Around 7PM EST the NFL released the 2012 schedule on their website and via a Sportscenter Special on ESPN, it’s nothing that you can’t go and check out yourself, so I don’t feel there’s a need to baby you through it. HOWEVER, there are a few interesting national television matchups, and a few notes that stick out overall from it. I’ll try and go over a few of those:
Let’s start with the best of the Sunday Night Football schedule –
Wednesday, Sept 5 – Cowboys @ Giants (moved from the usual Thursday opening due to the DNC)
Week 1 – Steelers @ Broncos (Peyton Manning’s Bronco debut)
Week 2 – Lions @ 49ers – Slapgate Part II
Week 3 – Patriots @ Ravens – AFC Championship Rematch
Week 5 – Chargers @ Saints – First time Brees has seen his old team on US soil…
Week 6 – Packers @ Texans – Great interconference matchup between what many consider two of the league’s best teams
Week 8 – Saints @ Broncos – Brees vs. Peyton
Week 9 – Cowboys @ Falcons
Week 10 – Texans @ Bears
Week 11 – Ravens @ Steelers – Always a good, brutal battle between AFC North rivals
Week 13 – Packers @ Giants – NFC Divisional Round rematch
Week 16 – 49ers @ Patriots – The “what could have been” Super Bowl matchup
Quickly, let’s run through the best MNF matchups in 2012 –
Week 2 – Broncos @ Falcons – Maybe I’m biased, but Peyton Manning vs Matt Ryan should be fun….seeing as last year it was Matt Ryan vs Dan Orlovsky…
Week 5 – Texans @ Jets – Should get real, can the Texans maintain the stout defense they had last season? Are the Jets going to be able to actually string together a successful season ALL the way through?
Week 7 – Lions @ Bears – The MNF game last year had Ford Field rocking, the Lions have a daunting task ahead of them: prove they are for real by doing the unthinkable AGAIN.
Week 9 – Eagles @ Saints – Depends on the Eagles’s defense, but this one could become a barn burner
Week 12 – Panthers @ Eagles – Young Cam Newton vs. Michael Vick…the man every athletic quarterback will be compared to at some point in their career.
Week 13 – Giants @ Redskins – RGIII (we’re assuming) makes his first MNF appearance.
One thing the NFL has added for the 2012 season will be Thursday Night Football’s presence throughout the entire season, not just the later half. Each game will air on NFL Network and every NFL team will make a TNF appearance, among the most “intriguing” are listed below:
Week 12 – Saints @ Falcons – Usually ends up being a good division rivalry, the TNF schedule is pretty weak based on the fact that they’ve opened themselves up to poor matchups by forcing all 32 teams to make an appearance. Want an example? The Buccaneers/Vikings get a TNF matchup, and so does the oh-so-great Colts/Jaguars rivalry….yeah..
Week 13 – Broncos @ Raideres – Another divisional rivalry, and while I enjoy them, watching “old” matchups on National TV gets…well…old, I may be a rarity, but I like seeing those….rare matchups on National TV.
Week 14 – Bengals @ Eagles
Yeah, so that’s the schedule in a nutshell, you can find the rest on NFL.com (it’s right on the front page in your face). We really DON’T know which ones are going to actually be the good games…we never know…all the good matchups on paper end up being trash and all the trash matchups end up becoming great. We never know who’s going to end up surprising us this season and winning games they shouldn’t. Watch, that Colts/Jaguars game I put down will end up being the game that decides the AFC South, or even who gets a bye in the AFC…it’s a stretch, but it could happen.
In short, we’re excited about much of nothing really, only a reminder that the draft is next weekend and that the NFL season is still 4 and a half months away….yay.