NFL 2012 Schedule: Lions Face Rams In Opening Week

The Detroit Lions have high expectations for the 2012 season, but they should get off to a relatively easy start in Week 1. That's because they'll be opening the season against the St. Louis Rams, owners of a 2-and-14 2011 record and a team that has undergone changes across the coaching staff. Anything can happen in the NFL, of course, but it would be hard for the Lions to have drawn a more pleasing opening day matchup.

That is the case, too, across most of the NFC North. The Chicago Bears, for instance, will host the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1. The Colts are expected to be significantly better this season, but quarterback Andrew Luck will still be starting his first regular season NFL game ever. The Minnesota Vikings will be hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have relegated Maurice Jones-Drew to third-down duty after the back held out for all of camp.

The lone exception is the Green Bay Packers, who will welcome the San Francisco 49ers to Lambeau. It will be a good test for the two teams, both of which have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.

For this week's full slate of games, check out SI.com's weekly schedule.

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