Morning. I imagine you all stayed up late planning your tailgate parties and road trips, so today's links will touch on some schedule-related issues we may or may not have raised Tuesday night. Without further ado ...
The guys at ESPNDallas.com actually went through the schedule and made a pick for each Cowboys game. Yeah, on April 17. Yeah, before the draft even starts and before anyone's roster is finalized. Yeah, with a little blurb from each guy on each game. Yeah, they're all insane. I mean, I love them all like lunatic brothers, but they're completely bonkers over there. Anyway, Calvin's got them 10-6 after a 9-3 start, and he's the most optimistic.
Todd Archer looks at five possible "breaks" the schedule offers the Cowboys, including the home game the week before Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving thing is worth mentioning because it came up in Twitter discussions Tuesday night about the Cowboys' early bye week. Apparently, the fact that the Cowboys get an early bye every year is not coincidence (nor a conspiracy by the league to hurt the Cowboys, as some suggested to me) but rather a result of the fact that they always get a 10-day break following their Thanksgiving game in late November.
New York Giants
Ohm looks at five key games for the Giants in 2012, including three playoff rematches against the 49ers, Packers and Falcons as well as that season-ending home game against the Eagles. Assuming that game carries any meaning it all, it's sure to be brought up more than once in advance of it that the Giants have not beaten the Eagles at home in five years.
Tom Coughlin is expressing some concern about the early-season alterations to routine that will result from a Wednesday night opener followed by a Week 2 Sunday game and a Week 3 Thursday night road game. Nothing the Giants can't handle, I'm sure, but football coaches and players don't tend to love it when circumstances force them to change their routines.
Jimmy Kempski points out that the Eagles will face four teams in 2012 that are coming off their byes (though in one of those weeks, the Eagles will also be coming off of their own bye) and that seven times they will play teams that have at least one more day to prepare for the game than they do. I commend Jimmy for finding and pointing this out. I dispute his conclusion (embodied by his headline) that there's reason to be overly upset about it.
Bob Ford's theory is that the early part of the schedule is the tough part for the Eagles, and that that might benefit them if they can get through it and win a couple of games before Michael Vick has to start missing time due to his annual injury issues. Bob's on to something here. The health and performance of Vick will have a great deal more to do with the Eagles' record in 2012 than will the schedule.
The Redskins have an oddly unbalanced schedule, with only one NFC East game among their first nine and then five division games in their final seven. I'm not sure what to make of this, except that I guess it could be good for their rookie quarterback to get to ease into things a little before being thrown into the NFC East fire.
Do you want to do what the ESPN Dallas guys did with the Cowboys and go through the schedule and pick every game five months before the season even starts and well before you even know for sure what everyone's roster looks like? Hey, the Washington Post has you covered. Happy picking!