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Sunday night continues to be football night


I’ve resisted for more than an hour to celebrate the schedule of Sunday night games on NBC.

I can resist no longer.

Sunday night will once again be football night, with a great slate of NBC games to finish off every Sunday of the regular season, and a couple of other days on the calendar.

It starts Week One, with the Giants hosting the Cowboys to start things off on the evening of September 5.

Four nights later, the Steelers visit the Broncos in Peyton Manning’s first game with an NFL team other than the Colts.

Week Two, the 49ers and coach Jim Harbaugh host the Lions and coach Jim Schwartz. They need to start practicing their handshake.

Week Three, the Ravens host the Patriots. Vince Wilfork will be hoping those rules that protect quarterbacks will protect his quarterback from Terrell Suggs.

Week Four, Giants at Eagles. The Dream Team gets a chance to make a belated statement.

Week Five, Chargers at Saints. Drew Brees gets another shot at the team that gave up on him in 2005. And if he throws a touchdown pass in each of the Saints’ first four games, he would break John Unitas’ record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass against the team for which Unitas played after the Colts gave up on him.

Week Six, Packers at Texans. Potential Super Bowl preview.

Week Seven, Steelers at Bengals. If this one doesn’t sell out in Cincy, none will.

Week Eight, Saints at Broncos against Game 4 of the World Series. Maybe Tracy Porter will intercept Drew Brees and return it for the game-clinching touchdown.

Week Nine, Cowboys at Falcons. America’s Team vs. the Team that Wants to Be America’s Team.

Week 10, Texans at Bears. Two of the best running backs in the NFL square off, if they’re healthy and if Matt Forte is under contract.

Week 11, Ravens at Steelers. The first week of flex scheduling likely won’t result in flexing of the schedule.

Week 12 starts on Thursday, with the Patriots visiting the Jets on Thanksgiving night. Tebow, Brady, Sanchez, and Rex Ryan gnawing on a turkey leg.

Week 12 ends with the Packers visiting the Giants. Many thought this one could start the season.

Week 13, Eagles at Cowboys. Hopefully Tony Romo won’t overthrow Miles Austin if the Cowboys have a chance to knock Philly out of the playoffs.

Week 14, Lions at Packers. Green Bay’s backup quarterback likely won’t be playing this time around.

Week 15, 49ers at Patriots. Best offense vs. best defense from 2011.

Week 16, Chargers at Jets. The only game that at first blush cries out, “Flex me, Mick.” Even if it isn’t, the New York market and a nation settling in the night before the night before Christmas will tune in.

The Sunday night game for Week 17 won’t be determined until Week 17 approaches. It’ll most likely be a game with clear playoff implications regardless of the outcome of the other games -- a playoff play-in game like Cowboys-Giants in 2011 and Rams-Seahawks in 2010.

And it all gets started in fewer than five months. We’ll keep you occupied until then.