There’s much that can be said about the 2012 schedule. Since we aspire to focus not on any one team but on all 32 of them, I took a careful look at each team’s schedule and came up with one observation per team.
So here they are. One per team. This way, no one can complain.
But someone surely will find a way to.
Bills: Their success in 2011 hasn’t translated to greater exposure in 2012. They’ll have no Monday night games, and they’ll have to flex their way into a Sunday night appearance.
Ravens: They’ll face the Steelers twice in 14 days. And while the Ravens previously have asked to not play in Pittsburgh at night, that’s precisely what will happen on the evening of November 18.
Bengals: Last year, the Bengals struggled to sell out games played at Paul Brown Stadium. This year, with the Giants and Cowboys joining the Ravens and Steelers as visitors to Cincinnati, at least half of the home games should sell out. Along with one more to be mentioned later.
Browns: The team that wanted to trade up to get Robert Griffin III will get a close look at him in the final home game of the year.
Broncos: The new darlings of the NFL thanks to the presence of Peyton Manning, the Broncos are scheduled to have five prime-time games and four 4:15 p.m. ET kickoffs on CBS.
Colts: In contrast, the team for which Peyton Manning used to play has 15 games scheduled to kick off at 1:00 p.m. ET, along with the one Thursday game in which every team will participate.
Texans: Now that they’ve mastered the Colts (sort of), the Texans won’t see them until December 16. And then again on December 30.
Jaguars: After two inexplicable appearances on MNF in 2011, the Jags won’t have a prime-time game beyond their perfunctory Thursday nighter.
Chiefs: The season starts with the first-ever clash between teams run by a pair of former Patriots executives, when the Falcons and G.M. Thomas Dimitroff come to town to face the Chiefs and G.M. Scott Pioli.
Dolphins: Between September 23 and November 11, the Dolphins have only one home game (vs. Rams), which is sandwiched between two road games, a bye, and two more road games.
Patriots: The Pats get three of their last four games on the frozen FieldTurf of Gillette Stadium.
Jets: In contrast, the Jets will play three of their final four games away from home. (Given the reception that one or both quarterbacks may be receiving by then, that could be a good thing.)
Raiders: Last year, former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer reportedly said he would never set foot in Paul Brown Stadium again. On November 25, he will.
Steelers: They have only two home games before October 28. And they’ll probably wear those awful throwback uniforms in at least one of them.
Chargers: From September 23 through November 25, the Chargers have only one Sunday home game. (There’s a Monday night game on October 15, and a Thursday night game on November 1.)
Titans: The Titans will play only two games in their division before Thanksgiving.
Cardinals: They’d better win as many games as they can early in the year. The final nine games include the 49ers twice, at Green Bay, at Atlanta, at the Jets, at Seattle, and home games against the Lions and Bears.
Falcons: They’ll get a chance to get off to a quick start; four of their first six games will be played against the depleted AFC West.
Panthers: Sunday night is football night. But it’s not Cam Newton night. Unless the Panthers get flexed.
Bears: They’ll appear three times on Monday night football, more than any other team.
Cowboys: In 2011, they didn’t play the Giants until December 11. In 2012, they’re finished with the Giants by Halloween.
Lions: They have only three home games before Thanksgiving, with three different sets of back-to-back road games during that stretch.
Packers: Even with two home games in five days to start the season, the Packers will play three home games in December.
Saints: If Drew Brees throws a touchdown pass in each of the team’s first four games, he’ll be able to break the record held by John Unitas for consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass (47) against the Chargers on NBC.
Giants: A brutal schedule that has not soft spots but trap games. Especially since two of the soft spots/trap games involve a Redskins team that swept the Giants in 2011.
Eagles: They won’t leave Pennsylvania from September 23 until November 5.
Rams: They could be 4-4 at the bye, which could put them in position for a run at the division title.
49ers: 13-3 will be very difficult to duplicate, with four games against the AFC East, four against the NFC North, and games against the Giants and Saints.
Seahawks: The Seahawks finish with home games against the 49ers and Rams, which if everything is bunched together like it was two years ago could give them an edge on winning the NFC West.
Buccaneers: The best they can hope for at the bye is 2-2, given trips to play the Giants and Cowboys in Week Three and Week Four, respectively.
Redskins: The ‘Skins have a brutal stretch to finish the year, with a final seven games that include two against the Eagles, two against the Cowboys, one against the Giants, and a game against the Ravens.