2012 NFL schedule released

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.
CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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