The 2012 regular season schedule is not due out until mid-April but this much we know for sure: the Redskins will play at least one Thursday game.
Under the new Thursday Night Football package announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday, every NFL team will play at least one Thursday game in 2012.
The network will carry Thursday night games in Weeks 2-11 and 13-15. NBC will carry the season-opening game in Week 1 on Thursday night and the Thanksgiving day prime time contest in Week 12.
The expansion of the NFL Network package assures that every NFL team will have at least one game in prime time, Goodell said.
“Adding these games to the NFL Network schedule will give more players, teams and cities the prime time stage,” Goodell said. “Our fans can now get an early start on the NFL weekend.”
Next season, the Redskins would play either as part of the Thursday Night Football package on NFL Network or on Thanksgiving, either against the Dallas Cowboys on FOX or as part of the prime time broadcast on NBC.
The Redskins could also be a candidate to play the 2012 Thursday night regular season opener on NBC should the New York Giants win Super Bowl XLVI.
The Redskins have not played a Thursday game in the regular season since 2008, when they opened the NFL regular season against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands.
Goodell discussed the NFL Network package during his annual "State of the NFL" address at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
In addition to the Thursday night package, Goodell was asked about expanding Monday Night Football to a weekly doubleheader.
He replied: “We have to balance the fan interest with the team interest with the ability to try to attract the largest audience. It’s pretty hard to say we haven’t gotten the broadest possible audience right now. We’ll keep finding ways to do it, but I don’t see a doubleheader on Monday night happening.”
Among other topics addressed was the possibility of an 18-game schedule in the future.
Goodell advocated an 18-game schedule during Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations last year, but some members of the NFL Players Associations had reservations, mostly as it related to health and safety.
"We agreed that we would make that decision [on the 18-game schedule] with the players," Goodell said. "We respect their position on it. We listened during the Collective Bargaining process and we made a decision that we would do that collectively."
Goodell also said he expected owners to discuss whether it's appropriate to push back the NFL trading deadline during the regular season.
The trading deadline typically occurs after Week 6 in mid-October, but there has been some discussion that it should be pushed back so that teams that suffer midseason injuries have options.
Said Goodell: "We will look at it...I'm not recommending we make any change, I am recommending that we study it. We'll discuss it after [the NFL competition committee] studies it."