The Dallas Cowboys have regained their place among the top teams in the NFL.
And while their status as one of the league’s top draws never waned, the cachet of a Super Bowl-contending Cowboys team has them living in prime time in 2015.
The NFL schedule features at least six national television appearances for the Cowboys, including five prime-time games on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, ESPN’s Monday Night Football and the NFL Network.
The Cowboys open the season in prime time Sept. 13 against the New York Giants. They also have Sunday night games Oct. 4 on the road against the New Orleans Saints and Nov. 8 at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. They visit the Washington Redskins for a Monday night game Dec. 7 and on Dec. 19 host the New York Jets in a rare Saturday night game.
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Other highlights include home games against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Oct. 11 and the two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 1.
The Cowboys host the Carolina Panthers in their annual Thanksgiving Day game Nov. 26.
Sept. 13 New York Giants
7:30 p.m., KXAS/5: Dallas will open the season in prime time on Sunday night for the second time in three years. The Cowboys swept the Giants in each of the past two seasons and have won five of the past six in the series. Same old, same old. W
Sept. 20 @Philadelphia Eagles
3:25 p.m., KDFW/4: The Cowboys get their first matchup with running back DeMarco Murray, who certainly has something to prove to his former team. The bigger problem for him might be the suspect Philly quarterback play. W
Sept. 27 Atlanta Falcons
Noon, KDFW/4: The Falcons are in rebuilding mode with a new coach and not yet ready for the playoff-contending Cowboys. Tony Romo should feast on the Atlanta defense. W
Oct. 4 @New Orleans Saints
7:30 p.m., KXAS/5: The Cowboys exorcised their December demons last season as well as their struggles against Drew Brees and the Saints. The tables have turned as the Cowboys are now the big dogs of the Southwest while New Orleans appears in be in rebuilding mode. W
Oct. 11 New England Patriots
3:25 p.m., KTVT/11: The Cowboys get the defending Super Bowl champions in the friendly confines of JerryWorld. This is the first big test to see if they are Super Bowl worthy. But the deflated Patriots might be without the suspended Tom Brady. W
Oct. 18 BYE
Oct. 25 @New York Giants
3:25 p.m., KDFW/4: The Cowboys’ dominance against the Giants is due to come to an end. New York is too explosive with Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham and Tom Coughlin is too good of a coach to lose six in a row to the Cowboys. L
Nov. 1 Seattle Seahawks
3:25 p.m., KDFW/4: This is the team the Cowboys wanted to play in the NFC Championship Game. The team they thought they could beat. Seattle remembers last year’s upset and the cocky talk. L
Nov. 8 Philadelphia Eagles
7:30 p.m., KXAS/5: Philadelphia made headlines in the off-season with a number of flashy moves and big-money contracts. Reality is setting in that they are not a better team with no firepower on the outside or home run hitters on the field. W
Nov. 15 @Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Noon, KDFW/4: This will be a meeting against a few former Cowboys including Henry Melton, Bruce Carter and Sterling Moore. But the one the Buccaneers really wanted, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, rebuffed the offer. He is the real MVP. W
Nov. 22 @Miami Dolphins
Noon, KDFW/4: Might the Cowboys consider staying in Florida for the entire week? It’s tough to travel from the East Coast home and back for two consecutive weeks. Travel will likely take its toll against a solid Dolphins team that is stingy at home. L
Nov. 26 Carolina Panthers
3:25 p.m, KTVT/11: Defensive end Greg Hardy will get to face his former team when the Panthers come to AT&T for the annual Thanksgiving Day game. Cam Newton needs to beware of the Kraken, who knows all about the suspect Panthers offensive line. W
Dec. 7 @Washington Redskins
7:30 p.m., ESPN: It’s always a shop of horrors in at least one game against the Redskins every year, especially for Romo. The Redskins are still not a good football team, but they continue to the give the rival Cowboys fits. L
Dec. 13 @Green Bay Packers
3:25 p.m., KDFW/4: Yes, Dez Bryant caught the ball. It didn’t count last year. And it won’t matter in the rematch against the Packers this year. The big question is whether the Cowboys will finally be able to contain Aaron Rodgers. That’s why they signed Greg Hardy. W
Dec. 19 New York Jets
7:25 p.m., NFL Network: The Jets will have defense under new coach Todd Bowles. He beat the Cowboys last year as the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator. He now has Darrelle Revis. Too bad he still has Geno Smith, who will be no match for a healthy Romo. W
Dec. 27 @Buffalo Bills
Noon, KDFW/4: The Cowboys better hope their playoff positioning is locked up as no one relishes a cold, late-December game at defensive-minded Buffalo. Rex Ryan will be up to his old tricks and the Cowboys could get caught slipping. L
Jan. 3 Washington Redskins
Noon, KDFW/4: This final game always has a chance to get flexed to later in the afternoon or prime time, depending on playoff implications. The Cowboys likely will be fighting for home-field advantage against a Redskins team that is out of the playoffs and possibly playing its last game with Robert Griffin III. W