INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

2012 NFL Schedule Released: Cowboys Vs. Giants Open Season

The highlights of the 2012 NFL schedule.
The NFL unveiled its full 256-game regular-season schedule. The Giants open their title defense by hosting the Cowboys while the Bengals and Ravens meet in the first Monday night game. The preseason matchups were revealed earlier this month.

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NFL Schedule 2012: Plenty Of Storylines In Week 1, Including Peyton Manning's Debut

The 2012 NFL schedule was released on Tuesday night and you can already see the storylines developing in Week 1 -- and we haven't even hit the NFL draft yet. Here are a few of the top storylines that popped to my mind as I skimmed through the first week on the NFL schedule.

First game of the year comes on a Wednesday. The defending champion Giants will host the Cowboys on Wednesday before the rest of the games on Sunday. Usually that's on a Thursday, but President Obama has a speech to make on Thursday.

Andrew Luck opens up against Brian Urlacher. Not exactly the easiest assignment, is it? The Colts, who are widely expected to select Luck in the upcoming NFL draft, open the season against the Bears in Chicago. Luck could've asked for an easier assignment in Week 1 (assuming, of course, that the Colts draft him).

Robert Griffin III opens up against the Saints. Again, assuming the Redskins pick Griffin No. 2, his first game will come against Drew Brees and the Saints.

Saints' first game post-bounty probe. The Redskins may be lucky they're playing the Saints early in the season, because several Saints players could be suspended as a result of the bounty investigation. What's going to happen if multiple players are suspended for Week 1?

Tony Gonzalez returns to Kansas City. As a Chiefs fan, I know this is an important game in Kansas City -- TG returns to the Chiefs, the team for which he starred for over a decade. This also features a matchup of two executives from the Belichick tree -- Kansas City's Scott Pioli and the Atlanta Falcons' Thomas Dimitroff.

Blaine Gabbert vs. Christian Ponder. Gabbert, drafted 10th last year, will meet Ponder, who was drafted 12th. Neither quarterback has shined in their brief careers; this will put the spotlight on both of them.

NFC's elite meet in Green Bay. 49ers vs. Packers in Week 1 is a nice gift from the NFL. That's your 2005 No. 1 pick Alex Smith, who was supposed to be great, taking on the 2005 draft's other first-round quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who ended up being pretty OK himself.

Peyton Manning's debut. You knew it would come in prime time and it will. Manning and the Broncos will host the Steelers on "Sunday Night Football" in Week 1. This will be Manning's first official game in Denver.

Monday night divisional rivalry doubleheader. The Bengals and Ravens, both 2011 playoff teams, will meet in the first "Monday Night Football" game, while the Raiders and Chargers will meet in the second MNF contest.


'Sunday Night Football' Schedule Starts With Peyton Manning And Broncos Hosting Steelers

The 2012 NFL schedule was released on Tuesday night and we now know we'll see Peyton Manning early and often. The new Denver Broncos quarterback is likely the biggest reason the Broncos are hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in a divisional-round playoff rematch in the first Sunday night game of the season.

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" schedule is really loaded with great games almost every week. The Detroit Lions will play the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2, while the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens will meet in Week 3. The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, and the New Orleans Saints and their bounty investigation will be in prime time the following week.

The annual Ravens-Steelers matchup is on Sunday night, as well. The Patriots and New York Jets will face off on Thanksgiving.

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" schedule is as follows:

Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos

Week 2: Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers

Week 3: New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week 4: New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Week 5: San Diego Chargers vs. New Orleans Saints

Week 6: Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans

Week 7: Philadelphia Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week 8: New Orleans Saints vs. Denver Broncos

Week 9: Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons

Week 10: Houston Texans vs. Chicago Bears

Week 11: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 12: New England Patriots vs. New York Jets (Thanksgiving)

Week 12: Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants

Week 13: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys

Week 14: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

Week 15: San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots

Week 16: San Diego Chargers vs. New York Jets

Stay tuned to this StoryStream for more news and notes on the 2012 NFL schedule. Here is the 2012 NFL preseason schedule.

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