Three weeks ago, we took an early look at the 2021 NFL schedule. At the time, we had assumed the Cowboys would finish last in the division, and the NFL had not yet confirmed there will be a 17th game next season.
Since yesterday, we know that the Cowboys finished third in the division, and the opponent for that 17th game is also a matter of public, if not official, record:
Re: 17-game slate, the inter-conference rotation for '21 ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 28, 2020
Full crossover: NFC East/AFC West, NFC North/AFC North, NFC South/AFC East, NFC West, AFC South.
1-game crossover (1 v. 1, 2 v. 2, etc.): NFC East/AFC East, NFC North/AFC West, NFC South/AFC South, NFC West/AFC North.
For the Cowboys, that 17th opponent will be the Patriots.
In addition, the Cowboys will play three home games and three away games against the NFC East. They will play four games against the NFC South and four games against the AFC West, and they’ll play the third-placed teams from the NFC West and NFC North.
And except for that game against the Patriots, all home and away matchups have already been predetermined. All that info is conveniently summarized in the table below, with the 2020 record for each team included:
|NFC East||Washington (7-9)||Washington (7-9)|
|NY Giants (6-10)||NY Giants (6-10)|
|Philadelphia (4-11-1)||Philadelphia (4-11-1)|
|NFC South||Carolina (5-11)||New Orleans (12-4)|
|Atlanta (4-12)||Tampa Bay (11-5)|
|AFC West||Las Vegas (8-8)||Kansas City (12-4)|
|Denver (5-11)||LA Chargers (7-9)|
|Intraconference||Arizona (8-8)||Minnesota (7-9)|
|Interconference||New England (7-9)|
This looks like a fairly soft schedule overall, with just three games against opponents with a winning record in 2020, even if all three will be on the road (KC, NO, TB).
And the season will start early for the Cowboys in 2021, as they are scheduled to play in the Hall of Fame Game on August 5 against Pittsburgh, a game originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic. The NFL regular season will kick off on Thursday, September 9, 2021.
What are your thoughts on the 2021 schedule?