The 2011 NFL schedule has been released, and there are plenty of intriguing matchups among the 256 games that kick off on Thursday, Sept. 8 with a meeting of the last two Super Bowl champions. The Saints visit the Packers to kick off the Week One slate.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the NFL has the Giants traveling to FedEx Field to face the Redskins, bringing together New York and Washington, D.C. fans who each were hit close to home by the 9/11 attacks. That evening, New York gets to host a game and honor those who were lost, as the Jets host the Cowboys at New Meadowlands Stadium.
Other noteworthy games include the Eagles at Falcons in Week Two (Michael Vick's return to Atlanta), Packers at Bears in Week Three and the re-match in Green Bay in Week 16 (a re-match of NFC Championship), Jets at Patriots in Week Five and the re-match in New York in Week 10, and 49ers at Ravens on Thanksgiving night, a matchup of brothers John and Jim Harbaugh.
Thirteen of the 16 games in Week 16 will be played on Dec. 24; the exceptions are Texans at Colts on Thursday, Dec. 22, Bears at Packers on Christmas night and Falcons at Saints on Monday, Dec. 26.
For the second consecutive year, Week 17 is filled entirely with intradivisional matchups.
All the games being played are dependent on a resolution to the league's current labor dispute.