Sunday Night Football Schedule 2012: Best Prime-Time Matchups Remaining

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 07:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The night games are not always the best of the week, but there are some great battles for fans to get excited about. 

Beginning in Week 6, there are a number of matchups featured on national television that should give fans a preview of playoff games and possibly even the Super Bowl.

Here are the best games that Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels will call for the rest of the year.


Week 6: Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans

After finishing the 2011 regular season with only one loss, the Packers now have three in the first five games of 2012. Unfortunately, things only get tougher with a road game against the Texans.

Green Bay is having similar problems to last season, and things like a lack of a run game are finally catching up to the Pack. Facing a top-10 run defense with Cedric Benson out this week will only exacerbate the problems. 

Houston has started the season undefeated, but the squad has not faced elite competition. There is no better way for this team to announce that it is for real than to dominate one of the best franchises in football over the last couple of years.


Week 11: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

This is the first game that can be flexed out by NBC in favor of another game, but that is unlikely to be an issue.

Even with the Steelers out to a disappointing 2-3 start, this has been one of the best rivalries in the NFL over the past decade. In three of the last four years, these teams have finished in first and second place in the AFC North. With the way these programs are run, it would be a surprise if that trend changes anytime soon.

The Ravens are trying to become a better offensive team with a more fast-paced offense. They've had mixed results to this point, but there is enough talent on offense and defense to make them a Super Bowl contender.

Still, they first must get past their most hated rivals.


Week 15: San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots 

If not for a fumbled punt return in last year's NFC Championship Game, this could have been the Super Bowl matchup. If things go right this season, it could be the matchup this February.

The Patriots have the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL at 33 points per game, but surprisingly, the 49ers are not far behind at 29.8 points per game. This is good enough for third in the league.

However, the difference comes on defense, where no team has allowed fewer points than San Francisco.

Still, the Patriots have the advantage in experience, at quarterback and location in this game. It should be a great battle as the teams will both be likely looking to lock up a No. 1 seed by this point of the year.