2012 NFL Schedule: Giants, Broncos To Struggle While Patriots Coast?

   on April 18 2012 11:28 AM

The NFL schedule for the 2012 season has been released.

Just as it did last season, the NFL will utilize primetime flexible scheduling for the upcoming season, allowing teams to earn primetime spots depending on the quality of a matchup and playoff implications. The flexibility will occur this time around from weeks 11-17.

Tony
Tony Romo (left) and the Cowboys will kick off the 2012 season against Eli Manning (right) and the Giants in what should be a revenge game for Dallas after last season's week 17 loss that allowed the Giants to clinch the NFC East and a playoff berth. (Reuters/Gary Hershorn)

Right out of the gate in Week 1, a Thursday night, Sept. 5 divisional battle will pit the Dallas Cowboys against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The Cowboys, who may have to retool a majority of their defense to improve, were unable to clinch the NFC East a season ago, tanking their final two games against Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants meanwhile, and perhaps unsurprisingly, have the league's toughest schedule, having to play the likes of the Carolina Panthers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens, the New Orleans Saints, the Green Bay Packers and their opponent from last year's NFC Championship game, the San Francisco 49ers.

And speaking of strength of schedule, the Denver Broncos have the second toughest road to the playoffs. So, it will be interesting to see how the Mile High city's newest franchise quarterback in Peyton Manning carries the team. The Broncos, after finishing first in the AFC West last season, will face off against all of 2011's AFC divisional winners in New England, Houston and Baltimore. Add to that the likes of the Steelers, Panthers, Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals and you might be practically guaranteed a cage match involving the Broncos almost every week.

The New England Patriots have the easiest road to the playoffs if you look through the scope of opponent wins and losses from last season. That may serve them well in guaranteeing a playoff spot, possibly even the number one seed in the AFC, but in terms of getting back to the Super Bowl and winning it all...one just never knows how the postseason will shape up.

Check out the recently released schedule below for dates, start times, networks and how your team stacks up.

Week 1

Wednesday, Sept. 5 Cowboys at Giants, 8:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

Sunday, Sept. 9 Colts at Bears, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jaguars at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bills at Jets, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Dolphins at Texans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Patriots at Titans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Rams at Lions, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Redskins at Saints, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Eagles at Browns, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Falcons at Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) 49ers at Packers, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Seahawks at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Panthers at Buccaneers, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Steelers at Broncos, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Sept. 10 Bengals at Ravens, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN) Chargers at Raiders, 10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 2

Thursday, Sept. 13 Bears at Packers, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Sept. 16 Buccaneers at Giants, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Saints at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Cardinals at Patriots, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Vikings at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Ravens at Eagles, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Chiefs at Bills, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Browns at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Texans at Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Cowboys at Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Redskins at Rams, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Jets at Steelers, 4:15 p.m. ET(CBS) Titans at Chargers, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Raiders at Dolphins, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Lions at 49ers, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Sept. 17 Broncos at Falcons, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 3

Thursday, Sept. 20 Giants at Panthers, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Sept. 23 Buccaneers at Cowboys, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Rams at Bears, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) 49ers at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Lions at Titans, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Bengals at Redskins, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Chiefs at Saints, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jets at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bills at Browns, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jaguars at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Eagles at Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Falcons at Chargers, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Texans at Broncos, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Steelers at Raiders, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Patriots at Ravens, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Sept. 24 Packers at Seahawks, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 4

Bye week Colts, Steelers

Thursday, Sept. 27 Browns at Ravens, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Sept. 30 Patriots at Bills, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Titans at Texans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Chargers at Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Vikings at Lions, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Panthers at Falcons, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Seahawks at Rams, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) 49ers at Jets, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Dolphins at Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Raiders at Broncos, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Bengals at Jaguars, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Saints at Packers, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Redskins at Buccaneers, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Giants at Eagles, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Oct. 1 Bears at Cowboys, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 5

Bye week Cowboys, Lions, Raiders, Buccaneers

Thursday, Oct. 4 Cardinals at Rams, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Oct. 7 Falcons at Redskins, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Eagles at Steelers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Packers at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Browns at Giants, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Titans at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Dolphins at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Ravens at Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Seahawks at Panthers, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Bears at Jaguars, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Broncos at Patriots, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Bills at 49ers, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Chargers at Saints, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Oct. 8 Texans at Jets, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 6

Bye week Panthers, Bears, Jaguars, Saints

Thursday, Oct. 11 Steelers at Titans, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Oct. 14 Raiders at Falcons, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Chiefs at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Colts at Jets, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bengals at Browns, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Lions at Eagles, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Rams at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Cowboys at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Bills at Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Patriots at Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Giants at 49ers, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Vikings at Redskins, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Packers at Texans, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Oct. 15 Broncos at Chargers, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 7

Bye week Falcons, Broncos, Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, Chargers

