Cowboys schedule analysis

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Breakdown: It had been rumored the Cowboys would open the season on the road against the Denver Broncos, so the road game against the Bucs comes as a bit of a surprise. As the Beast had already reported, Jerry Jones and the City of Arlington will open their new stadium against the Giants in prime time in Week 2. Giants-Cowboys will be on Sunday, Sept. 20 on NBC. And the following Monday, the new stadium will once again by showcased when the Panthers visit the Cowboys on ESPN's "Monday Night Football." Jones has to love the back-to-back prime time games to start the season.

After trips to Denver and Kansas City, the Cowboys will have an early bye before hosting the Falcons and Seahawks. Right now, the Cowboys are scheduled to play three games on Sunday nights. Of course, Weeks 11-17 have flexed scheduling, but it's hard to imagine NBC opting out of a Cowboys game. The Cowboys finish with a tough stretch with road games in New Orleans and Washington before finishing up at home against the Eagles. After last year's 44-6 loss to end the season in Philly, the Cowboys will have revenge on their minds. Here's a link to the '09 schedule.

"We're very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce the stadium to national and international audiences in our first two regular season home games," said Jones in a release. "Including the preseason opener (Tennessee on FOX, Aug. 21), three of our first four games in the new stadium will be national broadcasts. I know the networks are eager to show the world our new venue, and we can't wait to open the doors."

Complaint department: I don't initially see a lot to complain about for Cowboys fans -- other than having such an early bye. I don't think having an Oct. 18 bye is particularly a good thing -- especially since the Giants will take their bye week almost a month later. The Cowboys will have back-to-back home games on three different occasions. I think that sets up pretty well. The back-to-back home games against the Giants and Panthers will be tough, but the AFC West games don't look ridiculously tough to me.

Knee-jerk prediction: Let's go with 10-6. I think the Cowboys get off to a fast start with two early road games. Having all those days off after the Thanksgiving game against the Raiders should help them prepare for the Giants. They've always had the Thanksgiving advantage -- and it won't be any different this season.

Dallas Cowboys regular-season schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20 NEW YORK GIANTS 8:15 p.m.
Week 3: Monday, Sept. 28 CAROLINA 8:30 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4 at Denver Broncos 4:15 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11 at Kansas City Chiefs 1 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18 BYE
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25 ATLANTA FALCONS 4:15 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8 at Philadelphia Eagles 8:15 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15 at Green Bay Packers 4:15 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22 WASHINGTON REDSKINS 1 p.m.
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 26 OAKLAND RAIDERS 4:15 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6 at New York Giants 4:15 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 4:15 p.m.
Week 15: Saturday, Dec. 19 at New Orleans Saints 8:15 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27 at Washington Redskins 8:15 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 1 p.m.