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Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates his rushing touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the third quarter at AT&T Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Arlington, Texas.

The Dallas Cowboys Will Reveal Themselves as a Pretender or Contender by Week 13, According to Mark Sanchez: ‘In the Next 12 Days, I’m Going to Know Everything I Need to Know About Dallas’

The Dallas Cowboys have a brutal three games in 12 days stretch that will go a long way toward deciding the fate of Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons, and the 2021 Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the top teams in the NFL so far in the 2021 season. Now, they face an incredibly difficult stretch of games the likes of which no other team in the league has to contend with. Starting with the Week 11 game of the week against the rejuvenated Kansas City Chiefs, the Cowboys will play three games in 12 days that NFL analyst Mark Sanchez believes will define their season.

The Dallas Cowboys are off to a hot start in 2021

After a nightmare 6-10 season in 2020 where the Dallas Cowboys lost their franchise QB to a devastating leg injury, the team and its fans were optimistic coming into 2021.

The Cowboys got Dak Prescott back, all their explosive offensive weapons came into the year looking good, and the team drafted a potential game-changer on defense in Micah Parsons.

Eleven weeks into the season, that optimism seems completely justified.

Dallas lost a competitive nail-biter to the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1. Loss No. 2 didn’t come until a sleepwalking performance against the Denver Broncos in Week 9.

Outside of those two slip-ups, the Cowboys have outscored their opponents 239-134 in the franchise’s seven victories.

As we approach the home stretch of the season, the Cowboys are only a half-game away from being the No. 1 overall team in the NFC and earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

However, the team has a three-game stretch that starts in Week 11 that could define its season. The team plays three games in the next 12 days — two of which are on the road — and, as Mark Sanchez believes, that will tell us everything we need to know about the 2021 Dallas Cowboys.

Mark Sanchez believes playing three games in 12 days will prove if the Cowboys are for real

Former New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez is now a FOX NFL analyst and, in this capacity, joined The Herd with Colin Cowherd to discuss a variety of NFL topics. 

The Dallas Cowboys’ Week 11 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs in the game of the week, so Sanchez weighed in on that, telling Cowherd:

In the next 12 days, I’m going to know everything I need to know about Dallas. On the road at KC, then they get home against Las Vegas on Thanksgiving, then they’re on the road at New Orleans. So three unfamiliar teams in a span of about 12 days, that’s going to tell me everything. … They manage that properly, it’s a 2-1, 3-0 stretch, there we go.

Mark Sanchez on the Dallas Cowboys

As wild as it sounds, Sanchez has that right. The Cowboys play this Sunday (Nov. 21) against the Chiefs, Thanksgiving Thursday (Nov. 25) against the Raiders, and the next Thursday Night Football game (Dec. 2) in New Orleans against the Saints.

It is a brutal stretch, and, as Sanchez also mentioned to Cowherd, managing health will be key. The former QB mentioned injured T Tyron Smith and DE Randy Gregory but didn’t yet know about WR Amari Cooper. The unvaccinated receiver will now miss both the Chiefs and Raiders games due to COVID-19 protocols.

With these injuries and the sheer effort it will take to win three games in less than two weeks, this will truly be the defining stretch of the Cowboys’ 2021 season.

The good news is, if they get through this, the NFC path to the Super Bowl could go through Jerry World.

After the 12-day stretch, the Cowboys could cruise to a No. 1 seed 


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If the Dallas Cowboys can do what Mark Sanchez suggests and go 2-1 or even 3-0 during their tough 12-day stretch, the sky could be the limit for this year’s team.

After the Week 11, 12, 13 gauntlet, the schedule should get much easier for Dak Prescott and company. The last five games of the season include four divisional games against their anemic NFC East brethren.

Dallas gets the Washington Football Team twice, the New York Giants, and the (possibly resurgent?) Philadelphia Eagles.

The most challenging game is against eth Arizona Cardinals. However, the fact that the Cowboys have that game on the schedule makes getting a No. 1 seed even more possible. If the ‘Boys can beat the Cards head-to-head, that could give the team a leg up in the home-field advantage race.

After a horrific 2020, Dallas Cowboys fans have every right to feel good about what’s going on so far in 2021. If they can keep it up for 12 more days, fans could (and probably should) start to get downright ecstatic.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference