Giants schedule analysis

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Breakdown: The New York Giants' 2009 schedule will begin the same way it did in 2008 -- with a home game in the Meadowlands against the Washington Redskins. The Giants will then travel to Arlington, Texas, where they will christen the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium. That will be an NBC game at 8:20 p.m. The game against the Cowboys kicks off a three-week road trip on which the Giants will play the Bucs and Chiefs.

Beginning Dec. 6, the Giants will begin a three-game stretch against its NFC East opponents. The good news is that the first two games are at home -- against the Cowboys and Eagles. The schedule finishes up with a home against the Panthers and a trip to Minnesota, which sounds much like last season.

Complaint department: After the home opener against the Redskins on Sept. 13, the Giants will play three straight road games. In '08, the schedule was back-loaded. This season, the Giants will be tested early. The only back-to-back home games come in December when the Giants stay home to face division rivals Dallas and Philadelphia. The Giants will play a home game against the Falcons on Sunday, Nov. 22 before having to travel to Denver for a Thanksgiving night game. Head coach Tom Coughlin won't like that scenario, but he will like the fact that the Giants have a later bye week this season (Nov. 15).

My knee-jerk reaction to this schedule: At first glance, I see the Giants going 11-5. I think they survive the tough early stretch to go 4-1, but they'll run into trouble in New Orleans and in Philly. But in this rugged division, an 11-5 record might get it done. OK, let's change it to 12-4. I'll be back later to explain why.

New York Giants regular-season schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13 WASHINGTON REDSKINS 4:15 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20 at Dallas Cowboys 8:20 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4 at Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11 OAKLAND RAIDERS 1:00 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 1:00 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25 ARIZONA CARDINALS 8:20 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1 at Philadelphia Eagles 4:15 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 4:15 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15 BYE
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22 ATLANTA FALCONS 1:00 p.m.
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 26 at Denver Broncos 8:20 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6 DALLAS COWBOYS 4:15 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 4:15 p.m.
Week 15: Monday, Dec. 21 at Washington Redskins 8:30 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27 CAROLINA PANTHERS 1:00 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3 at Minnesota Vikings 1:00 p.m.