London now, China Bowl later

Back when the NFL's founding fathers hatched their plan to take over the free world, they dreamed of a day when TV networks would battle for the rights to host exclusive schedule announcement shows.

For years, teams had released magnetic schedules via bank tellers and other humans. These schedules remained on our refrigerators for several years, in part, because they held down pictures of unknown babies.

Today, ESPN will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the league's schedule release. Never mind that you've known every one of your team's opponents since January.

What we haven't known is when most of these games will take place. And that's what makes today so special -- and slightly disturbing.

Within 10 minutes of finding out your team's schedule today, most of you will have a regular-season record in mind. Here are three questions I'm asking myself about the 2007 schedules:

Does Wembley Stadium have wireless in the press box?

One reason the league had so much success with its inaugural regular-season game on foreign soil was that officials forgot to tell fans the Cardinals and 49ers were playing. This strategy paid off when more than 103,000 fans showed up to see the Cardinals beat the 49ers, 31-14, in Mexico City two years ago.

Within days of announcing that the Dolphins would host the Giants at London's brand-new Wembley Stadium on Oct. 28, the league said that 160,000 people called to request a half-million tickets to the game. The stadium only holds 90,000, so the prospect of finding room for 410,000 more fans seems bleak.

The Giants and Dolphins will both go into their bye weeks after the game, but you should keep a close eye on how a week abroad affects them the rest of the way. Tom Coughlin is a little nutty under perfect conditions. I'm scared to see what jet lag might do to him.

Could this be the best Thanksgiving tripleheader since last season?

Once a year, we gather with family members to remember why it is we don't watch the Lions.
The Packers-Lions game is palatable because nothing else will be vying for our attention.

And as if we're not getting enough family time that day, the league is stuffing Thomas and Julius Jones down our throats for the second Thanksgiving in the past four seasons as the Jets visit the Cowboys. The only problem is that Dallas keeps trying to trade Julius on draft day.

The game of the day begins at 8:15 p.m. ET, when Peyton Manning and the Colts play Michael Vick and the Falcons in Atlanta. By then, we should have a pretty good gauge on how Vick's doing with more play-calling responsibility. And it's probably one of the most entertaining quarterback matchups you'll find.

How will Bill Belichick fare against the NFC East?

The Patriots have to play the Giants and the Cowboys on the road, and will host the Redskins.

Those of us who live in Dallas rarely get to see Tom Brady come through town. And coming off a prolific offseason, Brady should be in top form.

This game should have been on Thanksgiving. But at the time the schedules were being made, the league still thought the Patriots were playing a preseason game in China against the Seahawks. In case you missed it, the preseason game has been postponed until 2009 because the league wants to focus on the aforementioned London trip, and China is really, really far away.

And quite honestly, the China Bowl sounds like something you'd find at an antique shop.

Matt Mosley covers the NFL for ESPN.com. He may be reached at matt.mosley@sbcglobal.net.