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Five prime-time games we're aching for

Somewhere inside this newsroom, the 2012 NFL schedule is held under lock and key. We've tried to find it -- no luck. 

Knowing who plays who? That's one thing. The prize comes in finding out where your team opens, who it faces in Week 17, when do key divisional battles fall? And, most critical: Are we on national TV?

NFL Network's expanded Thursday Night lineup means every team will appear in prime time next season. This opens up a world of possibilities.

With that in mind, here's five games we must see under the lights in 2012:

*Panthers at Redskins:*A year ago, this one vibed total snoozefest. Two teams lost at sea. Those days are over. This one offers a likely showdown between the last two Heisman Trophy winners in Carolina's Cam Newton and (barring something wild on draft day) Robert Griffin III. Best move: Roll this one out early and give us a glimpse of the future at quarterback.

*Broncos at Patriots:*Peyton Manning's once-heated rivalry with Tom Brady has taken a backseat to brother Eli, who's burned the Patriots on the biggest stage -- twice. Grand curiosity will follow Peyton and the Broncos all season, but their schedule is a brutal path through an improved AFC West and the NFC South. It won't get any easier against Brady and the Pats.

*Giants at 49ers:*Total no-brainer. An NFC Championship rematch and very possibly a preview of next season's conference playoffs. Jim Harbaugh -- bank on this -- is seething in some basement somewhere. His team was within minutes of Super Bowl XLVI. The mood is revenge.

*Patriots at Jets:*Bill Belichick vs. Rex Ryan. Tom Brady vs. Mark Sanchez. Brady vs. Tim Tebow. Sanchez vs. Tebow. High drama at MetLife. Certain to help decide the AFC East. Sign us up.

*Steelers at Ravens:* Has Baltimore-Pittsburgh become the finest rivalry in football? It's in the mix. The Ravens shed ghosts in 2011, ripping the Steelers 35-7 at home in Week 1 before taking a close one at Heinz Field in Week 9. Detractors point to aging players on both rosters, but until someone else steps up in the AFC North, this twice-a-season grudge bout will decide the division.

Don't see your team above? Argue your case below.

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