After two weeks of mediocre and undramatic football, Monday Night Football on ESPN will get a lot more interesting in a hurry.
This week, two undefeated teams will feature on the primetime broadcast as the New Orleans Saints host the Miami Dolphins.
I'll have more on that matchup below, as well as two others that I'm already circling on my calendar. Have a look at the schedule, and then I'll highlight the matchups I'm most looking forward to.
|Week||Away Team||Home Team|
|4||Miami Dolphins||New Orleans Saints|
|5||New York Jets||Atlanta Falcons|
|6||Indianapolis Colts||San Diego Chargers|
|7||Minnesota Vikings||New York Giants|
|8||Seattle Seahawks||St. Louis Rams|
|9||Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers|
|10||Miami Dolphins||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|11||New England Patriots||Carolina Panthers|
|12||San Francisco 49ers||Washington Redskins|
|13||New Orleans Saints||Seattle Seahawks|
|14||Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears|
|15||Baltimore Ravens||Detroit Lions|
|16||Atlanta Falcons||San Francisco 49ers|
Week 4: Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints
This game should tell us a lot about both of these undefeated teams.
New Orleans has looked strong while getting off to its hot start. The offense is the juggernaut most were expecting, and the defense has made great strides from the anemic unit of last season. That said, the Saints are still struggling to stop the run.
New Orleans is 20th in rush defense and 31st in yards allowed per rush. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are just 28th in rushing offense and 26th in yards per carry.
Neither team will be able to make a serious Super Bowl push if their performances in those categories do not improve. It will be fun to see which side gets the better of that matchup.
No matter what happens in that matchup, however, the Dolphins are going to have their work cut out for them. New Orleans is always tough at home in the dome.
Week 9: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
If Green Bay doesn't start winning some football games, this game may not be all that exciting. With losses to the 49ers and Bengals, the Packers sit at 1-2 and trail the 3-0 Bears by two games in the NFC North.
However, the Packers have been playing decent, and it would be a shock to me if they didn't enter this game with a better-than-.500 record (Packers have a bye this week).
The Bears are almost guaranteed to enter this game over .500 after their hot start. Still, the Bears do have stuff to work on, and they will have to make offensive improvements before this matchup if they want to keep pace with the Packers.
The Bears are 21st in passing yards and 18th in rushing yards. If the Bears are going to beat teams with high-powered offenses, they will have to do a better job on offense.
This storied rivalry should show us if the Bears offense can answer the bell when needed.
Week 16: Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers
The last Monday night game of the season should have serious playoff implications.
While these two preseason NFC favorites have not gotten off to the start many anticipated, both still appear headed toward the postseason.
Sitting at 1-2, Atlanta has lost two road games to teams who are undefeated (Saints and Dolphins). There is no shame in that. The schedule is balancing out for the Falcons, and they will enjoy three straight games at home.
Meanwhile, the 49ers used a solid performance on Thursday night to beat the Rams, 35-11. This ended San Francisco's ugly two-game losing streak, and it improved to 2-2.
With this game sitting as the second to last on the schedule, these two teams will likely be battling for playoff positioning or their playoff lives.