The schedule is out. And it includes 19 games on NBC. A network with which we have a certain degree of connection and affinity.
It all starts on Thursday, September 5, when the Ravens launch their defense of the Super Bowl XLVII championship at the site of their most thrilling playoff win: Denver.
The first Sunday concludes with the matchup that launched the 2012 season. Giants-Cowboys, but this time in Dallas.
Week Two takes us to Seattle, where the Seahawks host the 49ers in a clash of perhaps the two best teams (on paper) in the league.
For Week Three, the Bears travel to Pittsburgh, for a once-every-four-years game between two franchise that should play each other more often than that.
In Week Four, the Patriots travel to Atlanta for a game between the two 2012 conference finalists who lost at home.
For Week Five, the 49ers host the Texans in what some will describe as a potential Super Bowl preview.
In Week Six, it’s RG3 making a return to Dallas, where he lit up the Cowboys last Thanksgiving.
Week Seven is lucky for NBC and the rest of the league, as Peyton Manning makes his return to Indianapolis, in a game between the Broncos and the Colts.
In Week Eight, former Packers receiver Greg Jennings hosts his old team as the Packers head to Minnesota.
The Colts return to Sunday night in Week Nine, traveling to Houston for a clash between the AFC South favorites.
It’s Dallas at New Orleans in Week 10, as Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan gets a crack at the team that fired him in January.
In Week 11, the Giants host the Packers. Aaron Rodgers vs. Eli Manning. Yeah, that’ll be a decent game.
The next week, Eli’s brother, Peyton, gets another crack at Tom Brady, in Foxboro.
In Week 13, the Steelers-Ravens Thanksgiving night contest is followed three nights later by RG3 and the Redskins hosting Eli Manning and the Giants.
Week 14 sends the Falcons to Green Bay. Week 15 has the Bengals at Pittsburgh. Week 16 pits the Pats against the Ravens. And Week 17 will be determined after Week 16 has ended.
As usual, flex schedules starts in Week 11. For now, though, every game looks to be a great one.
Start the countdown for September 5.