The NFL released its 2014 schedule last week and the season is filled with games of intrigue and bad-blood.
Scout look at which five games are the must-watch, with Week One featuring a couple of juicy matchups.
Green Bay at Seattle (Thursday, 9/4)
When these two teams met on a Monday night in September 2012, Russell Wilson was still a green rookie who was flustered much of the evening by the Packers. Then with one flick of the wrist, one very controversial catch (interception?), he cemented himself as a Seahawk hero. Seattle won, Green Bay lost, regular officials won, replacement officials lost and NFL fans won. Now the defending Super Bowl Champs host the Packers on a Thursday night to start their title defense and the 2014 season.
Indianapolis at Denver (Sunday, 9/7)
This game features Peyton Manning against Andrew Luck, the Colt legend-turned-Bronco against the rising Colt signal-caller, the past (or present) against the future (or present). The Broncos are trying to wash the taste of the Super Bowl out of their mouths while the Colts are trying to get over the hump and get closer to their first Super Bowl since 2010 and their first trip to the conference finals under Luck. A win in the opener would go a long way.
Washington at Philadelphia (Sunday, 9/21)
It will be the first game in Philadelphia for new Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson, who played the last six seasons in the City of Brotherly Love. There was plenty of acrimony and controversy in Jackson's departure from Philly, and the Eagles reasons for releasing him, but now the game will be on the field. Jackson has a history of being, shall we say, flamboyant, when making a big play. Eagle fans have a history of being, shall we say, unfriendly, to opponents. This will be a match made in hostility heaven.
Denver vs. Seattle (Sunday, 9/21)
The last time we saw Denver, they were being ran over by Seattle in the Super Bowl. And so badly, that the Broncos went to work in the offseason to insure their defense was even stronger, signing DeMarcus Ware and T.J. Ward among others. The Seahawks were hit hard by free agency, but they're still the hardest hitting team in the NFL, and thanks to Richard Sherman, there is a very good chance there will be bulletin board material all week about the Broncos' meager effort back in February.
Seattle at San Francisco (Thursday, 11/27)
What are NFL fans thankful for? The opportunity to end Thanksgiving Day by watching Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree willingly and gratefully grace the same side of the field for three hours. The Seahawks ended the Niners chances at consecutive Super Bowls in the final minute, when Sherman, who was covering Crabtree, deflected a Colin Kaepernick pass in the end zone to Malcolm Smith's awaiting hands, the interception sealing the 'Hawks trip to the Super Bowl. While it was a terrific and memorable play, it was what happened after the play, and the game, when Sherman "conversed" with Crabtree about the play, then told FOX's Erin Andrews after the game, and the rest of the country, what he thought about Crabtree, that ramped up this budding rivalry even more than it already is. San Francisco will return to Seattle in December, but this will be their first game against each other, and in the 49ers new digs at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara.
We're thankful for the NFL scheduling crew.