Is it dramatic to deem a single regular season game a must-win before the season even gets started? Maybe, but with just a 17-game regular season it's really hard to overstate how much importance a single win can carry.
And we all know that wins and losses aren't all created equal. Only the most delusional fans think their team will go 17-0, so there are some games on the schedule that fans won't be too worried about losing. The better your team, however, the fewer of those spots you can afford to have.
And the Dallas Cowboys are vying to be the best team in the 2023-24 season. This is a squad with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, and it's not just Cowboys fans saying it. The betting markets fully agree, ranking Dallas No. 6 in the NFL (and No. 3 in the NFC) in Super Bowl odds.
Just about every other legitimate contender in the NFC is on the Cowboys' schedule this season, which means plenty of tough tests and the need to rack up a few wins over that top competition.
With that in mind, here are three games that Dallas absolutely cannot afford to lose in the 2023-24 campaign.