We do know that no conflict exists with baseball's Mariners, and so the Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks will get to be at home for NBC's prime-time Thursday night season-opener against…well that is yet to be determined.
Let's rank the eight potential opponents from most to least enticing.
1. Denver Broncos: How do you not start with a rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII? I know it wasn't a good game, because it wasn't close, but there's no way Peyton Manning lets that happen again. The storylines for this game (Seattle's Super Bowl defense, Denver's redemption) are built in.
2. San Francisco 49ers: A rematch of that thrilling NFC championship game wouldn't be bad either. Plus, this is one of the best rivalries in sports and would almost definitely be a close game. It may be a surprise, but only 2 of 12 Thursday night openers have been divisional matchups.
3. Green Bay Packers: They'd kill in the ratings and might be as strong a challenger as San Fran or Denver. Honestly, any of these first three teams would be gold for NBC and the NFL.
4. Dallas Cowboys: "America's Team" versus the world champs. The storylines would be fun because Dallas is so talented but has been in a rut for so long and the Seahawks are the new kids on the block, relatively speaking. The problem is there's a chance the Seahawks blow them out. If the NFL and NBC are looking for ratings, the Cowyboys are always a great option.
5. Arizona Cardinals: I see no reason why you'd go with Arizona over any of those four teams, but this would be a fun way to try to build another NFC West rivalry. And considering that the Cards are the only team that has beaten the Seahawks in their last 18 home games, they might present a stiff challenge to the champs.
T-6. New York Giants, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders: It'll never happen, unless NBC wants to see a Manning throw more interceptions.
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