NFL Network on Tuesday announced its expanded 13-game, regular-season, prime-time "Thursday Night Football" schedule, which kicks off in Week 2 (Sept. 13) and features nine 2011 playoff teams, including six that won division crowns and both NFC Championship Game opponents (New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers). Game times for the contests are 8 p.m. ET.
Among the highlights of NFL Network's 2012 schedule:
• No. 1 drafted quarterbacks face off in Week 3 -- the Giants' Eli Manning (two-time Super Bowl MVP) and Carolina's Cam Newton (2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year).
• Peyton Manning's first start as Broncos QB at Oakland's "Black Hole."
• Indianapolis and its new No. 1 overall draft pick at Jacksonville.
• New Orleans visits Atlanta in a meeting of clubs that have won the past three NFC South titles.
• Nine divisional matchups.
The critically acclaimed "Thursday Night Football" broadcast team returns, featuring Emmy-nominated game analyst Mike Mayock, play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler and sideline reporter Alex Flanagan.
NFL Network's 2012 "Thursday Night Football" schedule
Week 2: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 8
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Week 3: Thursday, Sept. 20 at 8
New York Giants at Carolina Panthers
Week 7: Thursday, Oct. 18 at 8
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers