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2012 NFL Schedule: 5 Big Matchups We Want to See on Monday Night

Eric VincentCorrespondent IApril 17, 2012

2012 NFL Schedule: 5 Big Matchups We Want to See on Monday Night

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    The NFL schedule will be released to the public at 7 p.m., and the world is on edge to see who each team will match up against. With no lockout, and many new franchise faces, this is arguably one of the most anticipated NFL seasons in past memory.

    There have been some rumors to the opening Monday Night Football game already, but nothing is set in stone yet.

    With the schedule set to drop in hours, it's hard not to speculate who will be playing when, especially on Monday nights. Monday Night Football is the biggest regular season stage, and every NFL team would love to perform on that stage

    Here are the five games we'd love to watch on Monday Night Football this season.

1. Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions

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    This is the matchup rumored to be the Week One Monday night opener for the 2012 season, and it would be well worth the hype.

    With Detroit seeming to turn the corner, and Green Bay still being a powerhouse of the NFL, these teams would create a high scoring Monday night showdown and further their fiery NFC North rivalry. 

    In both games last season, neither team played with a healthy roster. Detroit lost Louis Delmas and Chris Houston to injury, and the infamous "Suh stomp" got Ndamukong Suh kicked out of the 2nd half of the game. In the regular season finale, Green Bay kept Greg Jennings and Aaron Rodgers on the sideline for postseason health concerns.

    If Matt Flynn can put up historic NFL numbers in a season finale, imagine what Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers can do with all their weapons healthy on a season-opening Monday night stage. Must-see TV.

2. New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys

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    "America's Team" find their way into multiple primetime games every season, and none would be better than a matchup against the defending Super Bowl champs.

    Eli Manning and the New York Giants shocked the world last year by upsetting the Green Bay Packers and the San Fransisco 49ers in the playoffs, then winning another thrilling Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

    As history shows, the Giants play better when the world writes them off and they play as an underdog. How will they respond this year under a bright microscope as the defending champions?

    The talent is there for the Dallas Cowboys, but the end result is yet to match with their potential. The Cowboys missed the playoffs by just one game, and are in big need of a rebound season.

    Tony Romo's window of opportunity is slowly closing, and it's not a stretch to call this a make-or-break year for him. Romo is a top-10 talent at quarterback, and has more than enough weapons with Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and a healthy DeMarco Murray returning.

    Plenty on the line for both teams, and many questions could be answered with an exciting MNF matchup between the two.

3. Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots

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    The NFL really missed the classic Tom Brady-Peyton Manning duel last season. That void can be filled and forgotten this year with a Monday night battle.

    Peyton Manning has been the talk of the town since the release of his neck injury, and the drastic downslide of the Indianapolis Colts.

    As long as Tom Brady is healthy and playing quarterback in the NFL, he will always be a problem for opposing defenses. Brady makes all his receivers better no matter who they are, but he's that much more dangerous with legitimate weapons at his disposal.

    With a healthy Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, and newly added receiver Brandon Lloyd playing with Brady, New England could be as explosive offensively as they were during their 2007 undefeated regular season.

    Manning vs. Brady automatically creates a tremendous buzz. The two best quarterbacks of their generation, men who will retire as two of the best to ever play the game. The duo deserves a Monday night game this season. It's good for their careers, and even better for the game of football.

4. Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Power shifts occur in the NFC South more often than in any other division in the NFL. This season could be another example of that.

    Pre-bounty gate and before the Drew Brees contract issues, the New Orleans Saints were the favorites to repeat as NFC South champs. With their offseason drama, and the emergence of their rivals, they'll take a backseat.

    On the other side of the division, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers are on the brink of playoff competition.

    Cam Newton has become one of the most electrifying players in all of the NFL. The Panthers got very little national attention as a team, but that should change this season.

    Newton states his improvement is "through the roof" and might get his chance to prove so. The 2011-12 rookie of the year is arguably the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the league, and will need to be so next season.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the biggest winners of the offseason with their acquisitions. They addressed major areas of concern by signing offensive Carl Nicks, cornerback Eric Wright, and wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

    Tampa Bay finished 10-6 two years ago and a game shy of the playoffs. With their new crop of talent gelling together, they are favorites to win the NFC South for good reason.

5. New York Jets vs. Denver Broncos

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    Anybody who doesn't believe Tim Tebow will be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets in due time is quite foolish. How often is there a press conference for a situational or backup quarterback?

    Two suspect teams with brand new faces of their franchise.

    Peyton Manning, one of the best quarterbacks in league history.

    Tim Tebow, who had the NFL in the palm of his hand with Tebowmania.

    Back in Indianapolis, Manning already had a heated rivalry with Jets coach Rex Ryan. Ryan called his battles against Manning "personal" in January. With both teams having much to prove this season, the hype has certainly been increased and expectations for success are sky high.

    A Sunday afternoon duel between these two teams wouldn't do justice for the NFL. Manning and Tebow have been front page news since last year, and deserve the grand stage this season.

    There's no telling who the better team is right now, but the NFL should let everyone find out with a MNF showdown. 

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