2012 NFL Schedule: Teams Who Will Thrive with Favorable Matchups
After weeks of teases and speculation, the NFL finally released the dates and times for its 2012 schedule. Now that we know where and when teams will be playing, it is time to start looking at who got a great break because of favorable home/road travel schedules.
The NFL makes a conscious effort to be fair to all 32 teams, but with so many games and things to move around, it doesn't always work for everyone.
With that in mind, here are the teams that are going to have an easier time having success this season because of the way their schedules fell.
Last year's surprise team in the AFC North has the chance to do a lot of damage right out of the gate in 2012.
Following a rough matchup to start the year at Baltimore, the Bengals play Cleveland at home and go to Washington and Jacksonville before coming home to play Miami.
After that four-week stretch, the Bengals stay in Ohio for the next five weeks. They go to Cleveland in Week 6, host Pittsburgh, have a bye in Week 8 and then two home games with the Broncos and Giants.
They did get hosed at the end of the year with five games to close things out against San Diego, Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but if they can come out of that stretch with two wins and take care of business early in the year, they will be heading back to the playoffs.
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With no talk of a "Dream Team" or anything like that weighing the Eagles down this year, they can finally just go out and play football.
The good news is, they have a schedule that sets up very well for them to make a successful playoff push this season.
That isn't to say they don't have tough tasks ahead of them, but a lot of them come at home. In addition to divisional games against New York and Dallas, the Eagles will host Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, Carolina and Cincinnati.
With no long road trips on short weeks, the Eagles are in prime position to have a successful season, and the Andy Reid haters will have to silence the talk of him getting fired for another year.
It would be an understatement to say that the Chargers have the odds in their favor this year. The schedule doesn't look that bad upon first glance, but we all know that preconceived notions about the NFL don't often hold true when the games start.
The Chargers should be able to get off to a quick start, which is something they don't traditionally do. They start at home against Oakland on Monday Night Football, then have two home games against Tennessee and Atlanta.
Road tests against New Orleans, Denver, Pittsburgh and New York (Jets) are going to show us just how comfortable these Chargers are away from home.
It is put up or shut up time for San Diego, and with the talent on the roster, it is hard to see this team going quietly into that good night.
For a complete breakdown of the NFL schedule, check out Bleacher Report's look at the release of the games for the latest news and analysis.
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