Don't expect an AFC North team in opener

February, 29, 2012
2/29/12
9:30
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The NFL will kick off its season on Wednesday, Sept. 5 instead of the traditional Thursday night start to avoid a conflict with a scheduled speech by President Barack Obama on Sept. 6 during the Democratic National Convention.

The league has yet to announce which team will play at the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, but don't expect an AFC North team to be the opponent.

The two AFC North teams that will play at the Giants this season are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. While the Steelers would receive strong consideration most years, there is a matchup that the NFL wants to see more.

My guess is that the Green Bay Packers will play the Giants. It would match the past two Super Bowl champions as well as the reigning Most Valuable Player (Aaron Rodgers) against the current Super Bowl MVP (Eli Manning).

The Giants also host the New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The NFL could announce the Giants' opponent at the owners meetings in late March.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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