We knew who the Green Bay Packers were going to play on the 2012 NFL schedule a while ago, but learning the exact dates and venues of all of the games was still a happy event. Those with limited time and financial means, but enough time and financial means to catch an occasional game can now plan their trips to away games. We also learned which games are going to be on national TV, which is always useful.
With that in mind, I figured I'd go through which games I'm most looking forward to and why. We'll do this in reverse order, building up to the game I'm most excited for, with a jump to build the suspense. Because I'm sneaky.
5. at Indianapolis Colts
Simply because this is the game that I have the best chance of getting to. I'm hoping that Luckmania has worn off just a tiny bit by Week 5 and I can grab a reasonably priced ticket through the legal scalpers. Indianapolis is the only city within reasonable driving distance that I could potentially get friends/roommates to go to, save for Chicago. I'm just assuming a Week 15 ticket at Soldier Field is going to cost too much money.
Our first divisional test is in Week 2, at home, the week after a tough game against the San Fransisco 49ers. We simply can't be losing at home to divisional rivals, so I'll be a giant ball of nerves for this game unless the Bears find a way to miraculously get killed by the Colts in Week 1.
3. at Seattle Seahawks
Our little Matty is all grown up! Matt Flynn is going to be "competing" with Tavaris Jackson for the starting quarterback job, but I'll be surprised if Flynn isn't the starter and playing some decent football heading into this game. Basically every neutral on earth is going to be rooting for Flynn to torch his former team. I'm not gonna lie ... I wouldn't blame them. It would be a really cool story. If, you know, I wasn't a Pacers fan.
2. at New York Giants
If both teams come into this game with winning records -- and I fully expect them to -- this is going to be a ridiculously over-hyped game on our end. The national media probably won't treat it like more than the average primetime game between two very good teams, but the local media is going to ask a lot of inane questions about revenge and payback and getting the bad taste out of one's mouth. The Packers' players will say it's 'just another football game'. On the field, it will be anything but.
1. San Fransisco 49ers
This is No. 1 partially because it is the season opener. We're already desperate for football to come back, but come July, none of us will be able to think about anything other than the fact that there are not football games on yet. This game is going to be such a relief.
At the same time, it is a game between the two teams that I think are the best in the NFC heading into training camp. I think that the New York Giants slightly overachieved in the playoffs, and I think that the New Orleans Saints are going to take a step back. This could very well be an NFC Championship Game preview in Week 1 of the regular season.
Thoughts? What game are you most looking forward to?