I have never lied. (Is that true?) I enjoy the release of the upcoming schedule far more than the NFL draft. I am someone who travels with extensive itineraries, does vast amount of research, knows the oldest bar in every town I’ll find. The NFL schedule is like a treasure map. The booty is football.
Here’s what should happen this year.
THURSDAY NIGHT OPENER
Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks
No brainer of no brainers. When you have an opportunity for a Super Bowl rematch, involving Peyton Manning, to kick off your season, you do it. I have also been an advocate for the NFL opening the season with non-conference games (with no tiebreaking implications) and this game fits the bill.
SUNDAY NIGHT OPENER
New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers
I like the idea of the Sunday night opener at Lambeau and I don’t know a single serious football fan who isn’t interested in seeing Darrelle Revis’ first game as a Pat.
MONDAY NIGHT OPENER I
Tampa Bay Bucs at Chicago Bears
Lovie’s return to Chicago, Josh McCown v. Jay Cutler…etc. The league may want to save this game for later in the calendar but I wouldn’t. What if McCown is a dud in Tampa? What if it takes Lovie Smith a year or two to implement his plan? You don’t want to save this game for November and have a 2-5 Bucs team in primetime. I would hate the scheduling of this game as it would rob me of my favorite day of the year (first football Sunday) but it would be the perfect remedy for fans who start to feel a bit footballed out by Monday night of opening weekend.
MONDAY NIGHT OPENER II
Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers
The league seems to always put an AFC West dud in this slot and I’ve never understood why. Is their belief that the audience won’t hang on for a second game? Since it has to be a west coast team and I’ve taken Denver and Seattle off the board, go with the second best team in the sport and bring back their former quarterback.
Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions
Because the NFL refuses to abandon the ridiculousness of having the Lions and Cowboys play every Thanksgiving, we’re forced into this game. (League will probably put the Dolphins here but I think the Bills are the more exciting team.)
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
I don’t trust the 2014 New York Giants and the NFL doesn’t want the Redskins anywhere near Thanksgiving because it will open them up to the “redskin conversation” at full volume. Stick the Eagles here. Even a blowout will be entertaining.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
This slot, the primetime Thanksgiving game, should always be reserved for the best rivalry in the sport. Niners and Seahawks is it.