2013 NFL Schedule: Highlighting Monday Night Football's Best Divisional Matchups
There has been a lot of movement throughout the NFL so far this offseason, and we haven't even reached the 2013 NFL draft yet.
On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded for former New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (per Adam Schefter and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com), highlighting the turnover throughout the league in recent months.
With that in mind, some divisional matchups could be more exciting this season, while other clashes figure to build on the theatrics of previous years.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins, Week 1
Where: FedExField, Landover, Md.
When: Monday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. ET
OK, I know what you're thinking: "But the Eagles haven't been to the playoffs the past two years!"
OK, first of all, stop yelling at me. Second of all, this is a completely different team now, with a completely different coach.
Former starting cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who disappointed mightily in Philly, are now gone. So is former head coach Andy Reid.
On the other hand, the Eagles hired former Oregon coach Chip Kelly—a noted offensive mastermind—to inject some life into the team. They also added former New York Giants safety Kenny Phillips and former New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung to help on the back end, as well as cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.
You add the fact that the Eagles own the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, and there's a chance they rebound in 2013.
As for the Redskins, we all know what Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and company are capable of after a 10-6 campaign and a trip to the playoffs last season.
The Redskins didn't add many new players this offseason—although former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood could end up being a nice pickup—but they didn't really need to. They re-signed starting corner DeAngelo Hall and tight end Fred Davis.
Washington ranked fourth in the NFL in points per game last season. If the club can improve on defense, there's no reason to think it can't do some damage in the postseason.
After losing both matchups in 2012, the Eagles are looking for some payback.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals, Week 2
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
When: Monday, Sept. 16 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Coming off a forgettable 8-8 campaign, the Steelers lost a ton of players this offseason, including receiver Mike Wallace, outside linebacker James Harrison, cornerback Keenan Lewis and guard Willie Colon.
On the other hand, Pittsburgh does have a chance to add a difference-maker at No. 17 overall in the draft. Also, the Steelers still have quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and an outstanding coaching staff. You can never count this team out.
As for the Bengals, a lot of their success will likely depend on young quarterback Andy Dalton this season. They made some nice moves this offseason, re-signing cornerbacks Terrance Newman and Adam Jones, franchising defensive end Michael Johnson and signing Harrison. Re-signing offensive tackle Andre Smith would be another big move.
Cincinnati also has the No. 21 overall pick in the draft, which it will most likely use on a linebacker, tackle, safety or running back.
The two teams split the season series in 2012.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, Week 9
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
When: Monday, Nov. 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET
The Bears missed out on the playoffs last season, despite going 10-6. Losing five of their last eight games certainly didn't help. They lost both matchups against the Packers in the 2012 campaign.
But, as they say, new season, new dreams (or something like that).
Chicago could still re-sign Brian Urlacher for the right price (i.e. for cheap), but it's obvious the club is looking to find a successor to the aging great. The Bears did sign former Denver Broncos inside linebacker D.J. Williams this offseason, which wasn't a bad move, but they could also look to fill the position early in the draft.
Which divisional matchup are you most excited to watch in 2013?
They also added former New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod, who represents an upgrade at the position at least.
Then you add the fact that they signed former New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett (who received the highest grade among 2013 tight end free agents by Pro Football Focus last season), and you have some pieces to legitimately make a run at the playoffs.
They did lose veteran Greg Jennings to the Minnesota Vikings, but that's not so heartbreaking when you still have Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jordy Nelson.
The Packers have won the last six matchups between the two teams (including the playoffs), but there's always a lot of electricity in the air in this rivalry.
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