Although the NFL labor situation is up in the air, NFL fans have a few things to get excited about.
First, the 2011 NFL Draft begins next Thursday.
Second, the 2011 NFL schedule was released Tuesday night and is chalked full of intriguing primetime matchups.
These are the top 10 games in 2011 that every football fan must see. Circle them on your calendar now.
The Steelers and Ravens will collide in Week 9, a re-match of the divisional playoff game from last season. Two of the NFL's top defenses will surely make this one of the hardest-fought games of the 2011 season.
The two teams have split their season matchups in each of the last two seasons.
NBC appears to be hogging all of the elite matchups this season, and their Week 4 game is no exception.
After their Week 1 Monday Night matchup from last season (which resulted in a 10-9 Baltimore win), these two hard-nosed teams will battle in what could be another low scoring game.
This matchup featuring Peyton Manning vs. Troy Polamalu is especially intriguing for any NFL fan.
The Colts won the last matchup between these two teams in 2008, but their 2005 epic playoff battle still stings in the hearts of Colts fans across the country.
Given two of the best two-minute QBs in the league, this game has down-to-the-wire potential.
This game is especially intriguing, because it will likely play a large role in deciding the NFC East champion.
The two teams split their season matchups in 2010, but the Giants won their three previous meetings.
Michael Vick's second return to Atlanta (first as a starter) will certainly draw a big audience. Not only for obvious reasons, but this game features two young and exciting teams.
This game will be jam-packed full of fantasy football relevance.
Rex Ryan will draw all the attention to this game, and for good reason. The Jets/Patriots rivalry has become a good one, and this midseason battle on Sunday Night Football could have division title implications.
The NFL's two biggest stars—Peyton Manning and Tom Brady—will square off in this late-season matchup that will almost certainly affect playoff seeding.
Brady got the best of Manning in 2010, but the Colts have won four of the last six regular season matchups.
In what figures to be one of the most anticipated games of the 2011 season, a long-time rivalry will be renewed when the Bears visit the Packers at Lambeau Field on Christmas Night.
Of course, Green Bay beat Chicago when it counted last season, but the Packers have also won four of the last five regular season matchups against Da Bears.
Screw my presents; all I want for Christmas is to see Jay Cutler lose his two front teeth!
This game is the No. 1 matchup on my calendar for two reasons.
First, because it involved the last two Super Bowl winners.
Second, because if it's played, that means the lockout is no more, and a full season of pro football will ensue.
What more could a fan ask for?