2009 NFL Schedule: What To Watch/What To Avoid

Josh McMullenCorrespondent IApril 15, 2009

LAKE FOREST, IL - APRIL 3:  Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, quarterback Jay Cutler and head coach Lovie Smith are all smiles after introducing Cutler as their new quarterback during a press conference on April 3, 2009 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images)
The NFL released the schedule for the 2009 regular season on Tuesday. So, what games should you order NFL Sunday Ticket for, and which games should you avoid like the plague? McMullen’s Musings shows you the five best and five worst games of the regular season:


What to Watch: Buffalo at New England, Week One

Terrell Owens will get his first taste of AFC football right off the bat when he faces the Patriots. It will be exciting to see one of the most electrifying receivers in the NFL playing against one of the better defenses.


What to Avoid: Minnesota at Detroit, Week Two

This one shouldn’t even be close. Minnesota has threats on both sides of the ball that Detroit can’t even hope to contain. If the Vikings dont win by at least 20, expect a hard week of practice in Minnesota.


What to Watch: Houston at Tennessee, Week Two

If the Texans want to prove they can run with the rest of the AFC South, they can start by knocking off the reigning divisional champions. They have been steadily improving over the last few years, and this year, if they stay healthy, they have a good chance. But they have to get past the Titans first.


What to Avoid: Oakland at NY Giants, Week Five

Jamarcus Russell is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. Unfortunately, he dons a silver and black Raiders jersey, which means he has to try and score touchdowns with a very porous offensive line. With the Giants’ dominating defensive line looming large, this should be a very ugly affair.


What to Watch: Jacksonville at Tennessee, Week Eight

This will be a great AFC South matchup between two teams that have the potential to fight for the divison crown. Will the Titans repeat their great performance of last season? We’ll find out in this game, which should be a very physical dogfight.


What to Avoid: Chicago at San Francisco, Week 10

It’s very likely that by the time this game rolls around, San Francisco will either be eliminated from the playoffs or close to it after a tough three weeks that ends with them hosting the Bears. Chicago has no such problem, with games against Cincinnati and Cleveland before a trip to San Francisco. This one is probably going to be a stinkfest, with Chicago dominating the entire game.


What to Watch: Washington at Dallas, Week 11

This is the first game of one of the NFL’s biggest rivalries in the Cowboys’ new stadium. Not only will this be a very big game between the teams, this is one that could also have huge playoff implications. Whoever wins this one could potentially send the other team home for the winter, and that’s why you’ll see them both pile on the points.

What to Avoid: Cleveland at Cincinnati, Week 12

By this time in the season, both teams most likely will be languishing in the AFC North cellar, and well out of the running for a playoff spot. The only thing Browns and Bengals fans will be wondering about this game is: How is Chad Ocho Cinco going to get under Roger Goodell’s skin this week?


What to Watch: New England at Miami, Week 13

We might see the same thing that happened last year with the Jets and Dolphins in this game. This is the last division game for both teams, so this is the last chance for them to jockey for the AFC East title. Most likely, the same rules will apply as last time: one goes on, one goes home.


What to Avoid: New England at Houston, Week 17

It’s the end of the regular season, so these two teams (whether or not they’ve made the playoffs) will probably only be playing for pride. Look for both the Patriots and the Texans to open the gate on their bench, and let such future superstars as Matt Guttierez and Dan Orlovsky to shine—if only for a little bit.

So there it is: the five best and five worst games of the new season. Of course, the regular season is just the beginning. It all leads up to Dolphins Stadium in early February and Super Bowl XLIV. Who will hold up the Lombardi Trophy this year?

Let the games begin.