Can the NFC South keep up with the Falcons?

2013 NFL Schedule: Falcons look to defend title against revamped NFC South

Atlanta walked away with the NFC South in 2012, but the Panthers, Buccaneers and Saints are all rebuilding and looking to contend in 2013.

Chris Graythen

The Atlanta Falcons haven’t had an issue with qualifying for the playoffs since 2009.

Winning in the playoffs has been a different story. They put it together in 2012, having hosted the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. They were well on their way to making it to their first Super Bowl since 1999, but couldn’t overcome a furious 49ers comeback in the second half.

This year’s schedule could also benefit the Falcons, unless their division rivals are ready to challenge.

The Falcons were without a rival in the AFC South in 2012 as the Sean Payton-less Saints fell apart and the Panthers and Buccaneers failed to live up to hype established in 2011.

In what could be the division’s best game, the Falcons will travel to New Orleans in Week 1. The Falcons will keep the bulk of their roster intact as the Saints look to rebuild with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme.

The division takes on the AFC East in 2013, and the Falcons host the Patriots and Jets in Weeks 4 and 5 before a bye in Week 6.

The Saints begin the season with two-consecutive divisional games, the Falcons in Week 1 and at Tampa Bay in Week 2. Weeks 12-14 could make or break the team, with road games at Atlanta and Seattle before returning home for a division game against Carolina. They’ll end the season at home against the Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay begins the year at the Jets, but their final three games – vs. San Francisco, at St. Louis and at New Orleans – will be tough. For a team that fell apart down the stretch in 2012, head coach Greg Schiano faces an even tougher slate of games to end the year.

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Battles between Seahawks and 49ers define NFC West

2013 NFL Schedule: Seahawks and 49ers set for two big games

In what could be a preview of the NFC Championship game, the 49ers and Seahawks play twice, highlighting the NFC West schedule in 2013.

Otto Greule Jr

Heading into the season, it seems like there are going to be at least three huge games in the NFC:

Week 2 – Sunday Night Football, 49ers at Seahawks

Week 14 – Seahawks at 49ers

The NFC Championship game

The two NFC West rivals appear to be on a collision course in that final game.

The 49ers, fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, bested the Seahawks for the division crown by virtue of a tie against St. Louis. The Seahawks throttled the 49ers 42-13 in Week 16.

The 49ers have more than just the Seahawks to worry about, though. The division takes on the AFC South and the NFC South in 2013. Couple that with a season-opening game against the Packers, and San Francisco has one of the tougher schedules in the NFL.

Seattle has two of its first three games at home, including the marquee game against the 49ers, before having a brutal stretch between Weeks 4 and 8, with four of five games on the road. They’ll travel to Houston and Indianapolis before taking on Tennessee at home. After that, they have road games at Arizona and St. Louis.

The Rams appeared on the verge of breaking out at times during 2012, and two tight games against San Francisco (0-1-1) showed they can compete in the NFC West. Their third place schedule could help them stay with the top dogs, but a tough stretch of road games at San Francisco and Arizona in Weeks 13 and 14 will test the mettle of this young team.

The Cardinals, with new head coach Bruce Arians, look to find a new identity with a new coaching staff and quarterback. Arizona started strong in 2012 but fell apart down the stretch, costing former coach Ken Whisenhunt his job. They’ll start the season at St. Louis and will be tested in Weeks 3-7 with road games at New Orleans and Tampa Bay, a home game against Carolina and a road game at San Francisco. Then they have Seattle and Atlanta at home.

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Early games will test Texans’ defense

Texans 2013 schedule: Early games will test Houston’s defense before the bye week

After repeated playoff failures, the Houston Texans enter the new season with raised expectations. Can they finally put it all together?

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans enter the 2013 season looking to win the team’s third-consecutive division title. With several key players back from the injury and a new offensive toy in rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans seem poised for a three-peat in the AFC South.

While the Texans are seemingly the class of the division, the inter-conference competition for Houston will be their toughest test. The Texans will play the NFC West this season, with key back-to-back games against the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers before the Texans’ bye week. Houston will also face the AFC West, a division that features Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

The divisional competition is also on the upswing, as the Colts and Titans spent the offseason improving their lineups. Indianapolis is likely the biggest threat to the Texans’ division title hopes.

