San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers #17 drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium on December 18, 2011 in San Diego, California.
The NFL released its 2012 schedule Tuesday giving fans their first chance to visualize exactly how the season will look, up until the playoffs of course.
If the Chargers return to the playoffs it will be no easy task given the newly unveiled regular season match ups.
The Chargers begin and end their season against rival Oakland. The schedule is stacked early with division games. Five of their first 10 games are against AFC West opponents.
“The first thing I always look for is our division games – when we play them and the circumstance you’re under," said Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner. "So obviously that game will get the thing started, and it doesn’t get more exciting than playing the Raiders and playing in your division. It’s a great rivalry and it’s a real test when you go on the road for a Monday night game to open the season."
The schedule also features five nationally televised prime time games.
The Chargers will be in Oakland for the second Monday Night Game of the opening weekend double-header on Sept. 10.
They'll travel to New Orleans for their first NBC Sunday Night game on Oct. 7. Eight days later they're back on Monday night for the first prime time game at the Q with Peyton Manning and the Broncos coming to town.
“I think we’ll have a better idea of what they’re going to do. I expect them to be a combination of what they’ve done and what Peyton did in Indianapolis. The key games, the starting point is in your division and in your conference. I think this schedule presents a great opportunity for our team and what we’re going to accomplish” said Turner.
The Chargers one and only Thursday night NFL network game is Nov. 1 at home against the Chiefs. Two days before Christmas the Bolts travel to New York to take on the Jets (will it be against Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, or both?) in another NBC Sunday Night match-up.
“From our team’s standpoint and our fans’ standpoint, I don’t know that you could put together a more exciting schedule when you look at the number of great teams we play and when we play them. It presents some great opportunities for our team," said Turner. "I like the timing of the schedule coming out this week. We start our off-season program on Monday and I think it really gives our guys something to look forward to. It should give our guys great motivation."
For the full list of games and times, visit the Charger's website.