The action starts on Thursday night, August 23, when the Arizona Cardinals visit the Tennessee Titans at LP Field (8:00 PM ET, ESPN). On Friday, CBS will bring NFL fans a matchup between the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and the Chicago Bears from MetLife Stadium (8:00 PM ET).
Indianapolis will visit Washington for a Saturday afternoon contest (4:00 PM, NFLN) featuring rookie quarterbacks ANDREW LUCK (No. 1 overall) of the Colts and ROBERT GRIFFIN III (No. 2) of the Redskins, the fifth pair of quarterbacks to be selected No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the same year since the common draft was instituted in 1967. The New Orleans Saints will host the Houston Texans on Saturday night (8:00 PM ET, CBS) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
And the week concludes with back-to-back nationally-televised games on Sunday, as Denver hosts San Francisco (4:00 PM ET, FOX) and Carolina travels to New York to face the Jets (8:00 PM ET, NBC).
August 23-26 — Third Preseason Weekend.
August 27 — Clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 75 players on Active List prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.
August 29-30 — Fourth Preseason Weekend.
August 31 — Roster cut-down to maximum of 53 players on Active/Inactive List prior to 9:00 p.m., New York time. Clubs may dress minimum of 43 and maximum of 46 players for each regular season and postseason game.
September 1 — Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time.
September 1 — Beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player Active List for less than nine regular season games during each of any Accrued Seasons. A player cannot participate on the Practice Squad for more than three seasons.
September 4 — Deadline at 4:00 p.m., New York time, for all NFL Player Contracts, Practice Player Contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each club’s 2012 Salary Cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule.
September 5 — At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL Clubs.
September 5 — Deadline for Clubs to submit written request to receive up to $1.5 million in additional Salary Cap Room for the 2012 League Year, in accordance with CBA Article 11, Section 5(e)(ii).
September 5, 9-10 — Regular Season opens.
September 25 — Priority on multiple waiver claims is now based on the current season’s standing.
October 15-16 — NFL Fall League Meeting, Chicago, Illinois.
October 16 — Beginning the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the ninth regular season weekend, clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period.
October 16 — All trading ends at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
October 17 — Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.
November 13 — Signing period ends at 4:00 p.m., New York time, for Franchise Players who are eligible to receive Offer Sheets.
November 13 — Deadline for Clubs to sign prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, their unsigned Franchise Players, including Franchise Players who were eligible to receive Offer Sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2012.
November 13 — Deadline for Clubs to sign prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, their Unrestricted Free Agents to whom tender was made on June 1. If still unsigned after this deadline, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2012.
November 13 — Deadline for Clubs to sign prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, their Restricted Free Agents including those to whom tender was made on August 25. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2012.
November 13 — Deadline for Clubs to sign Drafted players prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2012.
December 30 — Week 17.
December 31 — Clubs may begin signing free agent players for the 2013 season.
January 5-6 — Wild Card Playoff Games.
January 12-13 — Divisional Playoff Games.
January 20 — AFC and NFC Championship Games.
January 27 — AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii.
February 3 — Super Bowl XLVII, Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana.