The 2016 NFL schedule is now available! The schedule, which was not supposed to be released until next Thursday, was instead released this evening with a whole slew of surprises, big games and monster primetime match-ups.
From the national perspective, the NFL hits a monster homerun with its top two primetime games in week 1, the Panthers will visit the Broncos in a Super Bowl rematch on the opening Thursday night. Meanwhile the Patriots will visit the Cardinals on Sunday night football.
The NFL did drop the ball a bit by having Rams and 49ers in San Francisco rather than in Los Angeles in Week 1 on Monday Night Football, but there is a chance the reason the Rams didn't get a single primetime home game had a lot to do with the team playing in a college stadium.
As far as the local teams, the Jets will open the season at home for the seventh straight season, and for the second straight year it will be against a AFC North opponent from Ohio. No not the Browns, but the Cincinnati Bengals. Will be a fascinating game. The Bengals are still in search of that first playoff win, and need to get off to a good start in 2016. The Jets have been a team in total flux this off-season, and who knows who their quarterback will be by Week 1.
The Giants on the other hand have get the short end of the stick again in Week 1. Not only will they open on the road for the fourth consecutive year, but they will face the Cowboys in Dallas for the second straight season. While this game won't be on Sunday night, it will be the headline game on Fox at 4:25 p.m. in Week 1. This is the fourth time in the past five seasons, dating back to 2012, that the Giants and Boys open the season against one another. Three of those match-ups now, 2013, 2015 and 2016 have been in Dallas.
Both New York teams get a total of five primetime games.
The Giants first primetime match-up is in Minnesota in Week 4 on Monday night football. The following week they visit Green Bay on Sunday night. Big Blue will host the Bengals on Monday night football in Week 10, and the Cowboys on Sunday night football in Week 14. Their final primetime game will be in Philadelphia on a Thursday night in Week 16, which is also on NBC. The Giants also face the Rams in London in Week 7.
The Jets will play six games on the road in nine weeks, certainly a very difficult stretch.