Five prime time games, including three of their first four contests, two of them midweek affairs, highlight the Giants' 2012 regular season schedule, which was released by the NFL today.
The defending champion Giants will face each of the three NFC teams – Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco - they defeated on the road to their victory over New England in Super Bowl XLVI. They will begin (Dallas) and end (Philadelphia) their season at home against NFC East foes. They will twice face three consecutive 2011 postseason participants: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Green Bay in November and New Orleans, Atlanta and Baltimore in December.
"As always, we face a very challenging schedule," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "To get where we want to go you have to play the best teams in football and we certainly are playing the best teams."
The Giants will play games on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
"We will have a week-in and week-out challenge, not only in who we play, but with the different elements of our schedule," Coughlin said. "We play on four different days and we have five night games. Our first three games are Wednesday-Sunday-Thursday. We play two road night games early, come home for a week and then go to San Francisco. Our people are going to have to be really good about it."
The Giants will begin Coughlin's ninth season as head coach on Wednesday, Sept. 5, in the previously announced game against the Cowboys in MetLife Stadium. On Sept. 16, the Giants will again be home for a 1 p.m. Week 2 clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Every NFL team must play at least one Thursday game in 2012 and the Giants' Wednesday opener does not count as their Thursday game. So on Thursday, Sept. 20, they will play their second night game – and first road game - at Carolina at 8:20 p.m. Ten days later, they will be at Philadelphia for another prime time appearance, also at 8:20.
The Giants will return home on Sunday, Oct. 7, to face the Cleveland Browns in a 1 p.m. start. On Oct. 14, they will be in San Francisco to play the 49ers in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game, won by the Giants in overtime, 20-17. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. It will be the Giants' third visit to Candlestick Park in two seasons.
The Washington Redskins will visit MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 1 p.m. A week later, the Giants will face the Cowboys in Dallas at 4:15 p.m.
November begins with two games against the AFC North. The Giants will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 4:15 p.m. One week later, they will travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals at 1 p.m.
The Giants will have a bye on Sunday, Nov. 18.
"I like the bye where it is, because it's closer to the middle of the season," Coughlin said.
They will return to action with another night game, against the Green Bay Packers, on Nov. 25 at 8:20 in a rematch of the NFC Divisional Playoff Game won by the Giants, 37-20.
The Giants will make their fifth prime time appearance – and only one on Monday night – when they visit the Redskins on Dec. 3 at 8:30 p.m.
That will set up a challenging final quarter of the season that includes games at home against New Orleans on Dec. 9 (scheduled for 4:15) and on the road vs. Atlanta on Dec. 16 and Baltimore on Dec. 23 and the regular season finale at home vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 30.
Some highlights from the Giants' 2012 schedule:
*The Giants will play seven games against 2011 playoff teams – one each against Green Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta, San Francisco, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
*The Giants will open and close their season at home for the first time since 2003, the year prior to Coughlin's arrival.
*They will begin and end the season with division home games for the first time since 1994.
*The Giants will open a season against an NFC East opponent for the fifth time in six years. It's their first opener against Dallas since 2007 and first home opener vs. the Cowboys since 1995.
*The Giants will face Philadelphia in the season finale for the first time since 2002, a 10-7 overtime victory in Giants Stadium that clinched a postseason berth.
*The Giants are 16-21-1 on Sunday night (7-11 at home, 9-10-1 on the road), 22-31-1 on Monday (7-8 at home, 15-23-1 on the road), 12-6-3 on Thursday and 5-1 on Wednesday.
*The Giants are 7-10 in prime time against the Cowboys, their season-opening opponent.
*This will be the ninth consecutive season the defending champion will host the NFL Kickoff game. The previous eight games were played on Thursday night of Kickoff Weekend. The home team won each of those eight games, including Green Bay's victory over New Orleans last year and the Giants' 16-7 victory over Washington in 2008. The Giants-Cowboys game was moved to Wednesday to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama's Thursday night speech at the Democratic National Convention.
