One of the biggest weekends of the NFL season is upon us. In addition to several marquee matchups, teams floating around the .500 mark will be trying to get back to the level that their talent suggests they should be.
Of course, those middling teams could just be playing right where they belong. Sometimes expectations are too great, or analysts have just overrated what a team is going to do. It sounds strange, but sometimes analysts do get things wrong.
As we get close to the weekend of action, it is time to start planning your viewing schedule so you know what to make time for, where to find games, as well as the announcers who will be there to guide you through all the action.
All times listed are ET
|Indianapolis at New York Jets||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Jim Nantz, Phil Simms|
|Oakland at Atlanta||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf|
|Cincinnati at Cleveland||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots|
|Kansas City at Tampa Bay||1:00 p.m.||CBS||Marv Albert, Rich Gannon|
|St. Louis at Miami||1:00 p.m.||FOX||Chris Myers, Tim Ryan|
|Detroit at Philadelphia||1:00 p.m.||FOX||Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston|
|Dallas at Baltimore||1:00 p.m.||FOX||Sam Rosen, Brian Billick|
|New England at Seattle||4:05 p.m.||CBS||Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts|
|Buffalo at Arizona||4:05 p.m.||CBS||Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker|
|New York Giants at San Francisco||4:25 p.m.||FOX||Joe Buck, Troy Aikman|
|Minnesota at Washington||4:25 p.m.||FOX||Dick Stockton, John Lynch|
Matchup to Watch: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers
The first person who talks about this being a revenge game for the 49ers after last year's NFC Championship Game clearly doesn't understand that the stakes are considerably lower this time around.
Which offense is playing better right now?
That said, these two NFC teams are as fascinating to watch as anyone in the league this season.
The Giants continue to baffle in the regular season. They have an outstanding offense, led by Eli Manning. The running game is starting to come around with Ahmad Bradshaw stepping up his performance.
However, defensively the Giants look like a mess right now. They struggle to defend the pass and the defensive line, which is supposed to be the strength of the defense, has 4.5 sacks through five games.
The 49ers look like the best team in the NFC, or at least in the conversation with Atlanta. We all knew the defense was going to be great, but the offense has exceeded all expectations. They average over 400 yards per game and Alex Smith, who is battling a sprained finger, looks much more comfortable passing with receivers that he trusts.
Underrated Matchup: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets
This game is not being singled out because of the whole Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow drama, which seems to be just a media creation, since Rex Ryan continues to have no doubt that Sanchez is the right quarterback for the job.
No, we are looking at this game because of the Indianapolis Colts. They had that huge emotional win last week against Green Bay and can actually push their record over .500 with a win in this game.
It would be a stretch to say that the Colts are a playoff team right now, but they could be closer than any of us expected. They have a good offense, particularly with Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne.
If the Colts had any presence on the defensive line other than Robert Mathis, they would probably be 3-1 entering this game.
Come for the drama involving the Jets, stay for the young, upstart Colts.