Packers now seem a lock for Sept. 5 opener

I got too caught up in Wednesday's news to review the mailbag, Twitter mentions and Facebook comments as thoroughly as I would have liked. But I now see that several of you smartly suggested a likely consequence of the NFL's unprecedented discipline of the New Orleans Saints.

Namely: It almost certainly eliminates the Saints as a possibility to oppose the New York Giants in the league's Sept. 5 season opener. And that, of course, would leave the Green Bay Packers as the heavy favorites to fill that role.

The Giants' other home opponents, in addition to the Saints and their NFC East rivals, are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers.

If you're a national marketer, you can see the allure of pitting the two most recent Super Bowl champions in the 2012 season opener. And you can also see why the NFL wouldn't want the Saints' bounty program to be the focus of an annual showcase event.

We typically learn the details of this matchup at the NFL owners meeting, which opens Sunday in Palm Beach, Fla. Stay tuned.