The Cowboys will be trying to win their third NFC East title in five years when they navigate their 2020 schedule. After finishing 8-8 last season and letting the Eagles take back the division title, the Cowboys also missed out in the playoffs last season.
Dallas per usual will have six tricky games against Philadelphia, Washington and New York in the East. But it also must face every team from the NFC West and AFC North once this season as part of the interdivisional rotation.
The Cowboys, after being stuck mostly around .500 with a few spikes, finally made a coaching change from Jason Garrett to Mike McCarthy. Garrett finished 85-67 in his 10 years with the Cowboys, making the playoffs three times in his tenure. Before his year away from the NFL, McCarthy went 125-77-2 in 13 years with the Packers, earning a more impressive nine playoff trips and leading his team to a Super Bowl 45 victory after the 2010 season.
Jerry Jones stuck with Garrett as long as he could, but with a talented team the owner believes can get him that elusive fourth ring before the championship drought extends to 25 years, Jones went for big-name pedigree in looking for better results.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Cowboys’ 2020 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 16 games.
Dallas Cowboys schedule 2020
Here is the Dallas Cowboys’ complete schedule for 2020.
|1||Sept. 13||vs Rams||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|2||Sept. 20||vs Falcons||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|3||Sept. 27||vs Seahawks||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|4||Oct. 4||vs Browns||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|5||Oct. 11||vs Giants||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|6||Oct. 19 (Monday)||vs Cardinals||8:15 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|7||Oct. 25||vs Redskins||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|8||Nov. 1||vs Eagles||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|9||Nov. 8||vs Steelers||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|11||Nov. 22||vs Vikings||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|12||Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving)||vs Redskins||4:30 p.m. ET||Fox|
|13||Dec. 3 (Thursday)||vs Ravens||8:20 p.m. ET||Fox/NFLN/Amazon|
|14||Dec. 13||vs Bengals||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|15||Dec. 20||vs 49ers||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|16||Dec. 27||vs Eagles||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|17||Jan 3||vs Giants||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
Week 1: Cowboys vs Los Angeles Rams (Sunday Night Football)
The Dallas Cowboys are still America’s Team and for that reason, they will be kicking things off under the bright lights on Sunday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams. It will be a huge game as the Rams will be debuting SoFi Stadium, their nearly $5 billion Inglewood home — and will be doing so against the most visible franchise in the NFL.
Expect the Rams to be pumped about the attention their new home field will bring, however, this team is trending in the wrong direction. Dallas should be able to spoil their debut as head coach Mike McCarthy gets off to a hot start with his new team.
Week 2: Atlanta Falcons vs Cowboys
After a big win against the Rams to kick off the season, the Cowboys return home to face the Atlanta Falcons. While Los Angeles is trending in the wrong direction, they’re following the lead of the Dirty Birds, who lost in the Super Bowl two seasons before L.A. did.
Don’t expect this to be the season it starts to turn around for them after subpar offseason which is banking on the addition of two former Rams in Dante Fowler and Todd Gurley. Another win for Dallas here.
Week 3: Dallas Cowboys vs Seattle Seahawks
The Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks go back and forth a lot. They’re very similar teams, and a lot of that was by design as Jason Garrett and Rod Marinelli did all they could to emulate the success in Seattle. While Dallas is forging their own identity now under Mike McCarthy, they’re still going to be learning some new philosophies and that gives Seattle the advantage — especially with them being at home.
Week 4: Cleveland Browns vs Dallas Cowboys
The Cleveland Browns are a much better team on paper this season than last. And they were good on paper last year. The coaching held them back and if Kevin Stefanski is the real deal, they should finally start to get some wins.
Pair their talent up with the tendency the Dallas players have to overlook teams and this one could be another loss early in the season. And of course, the sky will be falling with a 2-2 start.
Week 5: New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
Dallas now takes on the New York Giants, and the boys from East Rutherford will be pumped for this game. They have Jason Garrett on the sideline now as the offensive coordinator. Unfortunately for them, Garrett has no tricks this team won’t know. They also have a rookie head coach and a roster that doesn’t scare too many teams. The Cowboys shake of the .500 start and hope to get rolling here.
Week 6: Arizona Cardinals vs Dallas Cowboys (Monday Night Football)
Back in prime time as the Cowboys play a third-straight home game, this time on Monday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals. A former divisional rival, the Cardinals are trending in the right direction with head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray. They also added a stud at receiver in DeAndre Hopkins.
The problem is, their defense remains a weakness and Dallas has too much firepower for a team with holes on that side of the ball to deal with. At this point in their respective careers, Dak Prescott (yes he will be re-signed) gets the nod over Murray in a shootout.
Week 7: Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins
Dallas is going to have a hard time with the Washington Redskins this season. These two seem to always play tough no matter the record, but this could be even more true with the addition of Chase Young in D.C. He’s going to make life hard on Prescott and the Dallas offensive line, but again, the experience wins out as Prescott makes just enough plays to outduel the youthful Dwayne Haskins.
Week 8: Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday Night Football)
Personally, I am not a fan of what the Philadelphia Eagles did this offseason. Not only did they not add a prototypical No. 1 receiver, but they used their second pick on a quarterback in Jalen Hurts. That’s a bad idea when you already have whispers surfacing about Carson Wentz and his lack of leadership — and just paid him over $100 million guaranteed.
