#2: Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 1)
Now some critics might ask, “why is their only loss of the season ranked second?” That is because it marked the arrival of a resilient offense and defense for Dallas.
Not only did the Cowboys have to take on the defending Super Bowl champions at home, but they did it to kick off the 2021 season. This matchup brought in 24.8 million viewers, so all eyes were watching to see if Dallas would improve from their miserable 2020 season.
Dak Prescott went toe to toe with arguably the greatest quarterback ever in Tom Brady. After Prescott injured his throwing shoulder in training camp, he casually completed 42 of 58 passes for 403 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. The questions about his health were put to bed.
The Bucs are a difficult team to face, and if not for a couple of missed field goals by Greg Zuerlein, Dallas could easily be 5-0 right now. Moral victories do not show up on the win-loss column at the end of a season, but this game shaped the mentality for Dallas going forward.
If they were to take on Tampa Bay right now, I would put my money on Dallas because they are a much-improved team since their loss in Week 1.
#1: Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots (Week 6)
What. A. Game.
In my opinion, there can be no other game this season ranked higher than the Week 6 matchup with the New England Patriots. Dallas had the opportunity to take a commanding three-game division lead over their rivals and beat Head Coach Bill Belichek on his own turf. Bring it on.
Just like against the Giants in Week 5, this game did not start well for Dallas. Dak Prescott threw an interception and fumbled the ball on 4th and goal. They could have easily been up 21-10 going into halftime if not for their red zone miscues. Those mistakes have to be cleaned up.
Luckily, something got them fired up for the third quarter, and Dallas took the lead 17-14 after a touchdown pass to receiver CeeDee Lamb. However, penalties continued to plague their production. Then came the crazy 4th quarter.
The Patriots took the lead 21-20, and Dallas missed a field goal with 2:36 left to play in the game. It seemed like it was game over. Then the savior that Trevon Diggs is comes up with a clutch pick-six, and the Cowboys retake the lead 26-21 after missing a two-point conversion.
Then the floor breaks loose again when quarterback Mac Jones throws a 75-yard bomb on the very next play. The heads of Cowboys fans dropped in defeat, but with Prescott at quarterback, anything is possible.
Prescott went on to make multiple clutch throws which led to the game-tying field goal for overtime. From there, he put the game in his hands after the defense made a critical stop, and it was over. He threw a jump pass to Lamb for the game-winning score.
Dallas went into the bye week with a 5-1 record and talks of being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They currently rank No. 6 in our current power rankings. After their gutsy, hard-fought win against the Patriots, there is no reason to think this season cannot end in a Lombardi Trophy run.