The NFL announced today its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2010, which kicks off on Thursday night, September 9 in New Orleans and concludes on Sunday, January 2, with 16 division games.
The season begins with the NFL’s annual Thursday primetime kickoff game. This year the opener on September 9 on NBC (8:30 PM ET) features the Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints at home against the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings in a rematch of last season’s memorable NFC Championship Game. In a format introduced in 2004, the Super Bowl champion annually hosts the NFL Thursday night season kickoff.
NBC will carry two primetime games on Kickoff Weekend (Thursday and Sunday nights) for a season total of 18 primetime games (the opening Thursday night kickoff and 17 Sunday Night Football games). The Sunday night Kickoff Weekend game will feature an NFC East showdown when the Dallas Cowboys visit the Washington Redskins.
Among the Kickoff Weekend highlights are the debuts of two venues. The new Meadowlands Stadium will host two games on Kickoff Weekend, including one in primetime. On Sunday, September 12, the New York Giants will face the Carolina Panthers (1:00 PM ET, FOX) in the first regular-season game at the stadium. A day later, the New York Jets will meet the Baltimore Ravens in the first nationally televised Monday Night Football game (7:00 PM ET, ESPN) of the season. The second contest of ESPN’s opening weekend doubleheader will feature the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the San Diego Chargers, showcasing the unique renovation of one of the NFL’s iconic venues – Arrowhead Stadium (10:15 PM ET, ESPN). For the remainder of the season, ESPN will televise one Monday night game for the next 15 weeks. There will be no Monday night game on the final regular-season weekend (Week 17), enhancing the ability to schedule the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.
The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, January 2. All 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests. In the final three weeks, there will be a total of 28 division matchups, up from 15 division games in the final three weeks of 2009, to enhance the potential for more games at the end of the season with playoff ramifications.
The 2010 season will come to a close on Sunday, February 6, 2011, when the NFL will crown a champion at Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in North Texas.
Up next is the NFL Draft on Thursday Evening. Have you entered your guess in our Tim Tebow Contest yet? If not, click the link below to guess where and by who Tim Tebow will be selected in the 2010 NFL Draft for a chance to win a great prize pack: