The NFL schedule has been released and Commssioner Roger Goodell swears it was more than just a network time filler.

“We’re doing all we can to prepare for the 2011 season,” Goodell said on the NFL Network. “We’re announcing the schedule as usual around this time of year because we know that it is an important point where fans start looking forward to the season and I think there’s every reason for them to do that. We have every intention of playing the full schedule and that’s why we’re releasing it as we normally do.”

At this point, it seems that we’re more likely to see monkeys fly out of the Easter bunny’s hind quarters than an NFL season that isn’t disrupted to some degree by the labor dispute, but let’s dare to believe.

Random observations:

Congress must pass a law mandating that Christmas never fall on a Sunday: Okay, that might not work. So we’ll adjust the body clock for one week with all but one game being played on Christmas Eve Saturday. There’ll be one game on Christmas Day, a “Sunday Night Football” game between the Bears and the Packers in Green Bay. Just what I always wanted. Really.

Hey, they got Halloween off: The Packers play Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Who Dat in the NFL’s season opener!! #awesome #packersless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyClay Matthews III

The Jax Facts: The Jacksonville Jaguars will appear on “Monday Night Football” twice. This seems like a bad idea, which of course means that their games will be two of the best of the “MNF” season.

Jim, say hello to jack: The Detroit Lions return to “Monday Night Football” for the first time in 10 years. Oh, there was an “MNF” game in Detroit last year, but it was because the Metrodome roof collapsed.

“If we play Monday, I’ll say we’re jacked as hell,” Lions Coach Jim Schwartz said.

Oof: The Redskins are on “MNF” once, on “SNF” zero times. If the work stoppage eats part of the season, the NFL might want to rethink that, given that whole Redskins-winning-Super Bowls thing.

Awwwwwkward: San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh faces his brother, Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh, on Turkey Day.

Speaking of brothers...: The Ryans, Rex and Rob, face off in the ”SNF” opener Sept. 11, when Rex’s New York Jets play Rob’s Dallas Cowboys. Rex has already guaranteed a Super Bowl win at least 14 times since the season ended, by the way.

It still counts: The Broncos’ streak of “MNF” appearances — the longest at 20 straight seasons — continues, even though they’ll be appearing in the second game of the Sept. 12 doubleheader against the Raiders.

The Late Show: The New England Patriots have only one 1 p.m. game until the month of December.

Not everyone was happy about the season opener:

Opening up in Houston again,we better be ready this time..they kicked r butts last yearless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet ReplyJim Irsay


Redskins schedule: Mike Jones breaks it down

Release your inner Nostradamus: How will Redskins fare?

Schedules: Have ’em your way