Thursday Night Football Schedule 2013: Underrated Showdowns Sure to Entertain
Thursday Night Football roars on after the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning shocked the defending world champion Baltimore Ravens in Week 1.
Week 2 and beyond feature plenty of intriguing matchups on NFL Network, with important divisional battles making up the majority of the schedule.
While divisional battles are usually the focus of any schedule, prime time or not, thanks to their overall impact on the playoff picture, there are some non-divisional bouts that are worth watching closely as well.
The following are the most underrated matchups on the 2013 edition of Thursday Night Football. Don't miss them.
|Week||Date||Away Team||Home Team||Time (ET)||Channel|
|1||Sept. 5||Baltimore Ravens||vs||Denver Broncos||DEN 49, BAL 27||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 6: New York Giants vs. Chicago Bears
When perusing a schedule for good games to watch, finding matchups that contrast strengths is the best thing to look for. It doesn't get much better than the strength vs. strength clash that will occur when New York travels to Soldier Field in Week 6.
Chicago touts one of the best secondaries in the NFL thanks to Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. Tillman is the NFL's most under-appreciated corner—he forced 10 fumbles last year and intercepted three passes, returning all three for touchdowns.
The same could be said about the crafty Jennings, who recorded a league-leading nine interceptions last year.
Which team wins?
The elite duo has to go up against an elite counterpart in the form of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. The latter already has over 100 receiving yards this year in one game, while Cruz scored a ridiculous three times in the team's opener.
There are other matchups to watch, such as the Giants' pass rush vs. a new-look Bears offense under Marc Trestman, but above all, watching Chicago's defensive secondary against New York's receivers may turn out to be one of the showdowns of the season.
Week 9: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins
Week 9 features a matchup between familiar foes and two teams looking to take the next step as legitimate playoff contenders.
Last season, Cincinnati made the postseason for the second consecutive year, but experienced a road bump when Miami and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill came to town in Week 5 and downed the Bengals.
Which team wins?
This year, Cincinnati travels to Miami looking for revenge under the national microscope.
Miami was the big winner of free agency, nabbing receiver Mike Wallace and linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler, among other names, in an attempt to make over the roster. Cincinnati nailed another draft class led by elite talents in tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard.
The outcome will once again hinge on quarterback play. Miami's Ryan Tannehill threw for over 200 yards, while Cincinnati's Andy Dalton did the same but added two interceptions in defeat. Both quarterbacks are looking to take the next step, as are the franchises. It all makes for an underrated matchup worth paying to see.
Week 10: Washington Redskins vs. Minnesota Vikings
By Week 10, NFL fans will have a better idea of how the surgically repaired ligaments in Robert Griffin III's knee are holding up.
Either way, an NFC showdown between RGIII and Adrian Peterson, owner of over 2,000 rushing yards last season after a knee-repairing operation of his own, is one NFL fans everywhere should not miss.
Both franchises started the 2013 season on a sour note, but RGIII needs time to get back into the swing of things, while Peterson needs support from his quarterback. These two teams met in a Week 6 thriller last year, which Washington won, 38-26, while both Peterson and RGIII were bottled up.
Which team wins?
The most interesting note here happens to be the Minnesota passing attack. It's revamped with veteran Greg Jennings and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, but can Christian Ponder (the hero of last year's matchup with 352 passing yards) actually get them the ball? Or will it be the veteran Matt Cassel who has to step in by this point in the season?
Regardless of who is under center, Minnesota will be impressive with Peterson toting the rock. Washington will be impressive with RGIII taking snaps. Both are worth the price of admission on their own.
A head-to-head matchup between the two? Must-see television.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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