The long wait came to end last night as the NFL released the 2012 NFL schedule. So many fans could not wait to look at their teams schedules to see who they played first, did they have any primetime game, were they home or away for more than two weeks in a row, when were the division games being played. Then I’m sure most fans like me went down the schedule one game at time thinking to themselves, that game is a win and so is that game and we can’t lose to that team. By the time they got to the last game their team is normally at 13-3 or maybe 14-2. Don’t lie, we all do it and it doesn’t matter how well or bad your team was the previous season. With a new season comes new hope for all. It reminds me of a movie from 2009 called “Big Fan”. If you have not seen it, you should. It’s about a crazy Giants fan that will do anything for his team including taking a beating from his favorite player and not pressing charges. But at the end of the movie this fan and his best friend are talking about the schedule that was just released and they start doing what I have been talking about as far as thinking their team can win almost every game. It was a moment that we as fans do every year around this time.
So I’m sure by now all Cowboys fans have seen the 2012 schedule. We found out a few weeks ago that the Cowboys would be opening the season against the Giants in NJ. It’s also the eighth time in the last nine seasons that the Cowboys have opened the season on the road. Some other things that jumped out to me were that four of the Cowboys first six games are on the road. That includes their longest trip of the season in Week 2 against Seattle on September 16th. Along with the Cowboys bye week on October 7th, I guess it can be looked at that they also have two other mini Bye weeks. After playing the Giants the first week of the season on Wednesday, September 5th, they have 11 days to prepare for their trip to Seattle on September 16th. Of course the Cowboys have their annual Thanksgiving Day game, which this season will be against the Redskins on November 22nd. They will have their usual 10 days to get ready for their next game against the Eagles, which is at home on December 2nd. Another nice thing for the Cowboys is after returning home after their game in Philadelphia on November 11th, they don’t have to travel again until they go to Cincinnati on December 9th. That’s a nice long home stretch for them.
Week 1: at Giants – The Cowboys start the season where they ended the 2011 season . And to make matters worse they have to watch as the team that knocked them out of the playoffs and took the division title away from them celebrate their Super Bowl Championship. The Cowboys have lost 5 of the last 6 to the Giants and are 1-1 in the new MetLife Stadium.
Week 2: at Seattle – Romo returns to Seattle for the first time since that forgettable playoff trip back in 2006 when he fumbled the field goal snap.
Week 3: Tampa Bay – The Cowboys 2012 home opener against the Buccaneers who they have beaten the last four times they have played. Let’s hope the Bucs decide to wear their old orange and white uniforms that remind me of the playoff games against the Cowboys back in the early 80’s.
Week 4: Chicago – The last time the Bears came to Cowboys Stadium they dropped the Boys to 0-2 in what would end up being a 6-10 nightmare season.
Week 5: Bye Week
Week 6: at Baltimore – Last time the Cowboys and Ravens played was the last game ever played in Texas Stadium and ended up not being a memorable one. This time the Cowboys travel to Baltimore. The Cowboys have never beaten the Ravens since they moved from Cleveland.
Week 7: at Carolina – The Cowboys have won the last four meetings against the Panthers and three of those four were in Carolina. This time they will need to stop Cam Newton.
Week 8: Giants – The Cowboys will finish with the Giants before November comes around. Compare that to last season when they played the Giants twice in December. The last time the Cowboys beat the Giants at home was back in 2008, which was in Texas Stadium.
Week 9: at Atlanta – It’s the site of the Cowboys Super Bowl XXVIII victory, which seems like a million years ago for the Cowboys and their fans. Against the Falcons the Cowboys have won the last two meetings.
Week 10: at Philadelphia – The Cowboys have lost the last two meetings to the Eagles and are 2-2 in the last four in Philadelphia. The Cowboys are also 0-3 against Michael Vick as the Eagles QB.
Week 11: Cleveland – The Cowboys have won the last two meetings against the Browns. The last time they played was the season opener in Cleveland back in 2008.
Week 12: Washington – The annual Thanksgiving Day game in 2012 is against the rival Redskins and their new QB RG3, if he ends up with the Redskins with the #2 pick in the draft. The Cowboys have won the last three meetings against the Redskins and six of the last seven.
Week 13: Philadelphia – The Cowboys are 2-2 against the Eagles in the last four games in Cowboys Stadium. One of those wins coming in the 2009 playoffs.
Week 14: at Cincinnati – The Cowboys are only 1-3 when playing in Cincinnati. The last time they played there was back in 2004. Their only win coming in 1994. The Cowboys will also be playing against former Cowboys Terence Newman, Pacman Jones and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
Week 15: Pittsburgh – The last time the Steelers came to Dallas was back in 2004 when Ben Roethlisberger was a rookie. He led the Steelers to two fourth quarter touchdowns to beat the Cowboys 24-20.
Week 16: New Orleans – Back in 2010 the Cowboys played the Saints on Thanksgiving and were losing 20-6 at halftime. After mounting an incredible comeback the Cowboys led 27-23 late in the game when Roy Williams caught a pass which could have sealed the victory, but he fumbled at the Saints 11 yard line. The Saints turned that into a game winning touchdown drive and won 30-27.
Week 17: at Redskins – The Cowboys are 3-1 in the last four games in Washington. That loss coming on opening night of the 2010 season.
So there you have it. Now we sit and wait and wonder what the 2012 season has in store for the Cowboys. Will this be the season they finally make it back to the Super Bowl? Will they even make the playoffs? Will they just miss making it like in 2011? No one knows for sure, but since it’s the Cowboys we do know that the ride will be interesting to say the least.