*The 2012 season will be the second in a row in which the Giants will begin the year against the same team they played in the previous regular season finale. Last year, they opened in Washington after concluding the 2010 season with a victory over the Redskins.
*This will be the first time the Giants closed one season at and opened the next one in the same venue against the same opponent since 1994-95, when the Cowboys visited Giants Stadium for back-to-back games – 8½ months apart.
*The Giants are 49-33-5 in season openers and 17-11 in season-opening home games.
*The Sept. 20 meeting with the Panthers in Charlotte will be the Giants' first Thursday game since they lost at Denver on Thanksgiving night in 2009.
*The opener against Dallas will be the Giants' first Wednesday game since Oct. 3, 1934, a 14-12 victory over Pittsburgh. The Giants are 5-1 in Wednesday games, playing all of them from 1925-34. They are 2-0 in Wednesday season openers, defeating Newark, 32-0, on Sept. 17, 1930 and Pittsburgh, 23-2, on Sept. 20, 1933. The last NFL game played on a Wednesday was on Sept. 22, 1948, when the Los Angeles Rams beat the Detroit Lions, 44-7.
*The Giants' 4:15 kickoff against the Cowboys on Oct. 28 will be their first afternoon game in Dallas since 2005. The previous six Giants games in Dallas were played in prime time. They won Monday night games in 2006 and 2010 and Sunday night games in 2009 and 2011. They lost on Sunday nights in 2007 and 2008.
*The Giants play consecutive home games just once – the first two games of the season – and twice play back-to-back road games: at Carolina and Philadelphia on Sept. 20 and 30 and at Atlanta and Baltimore on Dec. 16 and 23.
*The Giants' preseason schedule has been finalized. They will open their four-game schedule at Jacksonville on Friday, Aug. 10 at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 18, they will be the visiting team in their annual preseason game against the Jets at 7 p.m. in MetLife Stadium.
The Giants will host the Chicago Bears on Friday, Aug. 24 in a game that will begin at 8 p.m. and be televised nationally by CBS. They will host New England on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
*The kickoff times for five of the Giants' final six regular season games – including the night game vs. Green Bay - will be subject to the NFL's flexible schedule policy.
The NFL will utilize flexible scheduling in Weeks 11-17.
In the weeks flexible scheduling is in place, the NFL schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday night on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game will be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights.
A flexible scheduling move will be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the change may be announced six days before the game. Flexible scheduling was designed to ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and give "surprise" teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.
The five Giants games that could have their kickoff times changed are vs. Green Bay on Nov. 25 (currently listed as an 8:20 start), vs. New Orleans on Dec. 9 (4:15), at Atlanta on Dec. 16 (1 p.m.), at Baltimore on Dec. 23 (1 p.m.) and vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 30 (1 p.m.).
The kickoff for the game at Washington (Monday, Dec. 3 at 8:30) cannot be changed.
|Sept. 5 (Wed)||Dallas Cowboys||8:30 PM||NBC|
|Sept. 16||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sept. 20 (Thurs)||@ Carolina Panthers||8:20 PM||NFLN|
|Sept. 30||@ Philadelphia Eagles||8:20 PM||NBC|
|Oct. 7||Cleveland Browns||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Oct. 14||@ San Francisco 49ers||4:15 PM||FOX|
|Oct. 21||Washington Redskins||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Oct. 28||@ Dallas Cowboys||4:15 PM||FOX|
|Nov. 4||Pittsburgh Steelers||4:15 PM||CBS|
|Nov. 11||@ Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Nov. 25||Green Bay Packers||8:20 PM||NBC|
|Dec. 3 (Mon)||@ Washington Redskins||8:30 PM||ESPN|
|Dec. 9||New Orleans||4:15 PM||FOX|
|Dec. 16||@ Atlanta Falcons||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Dec. 23||@ Baltimore Ravens||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Dec. 30||Philadelphia Eagles||1:00 PM*||FOX|
*Times subject to change --All times are EASTERN--