It's one of those mini-holidays in the 365-day NFL calendar, the day the league unveils its complete regular season schedule. And that day is today. After months of knowing the opponents but not the dates, we now know that the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, after being unable to reach a scheduling compromise with the Baltimore Orioles, will officially begin their title defense on the road against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night football.
The Ravens will be the first defending champion to start on the road since the format of the Super Bowl winner hosting the next season's opening game was implemented in 2004.
Other notable Week 1 games include a host of intriguing divisional matchups, including the new-look Arizona Cardinals at the St. Louis Rams, and the New York Giants heading to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
Perhaps the biggest tone-setter in Week 1 is a Sunday afternoon contest between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. Both teams are part of the NFC's elite, and hope to get off to a hot start. It's a rematch of their Week 1 game in 2012 that saw the 49ers beat the Packers, 30-22. That game served as a notice that Jim Harbaugh's team were one of the NFL's most dangerous, which carried throughout the regular season and all the way to the Super Bowl.