NFL to NFC West: Prime time? You kidding me?

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

DANA POINT, Calif. -- The NFL safely avoided the NFC West in scheduling national prime-time openers and Thanksgiving games announced Monday.

Opening weekend carries an AFL theme with Tennessee, Buffalo, New England, San Diego and Oakland playing, along with the Super Bowl champion Steelers. The Bears and Packers, rivals for the better part of a century, also made the cut.

It's tough to blame the NFL and its TV partners for avoiding the NFC West. The Cardinals are NFC champions. They have marquee players on offense. But their only true two-way rivals are within the division. And we all know about the division.

The NFC South and NFC East were also shut out from national prime-time games in Week 1. The NFC East drew its usual Thanksgiving games involving the Lions and Cowboys.

Sept. 10: Titans at Steelers (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Sept. 13: Bears at Packers (NBC, 8:30)

Sept. 14: Bills at Patriots (ESPN, 7)

Sept. 14: Chargers at Raiders (ESPN, 10:15)

Nov. 26: Packers at Lions (Fox, 12:30)

Nov. 26: Raiders at Cowboys (CBS, 4:15)

Nov. 26: Giants at Broncos (NFL Network, 8:20)