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2012 NFL Schedule has plenty for fans to look forward to

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NFL Football

With all the things that have already happened in this offseason in the NFL, it feels like the season never really ended. Between free agency, all the mock drafts, Peyton Manning going to the Broncos and the Saints scandal, football has never left the headlines.

Now the league has made more headlines after releasing the 2012 schedule of games and NFL fans have begun to drool at some of the match-ups. Here are some of the highlights of the 2012 NFL Schedule:

Defending Champs

One of the hardest things to do in sports is win a championship in consecutive years, but that is the task of the New York Giants this season. The Super Bowl champions will not have an easy road back to the big game because, based on the records of the 2012 opponents from last season, the G-Men will have the toughest schedule in the league. They get right down to it, too, when they host division rival Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, September 5, in the NFL season opener. Tough games against teams like the 49ers, Steelers, Saints and Ravens all await the Giants in 2012.

Turkey Day

For many people in the U.S., Thanksgiving is about three things: family, turkey, and football. Every year the NFL schedules a slate of games for Turkey Day and this year will feature some great games. The Detroit Lions will continue their tradition of playing on Thanksgiving and face the Houston Texans, who many believe could be a favorite to go to the Super Bowl. Following that, there will be a late afternoon game between the Dallas Cowboys and their NFC East rival, the Washington Redskins. But perhaps the most talked about game this Thanksgiving will be the prime-time match-up between bitter rivals New England Patriots and New York Jets.

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Super Bowl XLVI: The thing between all the great commercials

When the New England Patriots and New York Giants meet each other for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, the world will be watching. Last year saw a record 111 million viewers tune in to the game between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, and many people think that number will be eclipsed this Sunday. Undoubtedly, the most asked question one week from today will be, "Did you see that game last night?!?"

For a lucky few, the answer to that question will be, "Yeah, I was there!"

Lucas Oil Stadium will be expanded to hold 68,000 for the Super Bowl (it normally seats 63,000 fans for Colts games) with most of the additional seating being for fans that won't really have a seat -- a.k.a. standing-room only. Even with the additional capacity, this year's game will have the lowest attendance of any Super Bowl venue of the last five years (see below), not because of a lack of interest, but because the stadium is just smaller. That means that tickets for the game are tougher to come by than in previous years.

Super Bowl Attendance

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