The 2012 NFL schedule has been released, and a multitude of football fans are circling dates on their calendars. Stadium travelers look at the schedules in a search for efficiency, and the chance to see as many games as possible in a short period of time.
We've gone through the 2012 NFL schedule to find some of the best opportunities for weekend getaways based on the line-up of games. Please let us know if you have additional ideas.
Week 1: AFC Rivalry Week
Sunday, September 9th, Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets, MetLife Stadium
Monday, September 10th, Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium
The weather should still be beautiful, so make the 188 mile trip from East Rutherford to Baltimore for two early divisional rivalry games.
Week 2: Southern Football
Sunday, September 16th, New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers, Bank of America Stadium
Monday, September 17th, Denver Broncos @ Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Dome
A chance to see the two hot stories of the NFL off season, as you can see the Sean Payton-less Saints, and Peyton Manning in Broncos gear on the road in Atlanta.
Week 3: Beltway Day
Sunday, September 23rd, Cincinnati Bengals @ Washington Redskins, FedEx Field
Sunday, September 23rd, New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium
Two NFL stadiums in one day, and only 40 miles of driving in between venues. It is the easiest possible one-day doubleheader in the 2012 season.
Week 4: Deep in the Heart of Texas
Sunday, September 30th, Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans, Reliant Stadium
Monday, October 1st, Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys, Cowboys Stadium
Football, like everything else in the Lone Star State, is bigger in Texas. The Titans (Oilers) return to Houston, and then head north to see two iconic NFL franchises.
Week 5: The Big Apple
Sunday, October 7th, Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants, MetLife Stadium
Monday, October 8th, Houston Texans @ New York Jets, MetLife Stadium
Find your tailgating spot and camp out for 48 hours in northern New Jersey. You'll know every blue and green corner of the NFL's newest stadium by the end of the long weekend.
Week 6: October Heat
Sunday, October 14th, Buffalo Bills @ Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium
Monday, October 15th, Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers, Qualcomm Stadium
Weather shouldn't be a problem on this long weekend. It's Peyton Manning's first trip to San Diego since losing the AFC Wild Card game in the 2008 season (January 3, 2009).
Week 7: Triple Header
Sunday, October 21st, Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium
Sunday, October 21st, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium
Monday, October 22nd, Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears, Soldier Field
If you love live NFL football, then this is the trip for you. Start your day in Indy with a 1pm kickoff. After the game, drive 112 miles to Cincinnati. Plenty of time. Monday morning, wake up and drive to Chicago for game #3 on Monday Night Football.
Week 8: Lay on Your Couch
There aren't any ideal doubleheaders this weekend, so just lay on your couch, watch the games, and maybe take a nap.
Week 9: Music Cities
Sunday, November 4th, Chicago Bears @ Tennessee Titans, LP Field
Monday, November 5th, Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome
It's a significant drive between these two musical cities, but certainly manageable. Some football, then some country music, then some football, then some jazz. Doesn't sound too bad...
Week 10: Keystone State
Sunday, November 11th, Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field
Monday, November 12th, Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Field
It's a hefty 300 mile trip from the City of Brotherly Love to the Steel City, but what a great way to see the state!
Week 11: Bay Area
Sunday, November 18th, New Orleans Saints @ Oakland Raiders, O.co Coliseum
Monday, November 19th, Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers, Candlestick Park
A real easy mid-November trip to the Bay Area yields two great football games. The Silver & Black take on the Black & Gold, then memories of the late 1980's come to mind as the Bears visit the Niners, Jim Harbaugh's first game coaching against his old Bears.
Week 12: I'm Thankful for Football
Thursday, November 22nd, Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions, Ford Field
Sunday, November 25th, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Browns Stadium
Hang around the Great Lakes for your Thanksgiving holiday. The traditional early Thanksgiving game in Detroit pits two teams on the rise. Sunday, AFC North rivals collide in Cleveland.
Week 13: Ravens and Redskins in Reverse
Sunday, December 2nd, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium
Monday, December 3rd, New York Giants @ Washington Redskins, FedEx Field
In week 3 you could see these two team son the same day. This is a more relaxed version, with time to have some crab in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, and then sightsee in our Nation's capital.
Week 14: Bundle Up
Sunday, December 9th, St Louis Rams @ Buffalo Bills, Ralph Wilson Stadium
Monday, December 10th, Houston Texans @ New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium
I hope your parka is made from gortex, because this may be a chilly weekend. It's a 460 mile drive from Orchard Park, New York to Foxboro, Massachusetts, so let's hope for clear roads with maybe a hint of global warming.
Week 15: Music Cities Redux
Sunday, December 16th, Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Monday, December 17th, New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans, LP Field
It's our week 9 suggestion in reverse. In this version you get to see the Big Easy on Sunday, then get up early enough to visit the Grand Ole Opry before the last Monday Night Football game of the season.