Week Date Opponent Time (ET) TV
1 Sept. 9 @ San Diego 10:20 p.m. ESPN
2 Sept. 15 vs. Tennessee 1 p.m. CBS
3 Sept. 22 @ Baltimore 1 p.m. CBS
4 Sept. 29 vs. Seattle 1 p.m. FOX
5 Oct. 6 @ San Francisco 8:30 p.m. NBC
6 Oct. 13 vs. St. Louis 1 p.m. CBS
7 Oct. 20 @ Kansas City 1 p.m. CBS
8 Nov. 3 vs. Indianapolis 8:30 p.m. NBC
9 Nov. 10 @ Arizona 4:25 p.m. CBS
10 Nov. 17 vs. Oakland 1 p.m. CBS
11 Nov. 24 vs. Jacksonville 1 p.m. CBS
12 Dec. 1 vs. New England 4:25 p.m. CBS
13 Dec. 5 @ Jacksonville 8:25 p.m. NFLN
14 Dec. 15 @ Indianapolis 1 p.m. CBS
15 Dec. 22 vs. Denver 1 p.m. CBS
16 Dec. 29 @ Tennessee 1 p.m. CBS

Toughest out: 49ers (away)

The 49ers are considered one of the best teams in the entire NFL and have a run game that will test both the outside and inside of the Texans’ defense. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been a major weapon and the Texans will have to account for his arm and his feet. On defense, the 49ers keep running backs out of the endzone, so Arian Foster may have a tough time on this particular Sunday.

Must win: Titans (home)

Week 2 of the season will have to be a win for the Texans, as they enter a stretch from Weeks 3-5 where Houston will play against the defending champion Ravens, the Seahawks and the 49ers. During that stretch, the Texans could easily go 0-3, so they need to beat the division rival Titans before those contests. This game is the first divisional match-up for the Texans, and they won’t play another AFC South contest until November, so its important to get an early win to keep pace.

Don’t overlook: Chiefs (away)

While the Chiefs finished last in the league last season, they did send a bunch of players to the Pro Bowl. The team has talent on both sides of the ball, and new head coach Andy Reid is one of best offensive play-callers in the league. Jamaal Charles will be a tough task between the tackles, while the Texans will hope to limit Alex Smith and Dwayne Bowe in the passing game.

For all your Houston Texans news, make sure to head to Battle Red Blog.

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Workout schedule released for all 32 NFL teams

2014 NFL offseason schedule: Complete workout programs for 32 teams released

The NFL has released the complete offseason schedule for each team in the NFL. Check out the full dates, plus explanations of what is and is not allowed by teams and players during each phase of the offseason.

Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

The NFL released the complete offseason workout programs for all 32 league teams Thursday. The schedules include dates for each squad’s voluntary workouts, as well as the three-day mandatory minicamps that the NFL allows organizations to hold for veteran players.

The NFL mandates that each team’s offseason program be split into three phases. Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride goes over the complete legalese from the collective bargaining agreement, but essentially:

  • Phase One: The first two weeks of the program. Players can take part in strength and conditioning or rehabilitation activities. No coaches can be present except for designated strength and conditioning coaches. No footballs may be used except if quarterbacks would like to practice throwing with wide receivers, in which case the receivers must be unguarded.
  • Phase Two: The next three weeks of the program. Players can take part in on-field drills! Instruction from any and all coaches is allowed, as well. Teams are essentially permitted to run only position drills, however. No live contact is allowed, nor are drills that pit offensive and defensive players against each other. Helmets cannot be worn during this phase.
  • Phase Three: The last four weeks of the program.Teams are allowed to conduct 10 days of organized team activities or “OTAs” at this time. Again, no live contact is allowed, but offenses are allowed to go against defenses in 7-on-7, 9-on-9 and 11-on-11 drills. Players are allowed to wear helmets during this phase, but no shells.

Without further ado, here’s the complete workout schedule for each team in the NFL:

Arizona Cardinals

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 20-22, May 27-29, June 2-5

Mandatory Minicamp: June 10-12

Atlanta Falcons

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-4, June 10-13

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Baltimore Ravens

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 28-30, June 3-5, June 9-10, June 12-13

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Buffalo Bills

First Day: April 22

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 28-30, June 2, June 4-5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Carolina Panthers

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 3-5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Chicago Bears

First Day: April 22

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-28, May 30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Cincinnati Bengals

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 3-5, June 16-18

Mandatory Minicamp: June 10-12

Cleveland Browns

First Day: April 7

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 20-21, May 23, May 27-28, May 30, June 2-3, June 5-6

Voluntary Minicamp: April 29-May 1

Mandatory Minicamp: June 10-12

Dallas Cowboys

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2, June 4-5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Denver Broncos

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 28-30, June 2-4, June 16-19

