The league did not wait as long as many believed, announcing the 2013 schedule will be released Thursday evening at 8 PM in a live special on the NFL Network and on NFL.com. While this has been a difficult week to focus my mind on football (or sports in general) it will be a welcomed relief. Here are some of my thoughts and hopes for that schedule.
- I hope the Ravens open in Chicago on Thursday night. The way I see it there are three options for the opener. (1) Ravens at Steelers. It may very well be the sport's best rivalry but a game of this level of importance shouldn't be played to open the year. (2) Ravens at Broncos. Peyton Manning is always an attractive star but this game doesn't need his star power. It is going to do the best rating of the fall anyway. (3) Ravens at Bears. Why would the league NOT want to open their season in America's greatest football city? I think the league will be crazy if they choose to play this game elsewhere.
- I am always a believer that the NFL should schedule more inter-conference games early. They count but they are games teams feel slightly better about losing. How about this one for the first Sunday nighter: Broncos at Colts. Peyton returns to Indianapolis. What a perfect way to celebrate the end of the greatest day of the year.
- Don't give us some shitty Raiders or Chargers game in the second Monday night slot on opening weekend. There are west coast teams people WANT to see in Seattle and San Francisco. So if you want to avoid a marquee game in this slot, how about Gus Bradley returns to coach against Pete Carroll. Jacksonville at Seattle.
- Don't make the Bears play the Packers on Thursday night. And certainly not on the road. Those games are too damn important to have one team ill-prepared and chances are the ill-prepared squad might be the one with a rookie head coach.
- THANKSGIVING on CBS. Baltimore at Detroit. Since we are forced to watch the Lions every year we might as well see them against the defending Super Bowl champions.
- THANKSGIVING on FOX. Green Bay at Dallas. Will just blow the roof off the ratings.
- THANKSGIVING on NBC. Denver at the Giants. This is the biggest no-brainer in the history of NFL scheduling. This is a family day and the Mannings are the first family of the NFL. If NBC were smart they'd have Archie either in the broadcast booth or sitting next to Dan Patrick at halftime.
- Make Andy Reid against the Eagles a Monday Night Football game.
- Keep the Jets as far from primetime as possible.
That's all for now. I'll post the schedule Thursday night once it is live.