Thursday, Oct. 18 Seahawks at 49ers, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Oct. 21 Redskins at Giants, 1 p.m. ET (FOX)                        Cardinals at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Cowboys at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Saints at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Packers at Rams, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Ravens at Texans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Browns at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Titans at Bills, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jets at Patriots, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Jaguars at Raiders, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Steelers at Bengals, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Oct. 22 Lions at Bears, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 8

Bye week Ravens, Bills, Bengals, Texans

Thursday, Oct. 25 Buccaneers at Vikings, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Oct. 28 Jaguars at Packers, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Dolphins at Jets, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Chargers at Browns, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Colts at Titans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Patriots at Rams, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Falcons at Eagles, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Panthers at Bears, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Seahawks at Lions, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Redskins at Steelers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Raiders at Chiefs, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Giants at Cowboys, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Saints at Broncos, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Oct. 29 49ers at Cardinals, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 9

Bye week Patriots, Jets, 49ers, Rams

Thursday, Nov. 1 Chiefs at Chargers, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Nov. 4 Panthers at Redskins, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Cardinals at Packers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Lions at Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Bears at Titans, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Broncos at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Ravens at Browns, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bills at Texans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Dolphins at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Vikings at Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Buccaneers at Raiders, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Steelers at Giants, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Cowboys at Falcons, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Nov. 5 Eagles at Saints, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 10

Bye week Cardinals, Browns, Packers, Redskins

Thursday, Nov. 8 Colts at Jaguars, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Nov. 11 Broncos at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Chargers at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Titans at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bills at Patriots, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Raiders at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Giants at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Falcons at Saints, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Lions at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Jets at Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Cowboys at Eagles, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Rams at 49ers, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Texans at Bears, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Nov. 12 Chiefs at Steelers, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 11

Bye week Vikings, Giants, Seahawks, Titans

Thursday, Nov. 15 Dolphins at Bills, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Nov. 18 Eagles at Redskins, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Packers at Lions, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Cardinals at Falcons, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Buccaneers at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Browns at Cowboys, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jets at Rams, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Colts at Patriots, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jaguars at Texans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bengals at Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Saints at Raiders, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Chargers at Broncos, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Ravens at Steelers, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Nov. 19 Bears at 49ers, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 12

Thursday, Nov. 22 Texans at Lions, 12:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Redskins at Cowboys, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Patriots at Jets, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Sunday, Nov. 25 Raiders at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Steelers at Browns, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bills at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Titans at Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Broncos at Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Vikings at Bears, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Falcons at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Seahawks at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Ravens at Chargers, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) 49ers at Saints, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Rams at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Packers at Giants, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Nov. 26 Panthers at Eagles, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 13

Thursday, Nov. 29 Saints at Falcons, 8:20 p.m. (NFLN)

Sunday, Dec. 2 Seahawks at Bears, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Vikings at Packers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) 49ers at Rams, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Cardinals at Jets, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Panthers at Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Colts at Lions, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jaguars at Bills, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Patriots at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Texans at Titans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Buccaneers at Broncos, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Steelers at Ravens, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Browns at Raiders, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Bengals at Chargers, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Eagles at Cowboys, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Dec. 3 Giants at Redskins, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 14

Thursday, Dec. 6 Broncos at Raiders, 8:20 p.m ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Dec. 9 Ravens at Redskins, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Chiefs at Browns, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Chargers at Steelers, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Titans at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jets at Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bears at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Falcons at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Eagles at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Rams at Bills, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Cowboys at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Dolphins at 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Saints at Giants, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Cardinals at Seahawks, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Lions at Packers, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Dec. 10

Texans at Patriots, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 15

Thursday, Dec. 13 Bengals at Eagles, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)

Sunday, Dec. 16 Packers at Bears, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Giants at Falcons, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Buccaneers at Saints, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Vikings at Rams, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Redskins at Browns, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Jaguars at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Broncos at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Colts at Texans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Lions at Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Panthers at Chargers, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Seahawks at Bills, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Steelers at Cowboys, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Chiefs at Raiders, 4:15 p.m. ET CBS) 49ers at Patriots, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Dec. 17 Jets at Titans, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Week 16

Saturday, Dec. 22 Falcons at Lions, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Sunday, Dec. 23 Titans at Packers, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Raiders at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bills at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Bengals at Steelers, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Patriots at Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Colts at Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Saints at Cowboys, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Redskins at Eagles, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Rams at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Giants at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Vikings at Texans, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Browns at Broncos, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Bears at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) 49ers at Seahawks, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Chargers at Jets, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Week 17

Sunday, Dec. 30 Jets at Bills, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Dolphins at Patriots, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Ravens at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Browns at Steelers, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Texans at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jaguars at Titans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) Eagles at Giants, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Cowboys at Redskins, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Bears at Lions, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Packers at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Buccaneers at Falcons, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Panthers at Saints, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) Chiefs at Broncos, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Raiders at Chargers, 4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Cardinals at 49ers, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX) Rams at Seahawks, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX)

NOTE: Sunday night games from weeks 11 to 17 are subject to change because of primetime flexible scheduling. A Sunday night game for week 17 has yet to be decided, but will be decided depending on playoff implications.

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