Mandatory Minicamp: June 10-12

Detroit Lions

First Day: April 7

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 20-22, May 27-29, June 2-5

Voluntary Minicamp: April 22-24

Mandatory Minicamp: June 10-12

Green Bay Packers

First Day: April 22

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 28-30, June 3-5, June 10-13

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Houston Texans

First Day: April 7

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10, June 12-13

Voluntary Minicamp: May 6-8

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Indianapolis Colts

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-4, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Jacksonville Jaguars

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10, June 12-13

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Kansas City Chiefs

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 3-5, June 10-13

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Miami Dolphins

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-28, May 30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Minnesota Vikings

First Day: April 7

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 28-30, June 3-5, June 9-12

Voluntary Minicamp: April 29-May 1

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

New England Patriots

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27, May 29-30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10, June 12-13

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

New Orleans Saints

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 3-5, June 16-19

Mandatory Minicamp: June 10-12

New York Giants

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 28-30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10, June 12-13

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

New York Jets

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-28, May 30, June 2, June 4-5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Oakland Raiders

First Day: April 22

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-28, May 30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Philadelphia Eagles

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Pittsburgh Steelers

First Day: April 22

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 3-5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

St. Louis Rams

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: June 3, June 5-6, June 9-10, June 12, June 16-17, June 19-20

Mandatory Minicamp: None

San Diego Chargers

First Day: April 22

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-4, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

San Francisco 49ers

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10, June 12-13

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Seattle Seahawks

First Day: April 21

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

First Day: April 7

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 20-22, May 27-29, June 2-5

Voluntary Minicamp: April 22-24

Mandatory Minicamp: June 10-12

Tennessee Titans

First Day: April 7

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-12

Voluntary Minicamp: April 29-May 1

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Washington Redskins

First Day: April 7

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 27-29, June 2-4, June 9-12

Voluntary Minicamp: April 29-May 1

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Let’s get ready for the NFL schedule release!

2014 NFL schedule release preparation schedule: Gear up for the schedule

The NFL is releasing the 2014 regular season schedule on Wednesday night, with GREAT fanfare. You need to start getting ready … like, now.

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a special day for NFL fans everywhere. The 2014 regular season schedule will be released tonight on primetime television. Schedule shows start at 8:00 p.m. ET on the NFL Network and ESPN2 will run counter to Game 2 of the Mavericks and Spurs series, which was probably the league’s plan to tweak Mark Cuban (spoiler alert: the Spurs will win anyway). At any rate, such an important event is going to require some preparation on your part to maximize enjoyment of the schedule release.

Pregame

You’re going to want to tailgate to this. Most NFL fans and everyone in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area find any event is enhanced by drinking canned domestic beer near an internal combustion engine. We’ve made you a handy checklist.

  • Pace yourself.
  • Be sure to park your tailgating RV at the tailgate lot about two days before the schedule is released. Since you’ve already missed that threshold, just sprint to your team’s stadium right now. Close this webpage.
  • HYDRATE.
  • Snacks and booze for all of your friends, who’ll also be losing their damn minds for hours about The NFL Schedule being released.
  • WAR PAINT/SUIT AND TIE
  • Good NFL Schedule Release snacks include booze Jell-O and week-old Easter candy.
  • First aid kits.
  • GET SERIOUS.
  • A hype video of past NFL Schedule Release Day highlights, for when your NFL Schedule Release Day party starts to lose steam. A shot of that time when you realized your team had three home games in a row in 2011 will fire things back up in a hurry!
  • Games!
  • But not games like cornhole or alcohol poisoning. Games like Raging At Goodell For Giving Division Rival X A Bye Week Before Playing Us and Talking Ourselves Into This Team Somehow Reaching 9-7, Which Would Piss Off Goodell Real Good and Tetris.
  • WE’RE GOING 9-7 AT WORST, BABY #BillsMafia

Make predictions

For fans

It’s important to pre-prepare your instant reaction to the release of the schedule. Beat writers and team bloggers, this is your time to shine! Because you already know which teams your team will play (three division opponents twice, one AFC division, one NFC division, plus two other in-conference teams that finished in the same spot in their division last year), you can start sketching out W’s and L’s before the schedule’s release.

The Bills are going 10-6 next year, baby!

Bills_mafia_4_life_mediumPhoto credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

For media

Media outlets, you have it a little bit tougher. It’s your job to tell everyone which games happening 5-8 months from now fans should be most excited about. HINT: the season opener, Niners-Seahawks in primetime, Peyton Manning versus somebody, Cowboys versus the eventual NFC East champion in Week 17, and some other late-season fodder that will be flexed into the Sunday Night Football. Phew! Tough work. Now you can get back to embedding tweets and pretending that’s reporting.

