Plenty has been said about the 2012 schedule and no doubt that all the analysts and commentators will be picking through each team’s schedule to come up with the pros and cons facing each franchise, but how about a quick one-take line of each team and their schedule, that’s what we aim to do here starting with the NFC teams.
If you like seeing the Chicago Bears then the 2012 schedule is just right for you as they appear on Monday Night Football on three occasions, more than any other team. Their divisional rivals the Packers start with a couple of home games at Lambeau Field but comfortingly for the Packers who love playing in frozen conditions, they will still have three home games to come in December. It could be tough for the third NFC North team this year, the Detroit Lions with only three games on their own “turf” before Thanksgiving and three sets of back-to-back road games before that – the 2012 schedule has not been kind to the Lions. Making up the numbers in the North are the Vikings who will be getting a good look at the drafts first two picks this year as they are the only team that will face both Luck and Griffin.
Superbowl champions the NY Giants have a brutal schedule, and they will do well to retain their title, possibly another Superbowl champ that fails to make the playoffs the following season. Around them in their division, the Eagles have a far softer group of games, the Cowboys will be meeting the Giants far earlier this year than last and the Redskins 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 – welcome to the NFL Robert Griffin III.
Over in the West, will last season’s surprise team the 49ers find life tougher this time, well 13-3 is hard to duplicate especially with their schedule – life may be a lot tougher this year. Seattle are starting to shape up and finish with home games which will be an advantage, while the Cardinals had better do well early season as their 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 – ouch!. The Rams well they’ve been touted as dark horses over the last few year, can they finally make a run at the division title, well if they are 4-4 going to the bye week they may well have a chance.
Finally, the South, the Saints will be the Saints although it remains to be seen what all the off the field events have done to team morale and unity and their annual battle with the Falcons will be interesting especially as Atlanta get the chance to get off to a quick start this year. That leaves the Bucs and the Panthers, the latter still have the wonderful Cam Newton which gives them a chance but only a chance and Tampa Bay had better start well as they face trips to the Giants and the Cowboys in Weeks 3 and 4.