The NFL regular season schedule is here! Football fans rejoice! Sure, we knew what the actual matchups were going to be months ago, but now we can take out our pens and write the games on our calendars. (I am actually going to go do this right now. Next to each game, I will draw a little football and a smiley face.)
One new thing we learned is who’s playing on prime time television. In particular, we learned who’s going to play on MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL! Monday Night Football is, and will always be, somehow more special and important than other prime time games. When the workweek starts, we at least know that we have something to look forward to Monday night. So, without further ado, here are your Monday Night Football game rankings. Mark these ones down on your calendar, ladies and gents; some of them should be pretty darn good.
17. Chiefs @ Steelers (Week 10)
This will be a fun game for Steelers fans who will cheer and wave their Terrible Towels with excitement at Heinz Field while they watch their team crush the Chiefs, who went 7-9 last year and were ranked 27th
in total offense.
16. Chargers @ Raiders (Week 1)
On the East Coast, this game starts at 10:15pm. I guess the schedule makers decided that only people who live in California would really want to watch this one. They are right.
15. Giants @ Redskins (Week 13)
It’s Week 13—we’ve all seen RG3 play, so the excitement of seeing how well he’ll perform is gone. The Redskins will have no chance at the postseason and they’re completely overmatched by the reigning Super Bowl Champs. Expect a blowout.
14. Jets @ Titans (Week 15)
Is Tebow starting for the Jets by Week 15? Do they have playoff hopes? What about the Titans? How’s Chris Johnson doing this year? Is he the exciting CJ2K version from two years ago or the less exciting RB we saw in 2011? Does Tennessee have any chance of making the playoffs? There are definitely too many questions here to deem this late season game a must-watch.
13. Bears @ Cowboys (Week 4)
Tune in to watch a close game in which Tony Romo throws a pick six on the Cowboys’ final drive. Actually, if I thought this one was going to be that exciting it’d be a lot higher on this list. The NFL needs either the Bears or Cowboys to be undefeated or winless going into the game to really entice casual fans to watch.
12. Broncos @ Chargers (Week 6)
By Week 6 we’ll know all we need to know about the return of Peyton Manning. The Chargers will still be the Chargers (i.e. decent, but not really going anywhere). A big game for the AFC West. An average game for football fans everywhere.
11. 49ers @ Cardinals(Week 8)
Had the Cardinals succeeded in landing Peyton Manning, this game would be ranked in the top five. They didn’t. So we’re left with the league’s best defense against Kevin Kolb and Beanie Wells (who actually will probably be hurt by this point in the season). Arizona still has a chance since they’re home, but the odds aren’t in their favor.
10. Eagles @ Saints(Week 9)
“This should be a competitive game with lots of scoring; why isn’t it higher on this list, Jeff?” Thank you for asking, Make-Believe Person. It’s because I’m tired of hearing about the Saints and, after this whole bounty business, not particularly excited to watch any of their games. That entire team is a mess and who knows where they’ll be midway through the season.
9. Bears @ 49ers (Week 11)
Both the Bears and 49ers will be in the mix in the ultra-competitive NFC. We’re starting to get to the really good games now!
8. Lions @ Bears (Week 7)
Who’s the second best team in the NFC North? Either of these clubs could make the postseason, but I’d be surprised if they both made it.
7. Panthers @ Eagles (Week 12)
This game will be fun, fun, fun! You’ve got two of the more exciting offenses in football led by the league’s most athletic quarterbacks. Expect points galore.
6. Texans @ Jets (Week 5)
The Texans take a trip to the circus Week 5. There will be clowns and acrobats and even Tim Tebow. The Jets have the pieces to be a playoff team. We’ll have to see whether or not those pieces fit together nicely.
5. Broncos @ Falcons (Week 2)
Two prime time games for Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the first two weeks of the season—I’m shocked! Actually, I’m not at all shocked. (I was being sarcastic.) After this one, we’ll have a pretty good barometer of how Denver will fair against a brutal schedule.
4. Packers @ Seahawks (Week 3)
Matt Flynn vs. Aaron Rodgers on Monday Night Football! You’d have to be a crazy person not to tune in! Throw in Marshawn Lynch and the fact that this is a Seahawks’ home game and the Packers might be getting their first loss of the season a lot earlier than they did in 2011.
3. Bengals @ Ravens (Week 1)
No Ravens vs. Steelers Monday Night Football? I suppose Bengals @ Ravens will have to do. The Bengals have a young, talented team on both sides of the ball. The Ravens played in the AFC Championship Game last season. Add in the excitement of the start of the NFL Season and you’ve got a must-watch game filled with hard-hitting excitement.
2. Falcons @ Lions (Week 16)
With the Saints in disarray, the Falcons look like the favorite to win the NFC South. The Lions have an electric offense and the best wide receiver in the game. They’ll be heading into this MNF battle coming off of two tough road games (against the Packers and Cardinals). This could definitely be a must-win for them.
1. Texans @ Patriots (Week 14)
The Patriots went 13-3 last year and that was with their defense stinking more than the Jersey turnpike when you’re near Newark Airport. The Texans could’ve had the best team in the AFC, but they were attacked by a swarm injury bugs. (They are nasty, nasty bugs—similar to bed bugs). This year both teams will be even better. In fact, these are the two best teams in the AFC and this game will be one of the biggest of the season. Expect lots of scoring and huge playoff implications. If the Texans can win in Foxboro, they’ll be the AFC favorite to get to the Super Bowl. Because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, that’s a big if