This probably isn’t going to be a good season for them, and for those trying to compare Hurts to Taysom Hill think about this, when is the last time a gadget player made a difference in the standings? And no, New Orleans doesn’t count. They were good before Hill. Oh and also, Hurts and Hill are nothing alike, so there’s that as well.
Week 9: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Dallas Cowboys
The four-game winning streak was nice, but all good things must end. The Cowboys should be able to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, but again, they sometimes overlook teams. And it’s not like them to reel off five wins in a row, so they suffer a let-down here. Still, they’re in great shape, so there’s no need to panic.
Week 10: Bye Week
A much-needed bye week comes in Week 10, and it’s a great time for them to have it as they can prepare for their tough stretch coming up with a game on Sunday followed by their Thanksgiving contest.
Week 11: Dallas Cowboys vs Minnesota Vikings
Last season, the Cowboys dropped a close game against the Minnesota Vikings and it led to a lot of frustration from fans. They were in range to take over late but the coaching staff took the ball out of the hands of Dak Prescott — who was dealing — and force-fed Ezekiel Elliott — who was not. And fans really lost it when Jason Garrett started blaming that on trying to establish the run, which is not something a team usually does on the final drive of the game. Then again, usual and Garrett never really worked.
With Garrett gone, there’s little chance of this happening again. Mike McCarthy will unleash Kellen Moore and his playcalling as the Boys get some revenge for their defeat a season ago.
Week 12: Washington Redskins vs Dallas Cowboys (Thanksgiving Day)
The Cowboys suffered a terrible defeat to the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving a season ago and this time, they get a divisional opponent in the Washington Redskins. Again, these teams always play one another close and while Dallas got the best of them earlier in the season, they get dealt a loss here as well. It might just be too much to expect them to sweep the entire NFC East, even though they’re the better team on paper.
Week 13: Dallas Cowboys vs Baltimore Ravens (Thursday Night Football)
Again, their loss from the prior week will have the sky falling in Big D. But that feeling goes away here as they score a huge statement win.
While Dallas often has their letdown games, they also have the occasional unexpected win. They knocked off the 13-0 New Orleans Saints in 2009 and the 9-0 Indianapolis Colts in 2007. There was also the 13-10 win over the 10-1 Saints in 2018 no one saw coming.
This one could be just as huge of an upset as they end up corraling Lamar Jackson and getting a huge win in the bright lights to salvage their season.
Week 14: Dallas Cowboys vs Cincinnati Bengals
After knocking off the Baltimore Ravens, the Cowboys travel to Ohio to take on Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. While Burrow has a bright future, he doesn’t have enough of a supporting cast at this point. Also, Dallas is feeling unstoppable at this point and they guarantee there will be no 8-8 jokes as they get win No. 9 on the season. This one is for Andy.
Week:15: San Francisco 49ers vs Dallas Cowboys (Sunday Night Football)
Frustrations mount as the Cowboys play one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers were in the Super Bowl last season and are still going to be tough in 2020. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is the real deal and gives former Niners head coach Mike Nolan (the new Cowboys defensive coordinator) fits.
On the other side of the ball, Nick Bosa and the 49ers unstoppable defensive line is too much for the Cowboys as they will struggle to get into a good rhythm.
Week 16: Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are still in the race for the playoffs and all they need to do is knock off the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16 to ensure that happens. For as much love as Carson Wentz gets, he struggles in these games as teams with a winning record have been giving him fits as of late. Dallas gets the win here and they lock up their division with one game to play.
Week 17: Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants
Jason Garrett gets his revenge. Kind of.
With the Cowboys wrapping up the division, they don’t use their starters for much of this game — and with the new playoff format, there’s less reason for them to do so unless they’re in line for the No. 1 overall seed.
With that not happening in this scenario, they rest up and Joe Judge and Jason Garrett get a win against Andy Dalton and some of the Cowboys backups. It’s never fun to lose to a divisional rival but this one won’t sting too much.
Final Record 10-6
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off an 8-8 season which felt like a complete disaster. The talent on their roster suggested they should have had at least 10 wins and while they did lose some of their starters this year, they have the depth to be even better this coming season.
10-6 might not sound like a huge upgrade from 8-8, but it really is. Not only does it give them a double-digit winning season in Mike McCarthy’s first season as the head coach, but it’s enough to win the NFC East.
For Dak Prescott, this will be the third time in his career that the Cowboys win their division and that makes it even more difficult for his detractors to pick on him. It won’t stop them, because that comes with the territory of being the quarterback for America’s Team, but they will have to at least get more creative.
Of course, simply winning 10 games and making it to the playoffs won’t be enough to consider this a successful season in Big D. They were able to do that more than once with Jason Garrett, but the problem was always what happened in the postseason.
Garrett was 2-3 in the playoffs, including a disheartening loss to Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 playoffs. McCarthy, who is 10-8 with a Super Bowl ring, was brought in to help them have success in the postseason and he has no grace period. Fair or not, feels like anything short of an NFC Championship Game will be a failure.