The first Sunday of the NFL season falls on Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Fans from the two cities will come together that afternoon at FedEx Field, as the Washington Redskins and New York Giants will open the season with a contest sure to draw plenty of national – even international – attention.
That high-profile opening matchup is only the beginning for the Redskins, who now know their path to what they hope will be a bounceback season after the NFL announced its schedule Tuesday night. The caveat, of course, is that it remains unclear whether that emotionally charged Sept. 11 opener, or any of the other games on any team's schedule, will take place. The NFL will have to resolve its labor problems before anyone can be certain how the season will actually play out.
Other marquee dates on the Redskins' schedule include a Monday Night Football trip to Dallas on Sept. 26, an Oct. 30 game against the Bills in Toronto, a Christmas Eve home game against the Vikings and a New Year's Day season finale at the Eagles.
Following the opener against the Giants, the Redskins will stay at home to host the Cardinals on Sept. 18, then head to Dallas on the first road trip, facing the Cowboys on Monday night. They'll travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams Oct. 2 before taking an early breather with a bye week.
Washington gets back into action Oct. 16 at home against the Eagles, then travels to Carolina on Oct. 23 before heading north of the border to Toronto for the Bills game the day before Halloween.
The Redskins are back home Nov. 6 against the 49ers, then travel to meet the Dolphins Nov. 13, return home to face the Cowboys on Nov. 20 and hit the road Thanksgiving weekend to play at Seattle that Sunday, Nov. 27.
December opens with a home game against the Jets (Dec. 4), then host the Patriots the following Sunday, Dec. 11. The Redskins make a return visit to the Giants on Dec. 18, then close out the holidays at home against the Vikings on Saturday the 24th and at Philadelphia on Jan. 1, 2012.
Of the 10 games the Redskins will play against non-division opponents, eight will be new matchups from last season. The only repeat opponents from the 2010 slate are the Rams and Vikings. Washington lost to both of them last fall – 30-16 at St. Louis and 17-13 to Minnesota at home.
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Marc Lancaster has covered Major League Baseball for the Tampa Tribune and the Cincinnati Post and served as an editor at FanHouse.com and SportsIllustrated.com. A University of Georgia graduate, he began his career as a sportswriter at the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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