnovers. Blowouts happen and the Chargers are more than capable of doing this to Dallas.
- Week 2 schedule prediction: Chargers 38, Cowboys 21
Week 3 – vs. Philadelphia Eagles
|Monday, Sept. 27||8:15 PM||ESPN|
The Eagles are rebuilding, even if the organization doesn’t want to call it that. While Jalen Hurts does some nice things, he’s not the caliber of passer who can attack the Cowboys’ secondary. On the other side, the Cowboys’ receiving corps will overwhelm Philadelphia and Prescott should go off for 300-plus yards and three touchdowns.
- Week 3 schedule prediction: Cowboys 34, Eagles 24
Week 4 – vs. Carolina Panthers
|Sunday, Oct. 3||1:00 PM||FOX|
If you’re looking for a matchup with highlight plays and plenty of scoring, this will be the game to watch. Carolina’s secondary should be more consistent in 2021, but it’s still very inexperienced and star players will make plays against it. Ultimately, this comes down to Prescott vs. Sam Darnold.
- Week 4 schedule prediction: Cowboys 31, Panthers 28
Week 5 – vs. New York Giants
|Sunday, Oct. 10||4:25 PM||FOX|
If you the Giants and Cowboys swapped quarterbacks, New York is a Super Bowl contender and Dallas is making a top-10 pick every year. The Giants’ defense is strong, especially the defensive backfield, but its pass rush couldn’t consistently get home last year and struggled against the run. Dallas has enough firepower, with a healthy Prescott, to win.
- Week 5 schedule prediction: Cowboys 27, Giants 21
Week 6 – @ New England Patriots
|Sunday, Oct. 17||4:25 PM||CBS|
Bill Belichick doesn’t like losing. After last year’s disappointing effort, the Patriots went out and spent like crazy this offseason. New England will enter the fall with a top-10 defense and its offense will use the running game, RPOs and quick passes to control the tempo. This should be a low-scoring game, with New England coming out on top.
- Week 6 schedule prediction: Patriots 24, Cowboys 21
WEEK 7 BYE
Week 8 – @ Minnesota Vikings
|Sunday, Oct. 31||8:20 PM||NBC|
Containing Minnesota’s rushing attack is the key to victory. While there are issues with the Cowboys’ secondary, this front seven will cause problems for opponents in 2021. With the speed and strength to win in the box, Dallas should walk out of Minnesota as the winner.
- Week 9 schedule prediction: Cowboys 31, Vikings 24
Week 9 – vs. Denver Broncos
|Sunday, Nov. 7||1:00 PM||FOX|
There’s no denying the talent on the Cowboys’ offense, most teams can’t match up with Elliott, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper. But Denver’s defense, with one of the deepest secondaries in the NFL and the pass-rush duo of Bradley Chubb and Von Miller, can contain Kellen Moore’s offense with a defensive masterpiece.
- Week 9 schedule prediction: Broncos 23, Cowboys 17
Week 10 – vs. Atlanta Falcons
|Sunday, Nov. 14||1:00 PM||FOX|
Atlanta’s offense should put up plenty of points in 2021, even after Julio Jones is traded. But defensively, the Falcons have one of the thinnest depth charts in the NFL. Prescott and Co. won’t need an onside kick to secure a victory, but there might need to be a few clutch fourth-quarter dimes from No. 4.
Dallas Cowboys schedule prediction: Cowboys 31, Falcons 27
Week 11 – @ Kansas City Chiefs
|Nov. 21||4:25 PM||FOX|
While matchups between great quarterbacks are fun, they become a little less interesting in games like this. The Chiefs’ roster is superior to what Dallas will throw out on the field, even if everyone is healthy. Patrick Mahomes will carve the Cowboys’ defense to shreds and this one might be over by halftime.
- Week 11 schedule prediction: Chiefs 35, Cowboys 24
Week 12 – vs. Las Vegas Raiders
|Thursday, Nov. 25||4:30 PM||FOX|
Dallas didn’t get a lot better this offseason, but the Las Vegas Raiders are much worse than the team we saw in 2020. Quinn’s defense will generate pressure on Derek Carr, Ezekiel Elliott can run wild against the Raiders’ defense and this one should be over by the third quarter.
- Week 12 schedule prediction: Cowboys 37, Raiders 27
Week 13 – @ New Orleans Saints
|Thursday, Dec. 2||8:20 PM||FOX/NFLN/Amazon|
If this game is played at home, Dallas probably snags a double-digit victory. Then again, it’s also possible Dallas could achieve that if Taysom Hill is the Saints’ full-time quarterback. This is a contest the Cowboys can win, especially considering all the personnel changes to the Saints’ defense this offseason.
- Week 13 schedule prediction: Cowboys 26, Saints 17
Week 14 – @ Washington Football Team
|Sunday, Dec. 12||1:00 PM||FOX|
It all starts in the trenches and that’s what allows Washington to take away what the Cowboys do best. Chase Young and Co. should have little issue getting to Prescott and with little time to throw, Washington’s secondary will create a game-changing turnover that decides this matchup.
- Week 14 schedule prediction: WFT 17, Cowboys 10
Week 15 – @ New York Giants
|Sunday, Dec. 19||1:00 PM||FOX|
Beating your rival twice in one year is difficult, especially when that opponent’s greatest strength is its defense. New York will control the clock, control the Cowboys’ offensive tempo and have the crowd on their side. This will be a matchup that comes down to the final minutes, but New York did more to improve this spring and is the better team on paper.
- Week 15 schedule prediction: Giants 23, Cowboys 17
Week 16 – vs. Washington Football Team
|Sunday, Dec. 26||8:20 PM||NBC|
In their two meetings against the Cowboys, Washington’s defense recorded 10 sacks and basically lived in the backfield. Chase Young is entering his second NFL season, Washington’s secondary is better than it was last season and its offense will be more explosive. With the WFT holding the advantages at key spots, they can exploit the Cowboys’ weaknesses.
- Week 16 schedule prediction: WFT 26, Cowboys 20
Week 17 – vs. Arizona Cardinals
|Sunday, Jan. 2||1:00 PM||FOX|
Prescott’s injury kept us from seeing a potential shootout when these teams faced off last year. This time around, the Cowboys’ star will make it a far more thrilling game. But Arizona added to its defense and Kyler Murray should make a huge leap in his third NFL season.
- Week 17 schedule prediction: Cardinals 38, Cowboys 28
Week 18 – @ Philadelphia Eagles
|Sunday, Jan. 9||1:00 PM||FOX|
The Cowboys won the draft-day trade with the Eagles and they will win this year’s rivalry series. Dallas is way too deep and talented at wide receiver for Philadelphia to handle and Prescott won’t miss big-play opportunities. With the Eagles unable to keep up, Dallas will especially enjoy a victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
- Week 18 schedule prediction: Cowboys 28, Eagles 20