It's like knowing what you're getting for Christmas. Being able to shake the gift-wrapped present for confirmation. But then having to wait for what feels like forever to actually open it.
It's the NFL schedule, this year the ultimate tease.
With the lockout mired in mediation and the NFL Draft still a week away, the release yesterday of a schedule of games that may or may not be played could just be a tantalizing whiff of football. But for now, it'll do.
Assuming the lockout is settled ...
Your Cowboys open again on NBC's Sunday Night Football on the road. Last year's ugly 13-7 loss to the Redskins set the tone for a horrible season and this year's opener should be tougher -- at the New York Jets on Sept. 11. Yep, it's defensive coordinator Rob Ryan against his brother Rex, and it'll be played on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City.
Including that highlight the Cowboys will make five prime-time TV appearances, open at home Sept. 26 against the Redskins, host the Dolphins on Thanksgiving, the Eagles on Christmas Eve and end the season where it started -- in The Meadowlands Jan. 1, this time against the Giants.
According to 2010 records, it's the first game of the league's 15th most difficult schedule.
Of course attempting to predict December results in April is about as dicey as mapping out exactly what Charlie Sheen will say at his stop in Dallas next week. The lockout? (For now, it's a 16-game schedule and not 18) The draft? Free agency? Trades? Training camp? Injuries?
There are so many variables at this point only a fool would take a stab at forecasting the Cowboys' 2011 fortunes.
Here goes ...
I'll only go this far: The Cowboys will lose at the Jets, Patriots and Giants and at home they'll beat the Lions, Rams and Dolphins. That's 3-3. In the other 10, who knows?
Thurs., Aug. 11 DENVER (KTVT/CBS 11) 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 20 SAN DIEGO (KTVT/CBS 11) 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 27 @ Minnesota (KTVT/CBS 11) 7:00 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 1 @ Miami (KTVT/CBS 11) 6:30 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 11 @ New York Jets (NBC) 7:20 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 18 @ San Francisco (FOX) 3:05 p.m.
Mon., Sept. 26 WASHINGTON (ESPN) 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 2 DETROIT (FOX) Noon
Sun., Oct. 9 BYE
Sun., Oct. 16 @ New England (FOX) 3:15 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 23 ST. LOUIS (FOX) 3:15 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 30 @ Philadelphia (NBC) 7:20 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 6 SEATTLE (FOX) Noon
Sun., Nov. 13 BUFFALO (CBS) Noon
Sun., Nov. 20 @ Washington (FOX) Noon
Thurs., Nov. 24 MIAMI (CBS) 3:15 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 4 @ Arizona (FOX) 3:15 p.m.
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Sun., Dec. 11 NEW YORK GIANTS (NBC) 7:20 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 17 @ Tampa Bay (NFLN) 7:20 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 24 PHILADELPHIA (FOX) 3:15 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 1 @ New York Giants (FOX) Noon