Best games of the 2012 NFL regular season

James Harrison and the Steelers' defense will be ready to meet and greet Peyton Manning on Sept. 9. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Week 1

Pittsburgh at Denver – Peyton Manning, he of multiple neck surgeries, makes his return to football after a year on the sideline against one of the best defenses in football – a defense with a reputation for head-hunting. Roger Goodell can expect a strongly-worded letter from Archie Manning.

Week 2

Detroit at San Francisco – Can Detroit’s high-powered offense solve San Francisco’s defense? Can Jim Schwartz not embarrass himself again if he receives a firm handshake? Tune in to find out!

Week 3

Baltimore at New England – Hey, you guys: Joe Flacco would like credit for how well he played last year in Baltimore’s AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots. Tell him how amazing he is! Tell him he’s the best! You know he is, hater!

Week 4

New Orleans at Green Bay – The plug has been pulled on the Saints’ bounty program, but Aaron Rodgers should still probably check to see if State Farm offers personal injury insurance.

Week 5

Denver at New England – Peyton Manning. Tom Brady. Manning! Brady! MANNING! BRADY! MANNINGBRADY! AAAHHH! AAAAAHHHHHH! AAAAAHHHHHHHH! Set your hype meters to “ASPLODE.”

Week 6

New York Giants at San Francisco – It’s a rematch of the NFC Championship Game. This is the 49ers' chance to get an infinitesimally small measure of revenge.

Week 7

New York Jets at New England – Who knows which Jets quarterback the Patriots will be facing by the time Week 7 rolls around. Either way, the New England defense should expect a relentless attack of passes bouncing into their shins.

Week 8

New Orleans at Denver – This will be the Saints' second game with Joe Vitt at the controls. Intimidating, I know. Peyton Manning and the Broncos have no chance against the strategic genius of this guy.

Week 9

Pittsburgh at New York Giants – It’s a matchup of quarterbacks from the 2004 draft with two Super Bowl rings. It should be a great game. It should also be a great opportunity to try out your best Philip Rivers jokes.

Week 10

Dallas at Philadelphia – Expect the Cowboys to win this big rivalry game. Because it’s played in mid-November. They’ll be peaking.

Week 11

Green Bay at Detroit – Are you a huge Pro Bowl fan? Then you’ll love the lack of defense in this one.

Week 12

Houston at Detroit – This is a good Thanksgiving Day matchup. Just remember to eat before Ndamukong Suh disembowels someone. That way you won’t lose your appetite.

Week 13

Pittsburgh at Baltimore – The first Steelers-Ravens matchup of the season is Week 11. Will each team have enough uninjured and unsuspended players left to actually play this game two weeks later? No, probably not. But if you've never seen 7-on-7 football, it is pretty entertaining.

Week 14

New Orleans at New York Giants – It will be nice for the Saints to take a trip to New York that isn’t to get yelled at by the commissioner.

Week 15

Denver at Baltimore – Flacco vs. Manning. A classic matchup between the best and second-best quarterback of this generation.

Week 16

Atlanta at Detroit – Mike Smith is already drooling over all the fourth-and-shorts he plans to go for against Detroit’s defense.

Week 17

Philadelphia at New York Giants – It’s the final week of the regular season. Only one more week until the Giants really start trying.