After a 6-2 start to the season, the Dallas Cowboys are looking ahead to the second half as they come out of their bye week. Today, we rank the three most pivotal matchups remaining on Dallas’ schedule.
3) Week 10: AT Green Bay Packers (3-6)
It just so happens that Dallas’ next game is going to be one of the most pivotal in determining how the rest of their season goes. Coming out of the bye, the Cowboys travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers.
Green Bay has been arguably the most disappointing team in the league so far this season. The Packers sit at 3-6, losers of five straight games. Green Bay’s quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, had not lost five games in a row since 2008 and is having one of, if not the, worst season of his career.
Football Outsiders gives the Packers just a 10% chance of making the playoffs with their 3-6 record.
So the Cowboys should go into Green Bay and stomp the Packers, right? Not so fast. Dating back to 1997, the Cowboys have lost six of their last eight games at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers is also 7-3 against Dallas in his career, throwing 16 touchdown passes to just three interceptions.
Yes, the Cowboys are a much better team than the Packers, but this will be Rodgers and Green Bay’s final chance if they want any hope of making the postseason. Combined with the Packers coming into this game with a do-or-die mentality and Dallas’ historic struggles at Lambeau Field, and against Rogers in general, make this a very pivotal matchup.
If the Cowboys are able to go into Green Bay and win this game it will show that this team is indeed different than the teams we’ve seen in recent years.
2) Week 12: VS New York Giants (6-2)
It’s pretty hard to believe just how much the Cowboys have dominated the Giants in recent memory. Dating back to the 2017 season, Dallas has won 10 of the last 11 matchups between the two teams, including going 5-0 at home.
Since Dak Prescott was drafted back in 2016, when he is under center the Cowboys are 9-2 against New York. Prescott has been as good against the Giants as he has against any team, throwing 21 touchdown passes to just five interceptions in his 11 games against the G-Men.
While the Cowboys have dominated New York recently, this is a much different Giants team than we are used to seeing. The Giants’ defense has played very well, allowing the ninth-fewest (157) points in the league, and their running game has led their offense, rushing for over 150 yards in a game four times.
With the Cowboys and Giants both sitting at 6-2, this Thanksgiving Day showdown will be very important for both teams. If the Cowboys are able to beat the Giants and complete the season sweep, they guarantee themselves the direct tiebreaker if the two teams finish with the same record.
Dallas has not been good on Thanksgiving Day recently, losing four of their last five games on the holiday. That will have to change this season as they face the Giants in a huge matchup.
1) Week 16: VS Philadelphia Eagles (8-0)
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The Christmas Eve showdown between the Cowboys and Eagles will in all likelihood go a long way in determining who wins the NFC East.
The Eagles have the upper hand on the Cowboys, winning the first matchup between the two teams and sitting with an undefeated record. But, with games against the Commanders, Packers, Titans, and Giants ahead of them, Philly could easily lose a game or two before Week 16.
Even if the Eagles come into this matchup undefeated and the Cowboys have virtually no shot of winning the division, this game will set the tone for the rest of the Cowboys' season. This is Dallas’ chance to get Philadelphia at full strength and get some revenge for their October loss.
There’s a decent chance Christmas Eve won’t be the last time these two teams matchup this year, but the winner of this Week 16 game will have a clear upper hand heading into a potential round three.