Even when there's no football being played, the NFL still dominates the headlines throughout the offseason. Things were no different on Wednesday, when the league released its 2014 season schedule to much fanfare.
The Seattle Seahawks kick off the season on Sept. 4, when the Green Bay Packers come to town to face the defending champions. Unlike last season, there are no scheduling conflicts with other sports teams, so Seahawks fans get to see the championship banner raised and rings handed out in person at CenturyLink Field.
Three games will take place in London this season, including the first international game to be played in the morning in America. In Week 8, the Falcons and Lions will play at 1:30 p.m. in the U.K., translating to 9:30 a.m. on the East Coast. The Raiders and Dolphins will play in London in Week 4 with the Cowboys and Jaguars traveling over for a Week 10 matchup.
Like any NFL season, the 2014 schedule is loaded with must-see games. Seattle and San Francisco have developed the best rivalry in the NFL. They'll resume the head-to-head battle on Thanksgiving in San Francisco before playing in Seattle in Week 15. The Seahawks and Broncos will meet in Seattle for a Super Bowl rematch in Week 3 while the Broncos will host San Francisco in Week 7.
Other notable games include Denver traveling to New England in Week 9, Lovie Smith returning to Chicago in Week 12, the Colts traveling to Dallas in Week 16 and Philadelphia hosting DeSean Jackson and the Redskins in Week 3.
The Seahawks, Broncos and 49ers are arguably the three best teams in the NFL, so it should be no surprise that they will be featured heavily in primetime games. As things stand the Broncos and 49ers will each play in five primetime games while Seattle will be featured four times.
The primetime slate is subject to change, now much sooner than usual. NFL.com reported Wednesday that the NFL is tweaking its Sunday night flex procedures so that Sunday afternoon games can now be bumped up to prime time beginning Week 5. Previously, games were not subject to be flexed until Week 11. The tweaks come with the stipulation that only two games can be flexed over the six-week span from Weeks 5-10. Starting Week 11, every game already scheduled for a Sunday can possibly be given the NBC treatment. Thursday, Saturday and Monday games are still off limits.
You can find the entire week-by-week schedule at NFL.com.