New York Giants schedule analysis

Breakdown: The New York Giants have the seventh toughest schedule in the league, but they have to like the way it lays out. The only back-to-back road games -- there's a bye in the middle of the other one -- comes at the end of the season. The Giants will finish with road games at the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins.

It's pretty impressive that a team that finished third in the division scored four prime-time games. It's pretty interesting that the Giants don't play a division opponent until Week 7. That's when they travel to Cowboys Stadium and play on ESPN's "Monday Night Football." It will mark the fourth straight season the two teams have played a night game in North Texas.

Since the Carolina Panthers closed Giants Stadium down with a beatdown, it's fitting that they'll travel to New Meadowlands Stadium in Week 1. That's a 1 p.m. ET game. I would have preferred seeing the Philadelphia Eagles open the new stadium. The Giants' first prime-time game comes in Week 2 on the road against the Indianapolis Colts. That's an NBC game and it's probably good to go ahead and get Manning vs. Manning out of the way early.

Coach Tom Coughlin hates the early bye, so I'm sure he's very pleased about the Week 8 draw. That will allow the Giants to recover from a big road game at Cowboys Stadium before they travel across the country to play the Seattle Seahawks.

Complaint Dept.: We've seen what happens when the Giants back load their schedule with division opponents. I'm not sure it's a great thing to only play one division game in the first nine weeks. I don't see a ton to complain about because the Giants don't have to stay on the road for long periods of time. But that's a brutal December, just like what the Cowboys drew. They open the month by hosting the Redskins and then they close the season on the road against Washington.

I know the league was trying to make the last two weeks more meaningful, but they may end up making us wait too long for some of the marquee games. Other than the trip to Indy, there's really not a great matchup until Monday, Oct. 25, when the Giants play Dallas on the road.

I just keep going back to that December stretch. You have the Minnesota Vikings and Packers sprinkled in between three division games.

Most-appealing matchup: Maybe the Redskins will have faded by Dec. 5, but I still think Donovan McNabb coming to New Meadowlands Stadium will be pretty special. I like Eli vs. Peyton in Week 2, but for whatever reason, seeing McNabb roll into the Meadowlands in Burgundy and Gold is very appealing to me. It's a real downer that the league sent the Panthers to open the new stadium. I'm sure most Giants fans were hoping for the Cowboys to arrive.

Giants Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 12, Carolina, 1:00 PM

Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 19, at Indianapolis, 8:20 PM

Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 26, Tennessee, 1:00 PM

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 3, Chicago, 8:20 PM

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10, at Houston, 1:00 PM

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 17, Detroit, 1:00 PM

Week 7: Monday, Oct. 25, at Dallas, 8:30 PM

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 7, at Seattle, 4:05 PM

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14, Dallas, 4:15 PM

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21, at Philadelphia, 8:20 PM

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 28, Jacksonville, 1:00 PM

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 5, Washington, 1:00 PM

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12, at Minnesota, 1:00 PM

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 19, Philadelphia, 1:00 PM

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 26, at Green Bay, 4:15 PM

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2, at Washington, 1:00 PM