Thursday Night Football Schedule 2012: Primetime Matchups Sure to Be Competitive

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 4, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26:  Running back Chris Ivory #29 of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball against cornerback Brent Grimes #20 of the Atlanta Falcons in the first half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Thursday Night Football has got off to a slow, pitiful start this season. 

After the Green Bay Packers drubbed the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field in Week 2, the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants dismantled the Carolina Panthers at home the following week.

Week 4 featured a "who cares?" matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, which the Ravens—surprise!—won at home. Enter Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams.

One can only hope Thursday's NFC West matchup produces some more buzz.

If not, these future Thursday night showdowns are sure to quench your competitive thirst.

Week 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings

First-year head coach Greg Schiano has his Bucs playing hard, and bum-rushing their opponents on the last play of each and every game. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings have been overachieving this season.

This is one of the more underrated TNF showdowns of 2012. Look for an intriguing matchup to develop between Minnesota's Top-10 rushing attack and Tampa's Top-Five run defense. 

Expect lots of sound from the raucous crowd at Mall of America Field trapped inside the dome, but also prepare yourself for a competitive showdown that won't put you to sleep by halftime. 

Week 10: Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

If the Week 10 Thursday night meeting between AFC South rivals Indianapolis and Jacksonville is anything like the first, fans are in store for an entertaining battle. 

Jacksonville outlasted the Colts on the road in Week 3, 22-17, in the team's only win through the first four weeks of the season. With the Jags hosting Indy in Week 10, they will have a legitimate shot at sweeping their rivals for the second straight season.

Another reason why this matchup will be competitive is Andrew Luck. The rookie signal-caller is averaging more than 266 passing yards per game and looks to be molding into the leader that the Colts are hoping he can be.

Week 13: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons

It doesn't matter how many losses the Saints have by Week 13. As long as Drew Brees is under center, New Orleans will be competitive and capable of beating anyone in the NFL. The former Super Bowl MVP has thrown for 1,350 yards and 10 touchdowns in four games this season. 

The Falcons will likely be looking to put the NFC South division title away in late November, so fans can expect to get the best from Matt Ryan and company in this divisional matchup as well.

New Orleans swept Atlanta in 2011 and has plenty of pride despite lacking wins in 2012, so expect both teams to be gunning for a win in the Georgia Dome. 

NFL Thursday Night Football Schedule 2012

Week Date Matchup Channel
2 Sept. 13 Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers NFL Network
3 Sept. 20 New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers NFL Network
4 Sept. 27 Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL Network
5 Oct. 4 Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams NFL Network
6 Oct. 11 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans NFL Network
7 Oct. 18 Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers NFL Network
8 Oct. 25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings NFL Network
9 Nov. 1 Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers NFL Network
10 Nov. 8 Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Network
11 Nov. 15 Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills NFL Network
12 Nov. 22 New England Patriots vs. New York Jets  NBC
13 Nov. 29 New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons NFL Network
14 Dec. 6 Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders NFL Network
15 Dec. 13 Cincinnati Bengals vs. Philadelphia Eagles NFL Network

*All schedule info courtesy of

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more Thursday Night Football bashing. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter


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