2012 NFL schedule: Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady and more great games on the slate

2012-nfl-schedule.jpgThe NFL announced its 2012 schedule Tuesday (April 17). It's way too extensive to print here, but the NFL has provided this handy week-by-week calendar/graphic that we found quite fun to peruse.

Here are some of the marquee match-ups:

Sunday, Sept. 9: Steelers at Broncos
Peyton Manning had been an Indianapolis Colt it seemed like, well, forever. But now on Sept. 9, he makes his debut as a Denver Bronco after losing the entire 2011 season to injury. The Steelers are known for their high-caliber defense, so it should be one to watch (provided Peyton is healthy and starting under center, of course).

Sunday, Oct. 7: Broncos at Patriots
Tom Brady and Manning have been two the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the past decade. In the 12 times they've faced off, Brady has beaten Manning eight of them. And the games are usually close ones. Should be a fun match-up.

Sunday, Oct. 7: Chargers at Saints
QBs Drew Brees and Philip Rivers are former teammates, New Orleans coach Sean Payton is suspended, Chargers coach Norv Turner seems to perennially be on the hot seat - oh, and the last time these QBs faced off, they threw for a combined almost 700 yards. Could be quite the shoot-out.

Sunday, Nov. 25: Packers at Giants
The last time these two teams faced off was in the playoffs in January. And Green Bay, the defending Super Bowl champs at the time, got their butts absolutely handed to them. It will be fun to watch them meet up again.

The Thanksgiving Day slate

Thanksgiving features the Texans at Detroit, which is a much better match-up than it would've been even two years ago; Cowboys-Redskins, which is a divisional game; and Patriots at Jets. Let's just hope that for some reason by then it's not Tim Tebow starting for New York, since the Patriots were two huge losses for him in 2011.

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