Another NFL season means another slate of prime-time Thursday night matchups this fall.
The 2013 season will kick off on Thursday night with a rematch of last season's epic AFC Divisional Round playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos. This time around, the Ravens enter Mile High as the reigning Super Bowl champions.
But after Week 1, there are plenty of more juicy midweek showdowns for fans to circle on their calendars.
Below we'll take a look at the complete Thursday night schedule and highlight the most anticipated matchups on the 2013 slate.
Schedule information courtesy of NFL.com.
|Week||Date||Away Team||Home Team||Time (ET)||Channel|
|1||Sept. 5||Baltimore Ravens||vs||Denver Broncos||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|2||Sept. 12||New York Jets||vs||New England Patriots||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|3||Sept. 19||Kansas City Chiefs||vs||Philadelphia Eagles||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|4||Sept. 26||San Francisco 49ers||vs||St. Louis Rams||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|5||Oct. 3||Buffalo Bills||vs||Cleveland Browns||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|6||Oct. 10||New York Giants||vs||Chicago Bears||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|7||Oct. 17||Seattle Seahawks||vs||Arizona Cardinals||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|8||Oct. 24||Carolina Panthers||vs||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|9||Oct. 31||Cincinnati Bengals||vs||Miami Dolphins||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|10||Nov. 7||Washington Redskins||vs||Minnesota Vikings||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|11||Nov. 14||Indianapolis Colts||vs||Tennessee Titans||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|12||Nov. 21||New Orleans Saints||vs||Atlanta Falcons||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|13||Nov. 28||Pittsburgh Steelers||vs||Baltimore Ravens||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|14||Dec. 5||Houston Texans||vs||Jacksonville Jaguars||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|15||Dec. 12||San Diego Chargers||vs||Denver Broncos||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Kansas City head coach Andy Reid will make his much-anticipated return to Philadelphia in Week 3 when the Chiefs visit the Eagles in a Thursday night matchup.
Reid coached Philadelphia from 1999 to 2012, leading the team to nine winning seasons, five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl appearance in 2004. The Eagles would win 130 regular-season games and 10 playoff matchups under Reid before he was fired at the start of the year.
It will be very interesting to see how the Eagles fans respond to Reid at the start of the game.
On the other sideline, Chip Kelly takes over for Reid in Philly, and NFL fans won't want to miss another chance to see Kelly's new-look Eagles offense in action.
With electrifying talents like Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson all figuring to be a huge part of the Philly attack, even casual NFL fans will want to take in this early-season clash.
Week 12: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons
NFC South rivals New Orleans and Atlanta always put on a show when they get together on the fast turf inside the Superdome or the Georgia Dome. In Week 12, the two NFC contenders will clash inside the latter in a game that could carry a ton of weight in the division race.
Which team is more likely to win the NFC South in 2013?
Sean Payton is back on the sidelines in the Big Easy, and that means expectations are once again sky-high for the Saints.
It also doesn't hurt that quarterback Drew Brees is coming off of back-to-back 5,000-plus-yard passing seasons.
On the other side, the Falcons are coming off a run to the NFC Championship Game a season ago. Although they came up short in quest for a title, quarterback Matt Ryan finally got the postseason monkey off his back. And with the chains finally removed, expect to see the veteran passer at his best in 2013.
Week 13: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Although many of the familiar faces that helped make this rivalry great over the years are gone (i.e., Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis, etc.), Steelers-Ravens remains arguably the best rivalry in professional football.
Perennial contenders in the AFC North, Pittsburgh and Baltimore play a hard-hitting, unrivaled brand of football that fans won't find anywhere else. In fact, it's a shame they only meet twice a year.
On Thanksgiving night in Week 13, the two bitter foes will square off in Baltimore in a prime-time showdown that is sure to live up to the hype. After all, each of the past three Black and Blue battles going back to the second meeting in 2011 have been decided by just three points.
Whether you're a fan of offense or defense, you've got to love a close game. And the Ravens-Steelers rivalry always delivers in that regard.
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