Boy, oh boy, what a great late of games NFL fans get this week!
There’s a game between the two top NFC teams, as well as one of the best AFC teams. The latter is another edition of arguably the greatest individual rivalry in NFL history. The Sunday night game is a top notch, physical rivalry, the Monday night game is intriguing, and the Thursday night game was a battle for the top of the beleaguered NFC South.
There are a few duds on the schedule as well, but the slate is top heavy. This is one of the best slates of the entire season thus far, no question. So, without further ado, let’s get this countdown underway.
12) New York Jets (1-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) (Noon, CBS)
The Jets suck. The Chiefs are on a roll. This one is worth watching only if you love bloodbaths.
11) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1) (Noon, CBS)
The number eleven game of the week is the one taking place in Cincinnati. THe Jaguars have been decent of late, but the Bengals are straight up better, at quarterback, running back, and receivers, as well as defensively, and on the offensive line. The Jaguars do have some exciting players, such as Denard Robinson, quarterback Blake Bortles, and receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. But, with AJ Green returning for Cincinnati, this could get one-sided quickly.
10) Oakland Raiders (0-7) at Seattle Seahawks (4-3) (4:25/3:25, CBS)
At number ten, we have what should be a blowout. The defending champions are taking on the league’s lone winless team, in the loudest and most formidable stadium in the league. This one should be a guaranteed blowout, right?
Well, I’m not buying it. The Raiders are not as bad as their record, and the champs have not been to great this year. I expect this game to be surprisingly close, since the Seahawks haven’t blown anyone out since Week 1, and feel that it is worthy of cracking the top ten of this list.
9) St. Louis Rams (2-5) at San Francisco 49ers (4-3) (4:05/3:05c, FOX)
Barely cracking the top ten is the lone NFC divisional game of the day. The Rams got blown out at Kansas City last week, and are facing a 49ers team that is angry, and is coming off a bye. This should be a blowout.
8) Washington Redskins (3-5) at Minnesota Vikings (3-5) (Noon, FOX)
THe game in Minneapolis is worth watching for several reasons. For one, Robert Griffin III returns from injury. His team has won two straight, and the Vikings have been solid of late, as well. I believe this game will be a close one, that will go down to the wire. There’s always one game every week that is surprisingly good, and this is my pick for Week 9.
7) San Diego Chargers (5-3) at Miami Dolphins (4-3) (Noon, CBS)
At number seven, there’s the highest ranked early game on CBS. On what is an otherwise dreadful slate, the Chargers/Dolphins game is chock full of intrigue. The Chargers are coming off a pair of divisional losses against Kansas City, and then at Denver last Thursday.
Now, they face a Dolphins team that has won three of four, with the lone loss coming in the final minute against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Ryan Tannehill is playing well at quarterback, Lamar Miller is finally living up to expectations at running back, and the defense is amongst the most opportunistic in the league.
On the Chargers side,Philip Rivers is looking better than ever, the defense is playing pretty well, and Antonio Gates is back to vintage form. This should be a very interesting game to watch, and anything can happen.
6) New Orleans Saints (3-4) at Carolina Panthers (3-4-1) (Thursday Night Football, 8:30/7:30c, NFL Network)
Why is a game that give the winner the top spot in the NFC South ranked outside of the top five? Well, both teams have losing records. Also, the Panthers look down and out. But, the Saints are on a rise. It is also the first game of the week, and gives fans a chance to find out if the Saints truly have righted the ship after last Sunday’s 44-23 throttling of the Green Bay Packers. The game should be an interesting one.
5) Indianapolis Colts (5-3) at New York Giants (3-4) (Monday Night Football, 8:30/7:30c, ESPN)
There’s a simple reason why this game cracks the top five: it is the final game of the week, and has the potential to be great television. Both quarterbacks have been excellent of late, with Eli Manning throwing for 11 touchdowns and just one interception in his last five games. His often is hampered, but still capable of putting up some sparks.
As for the Colts, Andrew Luck is basically a guarantee to put up over 300 yards and multiple touchdown in every game, TY Hilton is playing excellent, Reggie Wayne is back, Trent Richardson is playing solid, the defense is making plays, and Ahmad Bradshaw, alongside Hakeem Nicks, visits his old stomping grounds having played his best football in years. This game will be interesting, whether it’s a blowout, or a classic thriller.
4) Philadelphia Eagles (5-2) at Houston Texans (4-4) (Noon, FOX)
Why is this game ranked fourth? Allow me to give you a few reasons: JJ Watt, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Jeremy Maclin, Nick Foles, DeAndre Hopkins. Expect this star-studded game to be a thrilling one.
3) Baltimore Ravens (5-3) at Pittsburgh Steeler (Sunday Night Football, 8:30/7:30c, NBC)
Cracking the top three on the list is a game that, until recently, was the fiercest, most physical rivalry in the NFL. From 2008 until 2012, this game held that position, when Seattle/San Francisco replaced it. THe series is still a good one, with each team usually prevailing by a field goal or less.
Since 2012, the two teams have each won a game against one another. In 2012, the teams swapped road games, by a field goal each. Last year, each won a home game, with the Steelers prevailing 19-16 in Week 7, and the Ravens holding on to a 22-20 victory in Week 13’s Sunday night game.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been scalding of late, completing 40 of 49 passes for 522 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions last week against the Indianapolis Colts. The legendary display made him the only quarterback in NFL history to have multiple 500 yard passing performances. His Steelers are on a roll, and a win would keep the winner in track to win what has surprisingly become the toughest division in football.
2) Arizona Cardinals (6-1) at Dallas Cowboys (6-2) (Noon, FOX)
Placing number two on the list is by far the most intriguing game of the week in the NFC. The matchup pits the only teams in the conference to have amassed six wins apiece, and even though the Cowboys are playing without starting quarterback Tony Romo, this game has enough importance to allow it to be placed this high.
1) Denver Broncos (6-1) at New England Patriots (6-2) (4:25/3:25c, CBS)
Oh, come on. You knew this was going to be number one! This is the game every football fan circles as soon as the NFL schedule comes out every year. The two most famed active quarterbacks in the game, who may be part of the greatest individual rivalry in NFL history, facing each other for the sixteenth time, with both teams surging? I could go on and on, but the information provided is more than enough to justify this game’s placement at the top of the list.