The Dallas Cowboys have regained their place among the top teams in the NFL.
And while their status as one of the league’s main draws never waned, the cachet of being a Super Bowl-contending team has them living in prime time in 2015.
The NFL announced its schedule Tuesday night, and it 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 at home against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. They have Sunday night games Oct. 4 against the Saints in New Orleans and Nov. 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles in Arlington. They visit the Washington Redskins on Dec. 7 on Monday Night Football and have a Saturday night game at home against the New York Jets on Dec. 19.
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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, and a playoff rematch with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Dec. 13.
The Cowboys host the Carolina Panthers in their annual Thanksgiving Day game on. Nov. 26.
Below is an early forecast of the Cowboys’ game-to-game prospects in 2015.
Sept. 13: vs. Giants, 7:30 p.m., KXAS/5
It’s the second time in three years the Cowboys will host the New York Giants in prime time on Sunday night to open the season. The Cowboys swept the Giants in each of the past two seasons and have won five of the past six in the series. Same ol, Same ol’. Win
Sept. 20: at Eagles, 3:25 p.m., KDFW/4
The Cowboys get their first matchup with former running back DeMarco Murray, who certainly has something to prove to his former team. The bigger problem for him might be Philly’s suspect quarterback play. Win
Sept. 27: vs. 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. Win
Oct. 4: at Saints, 7:30 p.m., KXAS/5
The Cowboys exorcised their December demons last year 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 to be in rebuilding mode. Win
Oct. 11: vs. 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. Romo will match his real footballs against the deflated ones of Tom Brady. Loss
Oct. 25: at 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 Jr., and Tom Coughlin is too good of a coach to lose six straight to the Cowboys. Loss
Nov. 1: vs. 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. The Cowboys will back it up as the formula remains the same. Win
Nov. 8: vs. 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 they are not a better team, with no firepower on the outside or home run hitters. Win
Nov. 15: at Buccaneers, noon, KDFW/4
This is will be a matchup 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 their offer. He is the real MVP. Win
Nov. 22: at Dolphins, noon, KDFW/4
Might the Cowboys consider staying in Florida for the entire week? It’s tough to travel to the East Coast twice in two weeks with a return home between trips. It will likely take its toll against a solid Dolphins team that is stingy at home. Loss
Nov. 26: vs. Panthers, 3:25 p.m., KTVT/11
Defensive end Greg Hardy will get to face his former team when Carolina visits AT&T on Thanksgiving. Cam Newton needs to beware of the Kraken, who knows all about the Panthers’ suspect offensive line. Win
Dec. 7: at 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 still are not a good football team, but they continue to the give the rival Cowboys fits. Loss
Dec. 13: at 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 will the Cowboys finally be able to contain Aaron Rodgers? That’s why they signed Hardy. Win
Dec. 19: vs. Jets, 7:25 p.m., NFL Network
The Jets will have defense under new coach Todd Bowles. When he was Arizona’s defensive coordinator last year, the Cardinals beat the Cowboys with a backup quarterback. He now has Darrelle Revis. Too bad he still has Geno Smith, who will be no match for a healthy Romo. Win
Dec. 27: at Bills, noon, KDFW/4
The Cowboys better hope their playoff positioning is locked up as no one wants this cold, late-December game at defensive-minded Buffalo. Rex Ryan will be up to his old tricks and the Cowboys could get caught slipping. Loss
Jan. 3: vs. Redskins, noon, KDFW/4
The final game always has a chance to get flexed to later in the afternoon or even prime time, depending on the playoff situation. The Cowboys will likely be fighting for home-field advantage. Washington will be out the playoffs and possibly playing its last game with Robert Griffin III. Win