The perks of being America's Team: the 6-10 Dallas Cowboys are still awarded five primetime games in 2021

Dan Rogers

Love them or hate them, people can't stop talking about them.

It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are one of the most polarizing teams in sports, and it's been that way for quite some time. What started out as a catchy title by NFL Films in the late '70s turned into a moniker that has been with the Cowboys for over 40 years. Whether people want to acknowledge the Cowboys as "America's Team" or not really doesn't matter, because year in and year out, it's the Cowboys that people flock to see.

Dallas is the most valuable franchise across all of sports, valued at $5.7 billion. That's an impressive feat considering they haven't celebrated a Super Bowl victory in over 25 years. The Cowboys are a television ratings magnet, often seen repeatedly on the list of games with the highest viewership. So, it shouldn't be all that surprising that despite only winning six games last season, the Cowboys can be found not once, not twice, not three times, not even four times, but FIVE times on primetime television this upcoming season.

On Wednesday night, the NFL released their 2021 schedules. Here are the Cowboys opponents for the new season:
Cowboys 2021 schedule@TheCowboysNet / Twitter

The Cowboys kick off their season with a Thursday night game against the defending Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What better way to mark the return of Dak Prescott than to pit him against future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, a player that has never lost a game to the Cowboys during his 21 years in the league. That Thursday night opener gives the Cowboys the benefit of a long week with extra rest without having to endure the short week that typically preludes a Thursday night game.

The Cowboys primetime games this year are as follows:

Week 1: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (away), Thursday Night (NBC)

Week 3: Philadelphia Eagles (home), Monday Night (ESPN)

Week 8: Minnesota Vikings (away), Sunday Night (NBC)

Week 13: New Orleans Saints (away), Thursday Night (FOX/NFL Network/Amazon)

Week 16: Washington (home), Sunday Night (NBC)

In addition to those games, the Cowboys will play their traditional Thanksgiving game in Week 12, this year against the Las Vegas Raiders on CBS. This means that regardless of where you live, the Cowboys are guaranteed at least six nationally broadcasted games.

Looking at the Cowboys schedule, there are a few bumps along the way. They kickoff the season with two-straight road games, and have a stretch of three-straight road games from Week 13 to Week 15. Four of their final five games will come against divisional rivals, three of which will be on the road. That's likely to be a very critical stretch for the Cowboys and possibly have serious playoff implications.

And that's not the only schedule obstacles the Cowboys have to face this year. Not only do they have to play both participants of last year's Super Bowl in Tampa Bay and the Kansas City Chiefs, but both contests will be on the road.

The Cowboys do have some perks as well. Thanks to every one of their divisional foes finishing with a losing record, the Cowboys benefit by having the second-easiest schedule in the NFL. Their upcoming opponents only won 45.2% of their games last season.

Dallas also has three games this season (Chargers in Week 2, Eagles in Week 3, and Washington in Week 14) where they will go into it with extra rest thanks to the previous Thursday Night/Monday Night games.

The Cowboys are one of eight teams that will have five primetime games this season. The other seven are the: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Baltimore Ravens, and Green Bay Packers. All of those teams have played in the Super Bowl (five of them have won) at least once since 2010. So, despite the Cowboys lack of success in recent years, they're still a team that the TV executives want to place under the lights.

Here is a full list of the Cowboys games for the 2021 season, including their four preseason games courtesy of Jon Machota from The Athletic.

What games are you most looking forward to this year? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know what you think about the Cowboys 2021 schedule.

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