At long last, the Dallas Cowboys' 2012 schedule has been released.
The Cowboys will be hoping for better fortune in 2012, as their 2011 season saw them finish with a disappointing 8-8 record. Dallas had its moments, including a four-game winning streak in November, but the 'Boys ultimately missed out on the playoffs for a second year in a row.
Here's a look at Dallas' 2012 schedule.
2012 Regular-Season Schedule
Week 2, Sept. 16: Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 3, Sept. 23: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 4, Oct. 1: Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Week 5, Oct. 7: BYE WEEK
Week 6, Oct. 14: Dallas Cowboys vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 7, Oct. 21: Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 8, Oct. 28: New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys, 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 9, Nov. 4: Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Week 10, Nov. 11: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 11, Nov. 18: Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 12, Nov. 22: Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys, 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 13, Dec. 2: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Week 14, Dec. 9: Dallas Cowboys vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 15, Dec. 16: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys, 4:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 16, Dec. 23: New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 17, Dec. 30: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
The Cowboys don't have the toughest schedule in the league. Per TheRedZone.org, Dallas' 2012 opponents combined for 129 wins in 2011, giving Dallas a SOS that ranks right around the middle of the road.
This is not to say that things are going to be easy for the Cowboys in 2012, of course. Each of the other three teams in the NFC East is going to be good next season, so having to play six games against them will make life tough for Dallas.
The Cowboys also have some rough home and road games lined up, too.
The New Orleans Saints aren't going to have Sean Payton around to guide them in 2012, but they'll be dangerous as long as they have Drew Brees and his array of talented playmakers. The Chicago Bears are in line for a good season after the moves they made this offseason, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are always tough.
Dallas' road schedule is even tougher. Atlanta is not an easy place to play, neither is Seattle nor Baltimore. Those are three games the Cowboys could easily lose, and their road games against their NFC East foes won't be easy, either.
The Cowboys have the goods to have a solid season in 2012, but if they want to go to the playoffs, they're going to have to earn it.
Most Pivotal Matchup
The road to the 2012 playoffs in the NFC East will go through the New York Giants. As per usual, the Cowboys face them twice this season, and they need to make the most of those matchups.
The Cowboys lost both tilts against New York in 2012. The second loss came in Week 17, and it cost the 'Boys a shot to head to the playoffs as the NFC East champ. The Giants, of course, went on to win the Super Bowl.
Suffice it to say, the Cowboys can't afford to lose both of their games against the Giants again in 2012.
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