BATTLE FOR FIRST PLACE
Alright....look at the slate and you will see a couple of games this coming week that are battles for first place. Which ones?
Redskins at Giants. Most of us thought that the Eagles would have a least a 2-game lead in the NFC East....especially over these two teams. But both QBs have really come on of late and both defenses are playing up to par as well.
Bears at Lions. Yep, you heard that right. The Bears and Lions, oh my, are going to get it on with first place on the line in the NFC North. What is this....1945??
Bills at Patriots. Yeah...first place is on the line here. The winner gains control of the AFC East, for now. If it is Buffalo who wins...then control is owned by a 4-4 team. And it would also mean that the Pats would be under .500.
MONDAY NIGHT DUDS
The parity of the NFL has been a great asset to the league as it has gained control of the #1 ranking of sports in America. Every city has a feeling that they have a shot to do something every year. I mean, how many people even jumped on the Cardinals bandwagon in the preseason??
But, it has really hurt the Monday Night schedule. For several years now, the Monday Night games have turned into garbage. It either features two bad teams...or one really good team pummelling a bad team.
So, starting with Week 9, here is my rankings of the rest of the Monday Night Matchups [there is no Monday night game in Week 17]:
1-Steelers at Colts [Week 12]. This one could be for home field advantage in the AFC. In many people's minds...these are the NFL's two best teams. Pittsburgh has already held down high octane Cincinnati in the Jungle. The Colts have shown an ability to win without having Peyton Manning putting up big numbers. But can it work against a team this good?
2-Colts at Patriots [Week 9]. Huge game for both teams. Indy enters this game undefeated. The Patriots should be 4-3 heading into this game. So the Pats really need this home win to keep home alive for a home field advantage in the 2nd round of the playoffs. For the Colts, a loss here would still keep that cloud over their heads that they still cannot beat New England. And the Colts don't want to risk having to see this stadium again for a while.
3-Cowboys at Eagles [Week 10]. This could be the game that decides the tough NFC East. Not to mention Philly gets to seek revenge for that brutal smack down a few weeks ago in Dallas.
4-Seahawks at Eagles [Week 13]. This game could end up being for a bye. Despite some recent struggles, the Eagles are still capable of running away with the division. And with the NFC North so bad and the NFC South so top heavy, this matchup of the best in the East and West could be for a first round bye.
5-Patriots at Jets [Week 16]. Not the matchup it once was. But, still, the Pats in New York is reason enough to watch. However, if Vinny plays like he did last Monday night...I really don't want to watch.
6-Saints at Falcons [Week 14]. Another rematch game. Remember, the Falcons beat the Saints by a FG that was a re-kick from a penalty. The Saints, for all of their injuries and flaws, find ways to score. So Atlanta better be ready.
7-Packers at Ravens [Week 15]. Well, it isn't as bad as the #8 matchup since it features Brett Favre against that Ravens defense.
8-Vikings at Packers [Week 11]. The worst of the bunch. However, technically both teams are very much alive in the division race and these two played a pretty good one this past week in Minnesota. Hey, ya never know!
HOW ABOUT THEM SUNDAY NIGHTERS??
A quick rundown:
1-Eagles at Redskins [Week 9]
2-Raiders at Chargers [Week 13]
3-Falcons at Bears [Week 15]
4-Rams at Cowboys [Week 17]
5-Chiefs at Texans [Week 11]
6-Saints at Jets [Week 12]
7-Lions at Packers [Week 14]
8-Browns at Steelers [Week 10]
9-Vikings at Ravens [Week 16]