Only the NFL can make a grand red carpet roll out for releasing their 2012-13 schedule. Moments after the 7 p.m. EST announcement NFL fanatics were simultaneously using up their PTO days, checking hotel prices in Tennessee and flights to Seattle. (Note to self: buy stock in Priceline.com and Expedia.com prior to next year’s schedule release.)
The football fanatical hysteria is more than justified as the NFL yet again trumps their sport peers, tailoring a schedule around the desire of the fan and not the teams. Sorry, Tom Coughlin!
The fans want to see Peyton Manning? They can catch him five times on national TV in his new Broncos uniform. Playoff rematches? Nine games from last year’s thrilling playoff bolster an already beefed up schedule. Want a great way to avoid that dreaded turkey hangover nap on Thanksgiving? Stay tuned in to the NFL all day long starting with the Texans visiting the Lions, followed by the Redskins breaking bread with the Cowboys and the Patriots embarking on a pilgrimage to New York.
Plenty of things to be excited for as an NFL fan. On the Jets side of things here are five games that sure to be crowd please-ers once the season kicks off.
- Week 2 September 16th @ Pittsburgh Steelers: The Jets have a chance to wash out the lingering taste of their last trip to Heinz Field — a 24-19 AFC Championship game loss that saw the Jets nearly pull-off a second-half scramble to steal a victory. One could argue the team hasn’t been the same since that game. An early road win against a tough rival may bring them back to form.
- Week 4 September 30th vs. San Francisco 49ers: A gritty, defensive-minded team with run-oriented offense and a brash rookie head coach coming fresh off a trip to the Championship game. Sound familiar? Jim Harbaugh brings his 49ers, a near spitting image of the Jets, to MetLife Stadium in what should be a real slobber-knocker. You have to think Rex Ryan has this game circle, undoubtedly pitting the too boisterous coaches against each other. And of course how can we forget the potential re-kindling between Darrelle Revis and Randy Moss.
- Week 5 October 8th vs. Houston Texans: Tim Tebow’s first national appearance as a Jet happens on Monday Night Football at home against the Texans. The sans-Mario Williams Houston team should prove to be a playoff contender in 2012 with a healthy Matt Schaub. Weeks 2 through 5 will be a great test for a team that’s trying to climb the ladder back to the upper rungs. Should they struggle out of the gates, will this Monday night game prove to be Tebow’s quarterback coronation?
- Week 11 November 11th @ St. Louis Rams: After three years of Ryan’s defense practicing against Brian Schottenheimer’s offense, the two sides finally get to tee off for real. The much-maligned Schottenheimer was scooted out the door after getting the brunt of Mark Sanchez’s erratic play and an earful from the receiving corps. Schotty showed some promise as coordinator, but his offensive principles clashed with team personnel. Surely he’ll want to bring his A-game to show his former team what they could have had. They will be coming off a road visit to Seattle before hosting the Patriots on Thanksgiving just four days later. Which brings me to my last and final game…
- Week 12 November 22nd vs. New England Patriots: A Thanksgiving dessert that may decide the AFC East champion. No better setting for Ryan’s refusal to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings, Tom Brady’s ‘hatred’ for the Jets and Antonio Cromartie’s choice words for the Patriots’ QB than Thanksgiving. At first glance this game will carry similar expectations as their 2010’s Week 12 match-up, a nationally televised game the Jets lost 45-3. However Tom Brady has won only twice in New York since 2007.
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