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2012 NFL Schedule Kicks Off With Giants Vs. Cowboys

The 2012 NFL season will kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 5 (the first Wednesday NFL game since 1948), with the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants and Cowboys will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Since 2004, it has been NFL tradition for the defending Super Bowl champions to host the first game of the season on Thursday, before the rest of the games that weekend. The defending champs are 8-0 in these games.

The Giants swept the Cowboys in 2011, including a playoff-clinching Week 17 victory, but only finished one game better than them on the season. But that one game was enough for a playoff spot and eventual Super Bowl run.

After the Cowboys, the Giants face a tough schedule. They'll play all three of the other NFC division winners -- Saints, Packers and 49ers -- as well as everyone in their own division twice. They'll also face the Falcons, Steelers, Ravens and Bengals.

SB Nation, Joel Thorman