IRVING, Texas– For the first time in 15 years, the Cowboys will open and close the regular season at home.
The NFL released its 17-week schedule for all teams on Thursday, featuring the Cowboys playing host to the New York Giants on *Sunday Night Football *on Sept. 8 at Cowboys Stadium. The last time Dallas opened a season at home occurred against the Giants at Texas Stadium in 2007 for Wade Phillips' debut.
The Cowboys also finish the regular season at home against the Eagles for the first time since 2009. That year, Dallas also faced Philly in a game for the NFC East title.
The last time the Cowboys played home games at the start and end of the season occurred in 1998 when they also faced two division teams – beating the Cardinals and Redskins. That year, the Cowboys ironically went 8-0 in the NFC East.
The Cowboys will play Oakland on Thanksgiving Day for the second time in four years. The Raiders played the first Turkey Day game at Cowboys Stadium back in 2009, with Dallas handling their West Coast rivals with ease, 24-7.
With CBS broadcasting the game, there was thought that the Cowboys might play Denver and Peyton Manning on Thanksgiving. Instead, that will be Oct. 6 at Cowboys Stadium.
Manning and has never played at Cowboys Stadium and only played in Texas Stadium once before. In 2006, he led a 9-0 Colts team into town to face the Cowboys, who had recently switched to Tony Romo as the starting quarterback. Romo and the Cowboys knocked off Manning's Colts that day, 21-14, although the Colts eventually won the Super Bowl that season.
The bye week occurs on Nov. 17, the latest the Cowboys have had an open week since 1990 (Dec. 9). With the Cowboys playing five preseason games, technically the team will play 15 straight weeks before its first break.
Overall, the Cowboys play four night games: three on NBC against the Giants and Redskins at home and on the road in New Orleans; and once on Monday night against the Bears.
Other 2013 schedule highlights:
- The Cowboys won't play a 2012 playoff team until October, when they face Denver and Washington in consecutive weeks. The Cowboys start the season against the Giants, Kansas City, St. Louis and San Diego.
- The Cowboys will play at Chicago for the first time since 2007, which was a Sunday night game. This time they play the Bears on Monday night.
- This will be the first road Monday night game for the Cowboys in six years, when they beat Buffalo 25-24 in one of the biggest comebacks in franchise history.
- With Robert Griffin III rehabbing a knee injury, there has been plenty of speculation regarding his return. The Cowboys will face Washington at home on Oct. 13 and then again in Week 16 in Washington D.C. on Dec. 22.
- The Vikings return to Cowboys Stadium for the first time since 2007, the rookie season for Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown. However, Peterson is coming off a 2,097-yard season in 2012 and was named NFL MVP.
- In fact, four of the last five winners of the *Associated Press' *NFL MVP Award will be coming to Cowboys Stadium. Peterson and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers have won the award the last two years. Before Tom Brady's win in 2010, Manning took home the award two straight years in 2008 and 2009.