Of course, there’s a chance that some, if not all of these games won’t be played. Regardless, this is the first time in quite a while we’ve been able to break down professional football games, so let’s do it.
Thursday night opener: Saints at Packers — I personally thought this would be Bears-Packers, but this matchup of the last two Super Bowl champs will have to do. The defending champ has never lost a Thursday opener, but this should be a very good game.
Sunday night: Cowboys at Jets — I’m confused as to why the league didn’t decide to schedule Jets-Giants on 9/11, but as long as the game’s in New York.
Monday night early game: Patriots at Dolphins — The Pats outscored the Dolphins 79-21 in their two meetings last year, so expect a nail-biter.
Monday night late game: Raiders at Broncos — I’d imagine ESPN is hoping and praying that Tim Tebow gets the start.
Flying under the radar: Lions at Buccaneers — I’m excited to see how both young, promising teams perform. Both might have a chance to make the playoffs in 2011.
Game of the week: Chargers at Patriots — The two division favourites have quite the history.
Flying under the radar: Rams at Giants — Can’t wait to see Sam Bradford and Co. in the bright lights of prime-time football.
Game of the week: Steelers at Colts — The other two AFC division favourites meet on Sunday Night Football.
Flying under the radar: Falcons at Buccaneers — A big divisional test for Tampa in its home opener. Interestingly, there are a half a dozen big intra-divisional matchups in Week 3.
Game of the week: Jets at Ravens — Another stellar Sunday nighter involving two of the best defensive teams in football.
Flying under the radar: Patriots at Raiders — An early litmus test for an on-the-rise Raiders team.
Game of the week: Packers at Falcons — Atlanta edged Green Bay at the same site last year.
Flying under the radar: Chiefs at Colts — Kansas City hung around with the Colts in Indy last year.
Also of note: Bears at Lions — The Lions host their first Monday night game in a decade.
Game of the week: Cowboys at Patriots — Two of America’s most popular teams, Dallas and New England only get together once every four years.
Flying under the radar: Saints at Buccaneers — The NFC South will be extremely competitive again in 2011.
Game of the week: Colts at Saints — The Sunday night Super Bowl XLIV rematch will go head-to-head with the World Series.
Flying under the radar: Chargers at Jets — LaDainian Tomlinson faces his former team in a matchup between playoff contenders.
Also of note: Bears at Buccaneers — Game’s in London, but who cares?
Game(s) of the week: Patriots at Steelers, Cowboys at Eagles, Chargers at Chiefs — Three dandies.
Flying under the radar: Saints at Rams — The young Rams are significantly better at home, so they should put up a fight against New Orleans.
Also of note: Redskins at Bills — The second-last regular-season installment of the Bills Toronto Series looks like another awful game. But I’m wondering if they’ll have the Rogers Centre roof open in late October.
Game of the week: Giants at Patriots — No David Tyree, but another fun Super Bowl rematch.
Two other great inter-conference games: Falcons at Colts, Packers at Chargers.
Thursday Night Football returns: Raiders at Chargers on NFL Network
Game of the week: Saints at Falcons — Yet another big NFC South matchup.
Flying under the radar: Texans at Buccaneers — Two exciting, fairly explosive teams that struggle on defense. A lot of points coming here.
Game of the week: Buccaneers at Packers — The Bay of Pigs rivalry is renewed.
Flying under the radar: Chiefs at Patriots — Patriots 2.0 vs. the real deal.
Thanksgiving: Packers at Lions, Dolphins at Cowboys, 49ers at Ravens — The NFL schedules the Harbaugh brothers together for the holiday. San Fran-Baltimore will be the first game in NFL history in which brothers are opposing head coaches.
Game of the week: Patriots at Eagles — Obviously.
Game of the week: Colts at Patriots — Their ninth straight meeting comes on Sunday Night Football.
Flying under the radar: Chiefs at Bears — I expect both teams to be well alive in their respective division races to start December.
Game of the week: Colts at Ravens — No way this doesn’t carry a ton of importance, right?
Flying under the radar: Chiefs at Jets — Ditto for this one.
Also of note: Bears at Broncos — Jay Cutler returns to Denver.
Game of the week: Jets at Eagles — Love the NFC East-AFC East crossover.
Flying under the radar: Cowboys at Buccaneers — Can you tell I have a thing for the Bucs?
Game of the week: Bears at Packers — After a 13-game Christmas Eve, the big NFC North rival is renewed as the only game on Christmas Day.
Flying under the radar: Chargers at Lions — I have a thing for Detroit, too. Not the city, but the team.
Also of note: Giants at Jets on Christmas Eve.
All 16 games are between division rivals on New Year’s Day. Obviously it’s impossible to know at this point what will matter and what won’t.