It is not a certainty yet, but there seems to be a very good possibility that the Denver Broncos could open the 2012 season (also known as the "Peyton Manning Era") either at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers or on the road against the New England Patriots or Baltimore Ravens. Either way, there seems to be early momentum for the Broncos to open their season on NBC Sunday Night Football, according to a report from Mike Klis of The Denver Post.
The Steelers would make a great national television partner if Denver opens at home. This would be a rematch of last year’s big first-round playoff game that saw the Broncos win in overtime on a dramatic pass from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas.
According to a report by Jeff Seidel of CSN Baltimore the Ravens are a contender to host Denver in the season opener. There is no doubt the Ravens with Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and that menacing defense would also make for a very compelling match-up worthy of national television.
Other possible candidates, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, include the Houston Texans and the New Orleans Saints for the home opener, or a road game against either the Falcons, the Patriots or Ravens.
However, CBS has first right to broadcast the game. But due to their coverage of the U.S. Open tennis Men's Final, they only have a 1 p.m. national telecast window if they made it the "A Game." That prevents a large part of the country from seeing the game.
I think we can rule out Fox because the Saints have far too much baggage to be see as an Opening Day foe. The Falcons are out because it would be CBS game, and the Steelers, Patriots and Ravens present far better match ups than Atlanta, which not a ratings draw.
So the games that make the most sense for both the NFL and for NBC would be a home contest against the Steelers (which would make for a great ratings winner), a road matchup with New England, which would offer a great storyline with the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning rivalry. Or a trip to Baltimore to face the Ravens. All three games offer very interesting story-lines but will have to wait a little while longer till NFL releases its complete 2012 schedule to find out where Manning's debut with Denver will be.
Stay tuned as the NFL will pick a fun opener among these teams for the Broncos.