Football is finally back. All the way back -- not just end-of-the-lockout-so-lets-finally-put-on-some-shells-and-pads back. That means our weekly look at the schedule returns as well, with a full slate of 16 games this weekend (assuming you include Thursday as part of your weekend, as I always do).
I'm doing things a little differently this year, thanks to a new, highly scientific formula that equates the overall appeal of each game to a hoagie, one of the greatest in-game food accompaniments ever invented. Games will be rated as either a footlong, a six-inch, a pita or a finger sandwich. Feel free to extrapolate your own meats, cheeses and/or salads (tuna, chicken, etc.) to these imaginary culinary delights.
The beauty of this week is that we get a ton of division rivalry games right from the start. These are games that could go a long way toward settling a division title or become pivotal tiebreakers for possible wild-card spots. One or two might even be conference championship previews.
But heck, above and beyond all of that, we've got bleepin' football back. And after all of the angst of this offseason and the labor woes, there is no better time to celebrate what is truly our national pastime as we also commemorate the lives lost and the bravery displayed on 9/11, 10 years ago.
So we'll start with the premier games of the week -- on paper at least -- and work our way down, and I'll present as compelling a case as possible for why you should tune in.