With great fanfare, the 2012 NFL schedule was announced on Tuesday. While I didn’t watch the three-hour spectacular — I was preoccupied with the Stanley Cup playoffs — I bet millions and millions of NFL fans were thrilled to start making their plans for the season.
What always piques my interest are the prime-time schedules to see what games are appointment TV, and what ones are best to avoid.
Here are my picks for games to watch.
u Dallas at N.Y. Giants, Sept. 5, NBC — The Giants open defense of their Super Bowl title against one of their most hated rivals. Enough said.
u Pittsburgh at Denver, Sept. 9, NBC — Peyton Manning makes his Broncos debut.
u Chicago at Green Bay, Sept. 13, NFL Network — The first game of NFL Network’s expanded Thursday night schedule has two bitter NFC North rivals battling. Maybe NFL Network will be on Time Warner Cable by then. I’m not counting on that, though.
u New England at Baltimore, Sept. 23, NBC — Rematch of the AFC championship game. Maybe Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff will make up for his missed field goal that would have sent the title game to overtime.
u N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, Sept. 30, NBC — Hopefully, my Eagles will manhandle the Giants.
u Houston at N.Y. Jets, Oct. 8, ESPN — Will Tim Tebow be the Jets’ new starting quarterback by this time? I bet Mark Sanchez hopes not.
u Detroit at Chicago, Oct. 22, ESPN — The Lions are on the rise.
u Baltimore at Pittsburgh, Nov. 18, NBC — These two AFC North rivals hate each other, and the games are always gripping. This game falls into the flex schedule, but look for NBC to keep this game on its schedule.
u New England at N.Y. Jets, Nov. 22, NBC — A great way to cap off Thanksgiving Day with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady against Sanchez or Tebow.
u Philadelphia at Dallas, Dec. 2, NBC — The Eagles dominated the Cowboys last year. Hopefully, they will do it again.
u N.Y. Giants at Washington, Dec. 3, ESPN — Will Heisman
Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III be leading the Redskins in this game? And how will the Giants defend him?
And now, here are some prime-time games to avoid.
u Cincinnati at Baltimore and San Diego at Oakland, Sept. 10, ESPN — I don’t know, but for some reason, this “Monday Night Football” season-opening double-header doesn’t excite me.
u Arizona at St. Louis, Oct. 4, NFL Network — This game will be a snooze-fest.
u Tampa Bay at Minnesota, Oct. 25, NFL Network — This game could be an example as to why there may be too much football on TV. Not an appealing contest to me.
u Kansas City at Pittsburgh, Nov. 12, ESPN — Die-hard Steelers fans may be the only ones watching.
The NFL draft, spread out over three days, starts Thursday night at 8 p.m. with the first round.
Rounds 2 and 3 will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, and the final four rounds are next Saturday starting at noon.
The draft will be televised by ESPN, ESPN HD, NFL Network and NFL Network HD.
ESPN Radio 104.5 The Team (WTMM) will have coverage of the first round.
big lacrosse day
There are eight college lacrosse games on TV today, six men’s contests and two women’s matchups.
Two of the men’s games involve Capital Region teams. Time Warner Cable Sports-3 and TWCS-3 HD have Siena’s MAAC match against Marist at 1 p.m. At the same time on TWCS-1, it’s a Liberty League game between Skidmore and Rochester Institute of Technology.
Syracuse is in one of two games that will be on ESPNU and ESPNU HD. The Orange host Georgetown at 3. That will be followed by Notre Dame at Villanova at 5:30.
The other men’s game has Johns Hopkins at Navy at noon on CBS Sports Network and CBSSN HD.
The two women’s contests are Notre Dame at Georgetown at 2:30 on CBSSN and CBSSN HD, and Florida at Northwestern at 5 on Big Ten Network and BTN HD.
The New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox rivalry gets the usual
national TV treatment this weekend. FOX Sports (FOX23 and FOX23 HD) have today’s game at 4. ESPN and ESPN HD has the Sunday night contest at 8. . . .
CW15 and CW15 HD televise their first New York Mets’ games of the regular season today and Sunday at 1. The Mets face the San Francisco Giants. . . .
TBS and TBS HD’s Sunday afternoon baseball game features the Texas Rangers at the Detroit Tigers at 1. . . .
The Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel HD will have the United States-Ukraine Fed Cup 2013 qualifier matches this weekend. Singles matches are today starting at noon. Reverse singles matches and the doubles match are Sunday beginning at 10:30 a.m. . . .
The FOX Sports media group will televise nine English Premier League Soccer matches on the final day of the season May 13 on its various sports channels.