Know the rules

Overtime

The league might not allow overtime for the schedule release show, but then again, they just might. You can’t be the expert on all things NFL to the people at your party who are depending on you. You need to know for certain.

Tiebreakers

Week 17 is going to be stuffed with division games and all kinds of playoff implications. And that means more questions. For instance, which 8-8 team will win the NFC East? When the Bills get to 11-5, will that be enough for an AFC Wildcard? (#BILLSMAFIA represent).

Flex scheduling

Before you start making plans for date nights or dinner with your family or helping your kids study for a test, remember that your nights may suddenly become unavailable thanks to flex scheduling. It’s been around since 2006, but the process can still be a bit confusing, so here’s how flex scheduling works:

  • Beginning in Week 11, the NFL has the ability to move a Sunday afternoon game up to the primetime slot.
  • For a game to be “flexed,” Roger Goodell must really hit the gym hard on Friday afternoon after work. We’re talking dips, decline bench, preacher curls (it’s Goodell; obviously there’s just a crazy amount of preacher curls) at high intensity. The gym, like the NFL, deserves Goodell’s maximum focus and effort, so that’s what he’s going to give it and screw you if you want to use this squat rack in between sets. THE COMMISSIONER GETS SWOLE ALONE.
  • Once Goodell finishes his workout, he will visit the home team for the game the league wants to flex. He will not shower beforehand, and he will not even change out of his gym clothes.
  • Goodell will then grab a microphone that is not hooked up to anything, point to his biceps, and bellow “THESE are the only guns allowed in my league! Move your game or find out what happens when I unholster Beat Rozelle and Brawl Tagliabue!”
  • The league will then announce the movement of the flexed game to Sunday night.

Playoffs?

The regular season schedule means the playoffs are right around the corner, starting the first weekend after the regular season ends. Of course it’s impossible to know where those games will be and which teams they’ll feature (except for the 12-4 Bills #BillsMafia), but the subject of the Super Bowl and your totally awesome Super Bowl party will come up.

So when, where and what time is the 2015 Super Bowl?

Super Bowl XLIX (49 for the unlearned and search engines)

Feb. 1, 2015

Probably around 6:30 p.m. or so

Suburban Phoenix

NBC (that’s right, Bob Costas)

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NFL schedule release: When, where, and more

2014 NFL schedule release: Announcement time, TV schedule and more

The long-awaiting unveiling of the schedule will take place Wednesday, with fans looking to see when key matchups will unfold.

USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night, the NFL is set to release its schedule for the 2014-15 season, finally giving the dates and times for each game.

The opponents for each team have been known since the end of last year’s regular season, along with where each game will be held. The formula for schedule-making is based on order of finish in the division, along with a set rotation of divisions playing other divisions.

For example, the Denver Broncos finished first in the AFC West, meaning they will play the other three AFC division champs. Denver will also play the AFC East and NFC West, along with each inter-divisional foe twice, home and away. Of all the schedules, the eight toughest in terms of strength of schedule all belong to AFC and NFC West teams, per ESPN. The toughest goes to the Oakland Raiders, who face teams with a win percentage of .578 last season.

None of the primetime games are known yet, one of the main draws of the schedule release. It is also unknown who the Seattle Seahawks will be hosting to kick off their Super Bowl defense on the first Thursday night of the season.

TV: ESPN and NFLN

Time: 8 p.m. ET

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NFL releases 2014 storyline schedule

NFL releases 2014 schedule of storylines

The NFL keeps pushing back the release of the 2014 game schedule, but they’ve gone ahead and let us know what we will be discussing during each week.

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1: Tom Brady tears his ACL on a QB sneak. NFL responds by banning defense.

Week 2: The Oakland Raiders are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Week 3: Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss all insist they “could still play in the NFL,” during various “Take your daddy to school” days.

Week 4: The Browns fire Mike Pettine.

Week 5: Phillip Rivers’ wife gives birth to twins Josidiah and Jobibedah.

Week 6: Colin Kaepernick wears a baseball hat or some bullshit.

Week 7: Drunk fan runs onto field in Chicago, Jared Allen grabs him, drinks his beer, is fined $50,000 by Goodell. Allen requests fine to be raised to $69,000 which he pays in venison.

Week 8:Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson defect from Detroit during the Lions‘ road trip to London.

Week 9: Phillip Rivers’ wife is pregnant again.

Week 10: Major questions about Jadeveon Clowney’s work ethic surface when he fails to notch a single sack-fumble during the bye week.

