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Eatman: Lonely Home Stadium Early In 2012

I know we like to talk a lot about the December games as soon as the schedule comes out, especially with the way this team has struggled in the final month of the year.

But the first thing that popped out to me when noticing this schedule that got released on Tuesday was the lack of home games to start the year.

Wow – just three games at Cowboys Stadium in the first 11 weeks of the season? I don't think I've ever seen anything close to that before.

Yeah, December matters most of the time. But if you're a team that struggles on the road like this Cowboys squad has here lately, will the final month even matter? Does it help to have five of your last seven games at home if you're already on the ropes because you're not road warriors?

That's a tough break for the Cowboys. And it's not just road games, but tough games.

For the eighth time in nine years, the Cowboys open the season on the road – against the Giants on Sept. 5. Fun! For the second straight year, the first two games are away from home as the Cowboys once again start out the first two weeks with an East Coast/West Coast swing, having to play the Seahawks on Sept. 16. Remember last year it was the Giants then 49ers in the first two games.

After home games against the Bucs and Bears and then a bye week, the Cowboys hit the road for four of the next five weeks, playing at Baltimore and Carolina, then a home game with the Giants before road games at Atlanta and Philly.

That's a lot of time to be on the road. And it's not just playing in another stadium and in front of another crowd, but constantly having somewhat short weeks while traveling on Saturdays can take its toll, even early in the year.

Hey, it is what it is. But the schedule doesn't favor a team trying to get out of the blocks with a hot start.

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