Cowboys Open and Close 2011 Season with Trips to New York

Assuming the lockout ends by then, the Dallas Cowboys will open the 2011 season with a trip to New York to face the Jets on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  The season finale will take place on New Year’s Day with another trip to New York, as the Cowboys face the Giants for the second time in four weeks.

It’s kind of a peculiar schedule, but the Cowboys have had a few similar schedules in the past (get ready for the completely trivial here). In both 1965 and 1966, the Cowboys opened by hosting the Giants and then ended the season with a trip to New York to face the Giants for a second time. Similarly, in 1978, the Cowboys opened their season at home against Baltimore but took trips to New York during week 2 (vs. Giants) and week 16 (vs. Jets).

The Cowboys once again have a tougher schedule on paper towards the end of the season. In the first four weeks of the season, Dallas only faces one team that had a winning record in 2010. After facing the Patriots and Eagles during a three-week period, the Cowboys play a November schedule against teams that each had losing records last year. However, the last four games come against teams that finished 10-6, including two games against the Giants.

The Cowboys are playing a third-place schedule, but that really does not explain why it is fairly light compared with previous years. The division rank from 2010 only affected two games that are against other third-place teams. One of these two team was Tampa Bay, which had a 10-6 mark in 2010.