Week 11: Merril Hoge says that Johnny Manziel should be benched, then Ed Werder asks Manziel about Hoge’s comments during a press conference, then ESPN brings Hoge back to address Manziel’s response, then Chris Mortensen reports that Manziel will no longer take questions from Werder, then Werder and Hoge go on on the SEC Network’s version of “First Take” and they’re asked about Manziel by Tim Tebow. Tebow’s comments are broadcast into outer space and lead directly to intergalactic war and annihilation.

Week 12: TheRyan twins appear on “Wife Swap,” get divorces after the second day, and marry their brothers’ former spouses. Both seem happy.

Week 13: Thursday Night Football still sucks.

Week 14: Something crazy happened in your fantasy league because your friend started one player who didn’t have a very good game, and he benched another player who played very well or “shat the bed” as you remind him several dozen times at work. Your friend doesn’t know anything about football!

Week 15: Aldon Smith reinstated to 49ers after Jim Harbaugh realizes that the past two years of his life were all being filmed for MTV’s “Boiling Points.”

Week 16: In major replay snafu, NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino drastically misinterprets the Calvin Johnson rule and overturns Marbury vs. Madison.

Week 17: The Browns fire their coach.

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NFL tweaks flex scheduling procedures

2014 NFL schedule: Sunday night games can be flexed beginning Week 5

In previous years, the NFL did not have the option to flex games to Sunday night until Week 11.

Justin Edmonds

As we await Wednesday night’s reveal of the 2014 NFL schedule, NFL.com reports that tweaks are coming to the league’s flex procedure for Sunday night games. Kickoffs scheduled for Sunday afternoon can now be bumped up to the coveted prime time slot beginning Week 5. In previous seasons, the league did not have have the flex option until Week 11.

The new flexibility comes with a minor caveat: Games can’t be flexed every week from Weeks 5 to 10. The NFL can only flex two games total over that six-week span, so it will have to choose wisely if it hopes to maximize ratings. Beginning Week 11, every Sunday afternoon game of every week can potentially be bumped into prime time.

The process of flexing a Sunday game remains the same. An announcement can come no later than 12 days prior to the kickoff of the Sunday night game, and can only be made after consultation among the NFL and the television networks. Week 17 gets special consideration, with only a six-day window needed before announcing the final Sunday schedule of the regular season.

Flex scheduling is great for the NFL and NBC, which holds the contract for Sunday night games. Plucking a lucrative game from the early- and late-afternoon slates hurts Fox and CBS, however, hence the two games only mandate prior to Week 11. Note that Thursday, Saturday and Monday games are not eligible to be flexed into the Sunday night timeslot.

Last year, a Sunday afternoon game with significant playoff implications replaced a previously scheduled Sunday night game in Weeks 11 (BroncosChiefs), 14 (SaintsPanthers) and 16 (EaglesBears).

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2014 NFL schedule announced

  • StoryStream

2014 NFL schedule: NFL’s upcoming slate announced

We already know who each NFL team will face in 2014 and where they will play. Now we know when they’ll play, too.
21 Total Updates Since

Apr 22, 2014, 5:09pm EDT

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NFL season will open with Packers at Seahawks

2014 NFL Schedule: Seattle will open the season against Green Bay

The NFL season will kick off in Seattle and the defending champs will host a familiar foe, but maybe not the one most expected.

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

As the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks have long been slotted for one of the two spots in the 2014 NFL season opener and now, after much speculation, comes the news they’ll host the Green Bay Packers, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Barring scheduling conflicts like last season in Baltimore, it’s customary for the defending Super Bowl champion to host the first game of the season. Seattle has a loaded home schedule, which led many to speculate about possible opponents for the kickoff game. Some thought the NFL might send Denver to Seattle in Week 1 for a Super Bowl rematch. Others thought the the season would begin with a bang with Seattle hosting rival San Francisco. The Dallas Cowboys were another popular choice, but in the end, the Packers will be the ones tasked with visiting the defending champs first.

The trip to Seattle will be Green Bay’s first regular season appearance since the famed “Fail Mary” game in 2012. While the final play of that game will certainly be replayed a time or two, the season opener will be a great matchup of two of the best teams in the NFC. Green Bay was a legitimate NFC contender last season before Aaron Rodgers got injured and the Packers fell out of the race for home-field advantage. With Rodgers back, Green Bay should once again be a contender and could challenge Seattle for the NFC. While it’s the first game of the year and the attention will be on the Fail Mary, the Super Bowl banner, pregame concert and all the other hype, the game itself could be significant factor in the playoff standings come Week 17.

It all begins Sept. 4 in Seattle with the Seahawks vs. the Packers.

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