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Three season openers I'd like to see

4/16/2012

The NFL will release its much-anticipated 2012 regular-season schedule Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. The league didn't ask for my opinion while making the schedule. But if the NFL did ask, here are three Week 1 openers I would recommend:

Opener No. 1: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

Why: This rekindles the Hall of Fame rivalry between quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. The Broncos and Manning will get a stern test right away to see where they stand against the reigning AFC champs. Manning is 5-8 all-time against Brady. This game will most likely be on prime-time television. So why not do it in Week 1?

Opener No. 2: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

Why: The Jets say they are over last season. So why not return to the site where everything imploded to see how much progress New York really made? There are plenty of interesting subplots in this game. This is Jets quarterback Tim Tebow's first game with New York, as well as the debut for rookie head coach Joe Philbin in Miami. Philbin replaced Tony Sparano, who will make his return to Sun Life Stadium as offensive coordinator of the Jets.

Opener No. 3: Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans

Why: Defensive end Mario Williams could make his Bills debut where it all started. The former No. 1 overall pick of the Texans would return to Houston to play against his former team. There would be no lack of motivation from either side. The Texans are a title contender in the AFC and want to prove they are fine without Williams, while upstart Buffalo is trying to take the next step. It's a good measuring stick for the underdog Bills and a way to get the Texans game out of the way early for Williams.

The chances of all three of these openers happening at once are slim. But I'd happily take one of these Week 1 showdowns in the AFC East.

We will have plenty more on the 2012 schedule release later this evening.