Giants will host Cowboys to open 2012 NFL season

DALLAS ( - The Super Bowl champion New York Giants will host the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 5 to kick off the 2012 regular season, the NFL announced Tuesday.

The game will be played at 8:30 p.m. ET and televised by NBC.

The regular season has started on a Thursday since 2002, but the league moved this year's opener up a day to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama's planned speech at the Democratic National Convention.

According to the league, it hasn't played a game on a Wednesday since Sept. 22, 1948, when the Rams faced the Lions.

"Who cares who we are playing; hosting the game is all that's important," Giants owner John Mara joked, knowing well that the NFL champion hosts the kickoff to the season. "It's exciting. They're one of our big rivals. We had two great games last year. The fans will be jacked up for it."

The Giants would not have been able to reach the Super Bowl if not for two critical victories over the Cowboys in the span of a month last season.

New York won in Dallas 37-34, after Jason Pierre-Paul blocked a potential overtime-forcing field goal on Dec. 11 and then capped a sweep of the Cowboys with a 31-14 victory in the regular-season finale on Jan. 1 with the NFC East division title and a playoff berth at stake.

The telecast of the Jan. 1 victory over Dallas drew 27.6 million viewers, the most for a Sunday night game. It also was the most-watched regular-season prime-time game in 15 years.