2. Week 17 vs. Detroit Lions
They may not have made the playoffs last year, but the Detroit Lions were obviously becoming a force to be reckoned with by the end of the regular season. As for the year ahead, they're one of the top threats to win the entire NFC.
As I talked about with the 49ers, one factor that makes this game a must-win is that it's a potential tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs. That's obviously a huge edge, both in terms of recovery time for potentially injured players and in how much easier it is to win three playoff games than four.
Even if we're not duking it out for a potential tiebreaker, a Week 17 win or loss has the potential to cause massive shakeups in the playoff seeding regardless of where the Cowboys stand.
This will also be a potential breath of fresh air during a really tough part of the schedule, as Dallas returns home for this one after back-to-back road games against Buffalo and Miami.
It's hard to love the timing (Saturday night on December 30), but this game is a pivotal one all the same.