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2012 NFL schedule released

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
The Giants and Cowboys kickoff the 2012 NFL season on Wednesday, Sept. 5. (Getty Images)

Good news: The 2012 NFL season begins a day earlier than previous seasons -- Wednesday, September 5 -- to avoid conflicting with the speech President Obama will be delivering at the Democractic National Convention on Thursday, September 6. The matchup to kick things off: the New York Giants will host the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium for the aptly named "NFL Kickoff 2012." Game time is 8:30 p.m. ET.

Better news: On Tuesday, the NFL announced the rest of the 2012 schedule. You can view it in all its 256-regular-season-games glory here.

Some noteworthy games:

- Week 1: 49ers at Packers
- Week 1: Steelers at Broncos, SNF
- Week 1: Bengals at Ravens, MNF
- Week 2: Bears at Packers, Thursday night
- Week 2: Jets at Steelers
- Week 3: Packers at Seahawks, MNF
- Week 3: Giants at Panthers, TNF
- Week 4: Saints at Packers
- Week 5: Broncos at Patriots (Manning and Brady reunited)
- Week 6: Giants at 49ers
- Week 7: Jets at Patriots
- Week 8: Patriots at Rams (London game)
- Week 8: Saints at Broncos, SNF (return of interim coach Joe Vitt)
- Week 9: Steelers at Giants
- Week 12: Thanksgiving Day games -- Texans at Lions, Redskins at Cowboys, Patriots at Jets
- Week 14: Chargers at Steelers
- Week 14: Falcons at Panthers
- Week 17: Panthers at Saints
- Week 17: Eagles at Giants

Other schedule-related notes (via NFL Network):

- No more than five primetime games per team;
- At least one primetime game per team;
- All Week 17 games must be divisional games;
- No road games before a road Thursday night game;
- 9 teams scheduled to have multiple Monday night appearances;
- 14 teams scheduled to have multiple Sunday night appearances;
- Only two teams have three consecutive road games: Green Bay and Houston;
- Teams to start 0-2 and make the Super Bowl: 2007 Giants, 2001 & 1996 Patriots, 1993 Cowboys.

Quotes from around the league:

NFL releases 2012 schedule
NFL coverage on the go
"Anytime you stare at a first-place schedule it's going to be a tough schedule. There are no cupcakes in this league." - Broncos head coach John Fox on having to face the Steelers and Falcons in back-to-back nationally televised games to start the season.

"That's going to be a beauty ... no doubt." - Jets head coach Rex Ryan on the Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Patriots.

"It's been a long time coming ... national TV. I'm going to have to wear something new." - Panthers WR Steve Smith talking about the nationally televised Week 3 game against the Giants.

“I'm going to be relaxed, man. I'm going to be calm, cool -- just like any other game.” - Bills DE Mario Williams on facing his former team, the Texans, in Week 9.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.
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