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NFL REGULAR SEASON FOR 2012 WILL START ON SEPTEMBER 5
Fri, 20 Apr 2012 03:05 AM EDT

The nation will not have to wait long to see Peyton Manning in a Broncos uniform. Odds

Manning’s 1st game as Denver’s quarterback will come in prime time as Denver hosts Pittsburgh on the opening Sunday of the NFL season. After conducting a four-city lottery for his services, Manning landed in Denver, which hasn’t won a Super Bowl since his new director, John Elway, was behind center. Scores

“We’re pumped up about that. Anytime you have got a guy behind the center named Peyton Manning, you’re going to get a lot of attention,” Elway said.

Manning won’t have an easy task against the Steelers, who ranked 1st in general defense and against the pass last year.

“The opening game in Denver clearly will be an interesting way to start the season,” Steelers president Art Rooney claimed. “There will be a large amount of notice given to Peyton Manning’s 1st game with the Denver Broncos, so it’ll be exciting to start out that way.”

Pittsburgh’s season finished in Denver in January when Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas on the 1st play of overtime in their wild-card playoff game. Manning presents a whole different challenge.

“Hopefully we can back up the playoff game that we had last year,” Elway said.

Steelers at Broncos is one of 4 prime-time games in the league’s kickoff week, September 5-10. The schedule has the Super Bowl champion Giants hosting the Cowboys in the 1st Wednesday NFL game since 1948; the league moved the game to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama’s Thursday night speech at the Democratic National Convention.

“We will have a week-in and week-out challenge, not only in who we play, but with the distinct parts of our schedule,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin announced. “We play on 4 different days and we have 5 night games. Our 1st 3 games are Wednesday-Sunday-Thursday. We play 2 road night games early, come back home for 1 week and then go to San Francisco. Our people are going to be forced to be extremely good about it.”

The now-traditional Monday night opening doubleheader has Cincinnati at Baltimore, followed by San Diego at Oakland.

“The 1st thing I generally search for is our division games – when we play them and the case you’re under,” Chargers coach Norv Turner claimed of opening vs. the Raiders.”… It’s a good rivalry and it is a real test when you go on the road for a Monday night game to open the season.”

A juicy opening-day matchup features San Francisco at Green Bay; the teams combined to go 28-4 in 2011. New Orleans, still awaiting league sanction to its players for the compensation program that focused opponents for dangerous hits, hosts Washington.

The Saints have a bye after their 5th game that means interim coach Joe Vitt will basically miss 7 weeks during his 6-game suspension for his role in the bounty program.

The wild-card weekend is Jan. 5-6, followed the next weekend by the divisional round, and then by the conference championships on January 20, the Super Bowl is February 3 in New Orleans.


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