Thursday Night Football Schedule 2013: When to Catch Most Exciting Games

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IISeptember 19, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 08:  Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid looks on during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Primetime football always seems to be just a bit more important than the Sunday afternoon games, and Thursday Night Football features some exciting matchups throughout the 2013 season.

Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs head to Philadelphia in a reunion game for the Eagles' former head coach.  Chip Kelly will be trying to one-up the former head coach with his new and exciting uptempo offense.

This isn't the only exciting game this season that will be played on a Thursday, so let's take a look at the biggest Thursday night games that have yet to be showcased.

Note: All kickoffs are at 8:25 p.m. EDT.


San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams, Thursday Sept. 26

Despite being such a dominant team during the 2012 season, the San Francisco 49ers simply couldn't find a way to get past those pesky St. Louis Rams.  The Rams won the series 1-0-1, tying the first game 24-24 after overtime and then pulling off the 16-13 overtime win in the second showdown.

The Rams have looked good to start the year, even with the 1-1 record.  

Sam Bradford has done a good job to start the season, finding his new weapons Jared Cook and Tavon Austin open for touchdowns a number of times already.  

The defense looks strong as well with Robert Quinn leading the way with four sacks already.

Meanwhile, the 49ers are looking to answer some questions that arose in the 29-3 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.  The defense was exposed, and the secondary appeared to be a liability.  

The 49ers will likely be favored in the game, but the Rams have done crazy stuff before, as we saw in 2012.


Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins, Thursday Oct. 31

Two teams that are emerging as playoff contenders in the AFC and are led by impressive young quarterbacks are playing on Halloween night.  

What's not to like?

The Cincinnati Bengals showed up on Monday Night Football in Week 2, putting on a strong showing against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Giovani Bernard made some exciting plays and came up with two total touchdowns, putting himself in the early running for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.  

For the Miami Dolphins, they've started the year 2-0 and their defense has come up with some nice plays.  Cameron Wake leads the pass rush with 2.5 sacks while the team is tied for the league lead in total sacks with 9.0.  Brent Grimes has also led the secondary to a very hot start, making even Andrew Luck struggle at times.

While the Bengals have a good shot at winning the AFC North, the Dolphins could make a run at a wild-card spot in the AFC East—unless the New England Patriots struggle more than expected—in which case they'd be able to win the division for the first time since 2008.


New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, Thursday Nov. 21

The New Orleans Saints were able to make a big statement with the return of Sean Payton in Week 1, taking down their division rivals, 23-17.

Drew Brees leads the offensive attack, but the big story has been the defense.  The 2012 Saints had one of the worst defenses of all time, allowing an unbelievable 7,042 yards of offense—an NFL record.  Now, it ranks 11th in the league with 640 total yards allowed up to this point.  The No. 11 ranking might not be elite, but it's a huge turnaround in one season.

The Falcons have been playing with hobbled receivers, but that hasn't seemed to slow them down.  In fact, Julio Jones, who was questionable to play against the Rams, went off for 182 yards and a touchdown on 11 catches last week.  

The defense has lost some key players already, but it will still look to hold opposing offenses just enough for its offense to keep them in games.

This rematch could have big playoff implications.  The NFC South is going to be a tight race between these two teams, and a win in Week 15 could put one team or the other in the driver's seat.