AFC South Schedule Release Preview: Most Exciting Matchups for Each Team

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistApril 17, 2012

Aaron Rodgers comes into Indianapolis again in 2012
Aaron Rodgers comes into Indianapolis again in 2012Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Tonight, the NFL releases the 2012 schedule.

Given that we've known for months who everyone in the division will be playing, the schedule release is a bit like taking a child shopping for Christmas presents, leaving them unwrapped under the tree, then expecting excitement just because you rearranged the boxes two weeks before Christmas actually arrives.

If nothing else, the schedule release proves just how insatiable our appetite for the NFL is. Maybe we'll get lucky and the NFL can unveil more Nike jerseys while they're at it!

So, just to get you warmed up, here are four great matchups each team in the AFC South can look forward to next year.


Houston Texans at Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning against the Texans! Houston finally got Manning out of the South, but they couldn't get him off the schedule. This is one of the marquee matchups of 2012, and will be a great litmus test for both teams.

The Texans have only managed a couple of wins against Manning in franchise history and they've never beaten him on the road, but getting one in 2012 would go a long way toward establishing Houston as a Super Bowl threat in the AFC.


Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts

The Packers are always a marquee draw, and Aaron Rodgers versus Andrew Luck should be a thrill for NFL fans everywhere. Beyond the whole Cal-Stanford rivalry, fans in Indy will get to look at two quarterbacks who could dominate the league for years.

Look for the Packers to post big passing numbers in a game that will be entertaining, even if it isn't close.


New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Patriots come to Jacksonville for just the third time ever, and the first since 2006. The Jags hope to sport an elite defense, and Jags fans will hope to see Tom Brady go down early and often.

This is possibly one of only two times ever that Jags fans will get the chance to see the Hall of Fame quarterback, so expect a full and raucous house.


Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

The Steelers and Titans had some serious bad blood brewing a few years ago. The old division rivals don't like each other much, and Titans fans may find some distasteful uses for the Terrible Towel.

The Steelers always bring a big road following, so the atmosphere in Nashville should be charged.