NFL Schedule 2013: Previewing Most Appealing Season-Opening Matchups
The 2013 NFL regular-season schedule has been released and features a seemingly endless list of pivotal matchups, including a trio of appealing season openers in early September.
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will open on the road thanks to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, while the the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers will host the weekend's marquee showdown in the late afternoon on the season's first Sunday.
Below, we'll preview three of the most fascinating Week 1 tilts on the 2013 NFL schedule.
Season-Opening Rematch in the Mile High City
When: Thursday, Sept. 5, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
The reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will begin the 2013 regular season on the road in Denver, taking on the Broncos for the first time since last January's memorable AFC Divisional round battle, which the Ravens won in double overtime en route to claiming the Lombardi Trophy.
In case you're wondering why the champions will open on the road, the Baltimore Orioles have a home game scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5, thus forcing the Ravens out of Charm City.
Although it's difficult to imagine this Week 1 showdown living up to last year's "Mile-High Miracle," these two playoff hopefuls should certainly make for a thrilling prime-time matchup.
In addition to two great Super Bowl champion quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and Peyton Manning going head-to-head, this game will likely take on a rivalry-like feel as Baltimore not only ended Denver's 11-game winning streak last winter, but also one of the franchise's most promising seasons.
Potential NFC Championship Preview out West
When: Sunday, Sept. 8, at 4:25 p.m. ET
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco
For the second straight year, the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers will open the season against one another.
The Niners have taken two consecutive matchups with the Packers, including last year's season opener at Lambeau Field. However, this year's opener will be played on the West Coast inside Candlestick Park, the site of Green Bay's bitter playoff loss in the NFC Divisional round last January.
Fans will get an early look at two phenomenal quarterbacks with different styles as former league MVP Aaron Rodgers will lead the Pack up against speedster Colin Kaepernick, set to enter his third NFL season in 2013.
While this matchup has become one of the top NFC rivalries over the past year, the Niners are in danger of making it a one-sided rivalry with a third straight win over the Pack.
Both of these franchises have Super Bowl aspirations in 2013, and given their championship pedigrees, don't be surprised if we see them square off again down the road in the playoffs.
Two Explosive Quarterbacks Battle in D.C.
When: Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: FedExField, Washington
Two of the most exciting signal-callers in football could possibly be suiting up in the first "Monday Night Football" matchup of 2013, when Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles travel southwest to take on the reigning NFC East champion Washington Redskins, who are led by Robert Griffin III.
Which big-time Week 1 matchup are you most excited for?
Washington took both meetings with Philadelphia last season, giving the Eagles added incentive to knock off their rivals in Week 1.
This prime-time clash will also offer NFL fans around the country a firsthand look at the Chip Kelly-led Eagles. Philadelphia is coming off a dismal 4-12 season and will feature a plethora of fresh faces across the board, including a top rookie as the Eagles will draft No. 4 overall in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft this April.
Meanwhile, Washington will begin 2013 with high expectations after winning seven straight regular season games last fall to finish 10-6 and became champions of the NFC East for the first time since 1999.
If you miss Week 1's Monday night matchup, you can catch the Redskins on "MNF" again in late November, when they'll play host to the San Francisco 49ers.
Here's a look at all the 2013 NFL schedule for all 32 teams, via NFL.com:
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