Monday Night Football Schedule 2013: Intriguing Games Guaranteed to Deliver
It may be difficult for football fans to get overly excited about the Week 7 Monday Night Football matchup between the winless New York Giants and the one-win Minnesota Vikings, but better days are certainly ahead as there are plenty of potentially great games remaining on the MNF schedule this season.
There is obviously plenty that can happen in the coming weeks that may improve or hurt the quality of a particular game, but teams can only be judged based upon what they have proved themselves to be thus far. Some flawed teams that haven't lived up to expectations will have a chance to play on Monday night this season, but there are some great teams in the mix as well.
Here is a closer look at three upcoming Monday Night Football games that have all the makings of instant classics.
|Week||Date||Away Team||Home Team|
|7||Oct. 21||Minnesota Vikings||New York Giants|
|8||Oct. 28||Seattle Seahawks||St. Louis Rams|
|9||Nov. 4||Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers|
|10||Nov. 11||Miami Dolphins||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|11||Nov. 18||New England Patriots||Carolina Panthers|
|12||Nov. 25||San Francisco 49ers||Washington Redskins|
|13||Dec. 2||New Orleans Saints||Seattle Seahawks|
|14||Dec. 9||Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears|
|15||Dec. 16||Baltimore Ravens||Detroit Lions|
|16||Dec. 23||Atlanta Falcons||San Francisco 49ers|
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks
The season isn't even seven weeks old, but it's fair to say that the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are considered by many to be co-favorites to reach the Super Bowl out of the NFC. They get the job done in very different ways, as the Saints have a high-octane offense and timely defense, while the Seahawks have a dominant defense and timely offense.
Even though they may be polar opposites, they are both 9-2 to win the Super Bowl, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell.
Super Bowl odds at Las Vegas Hotel: Broncos 2/1, Seahawks & Saints 9/2, Pats & 49ers 7/1, Packers 12/1, Bengals, Colts & Chiefs 20/1— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) October 14, 2013
It's entirely possible that New Orleans and Seattle will meet in the NFC Championship Game to determine who will play in the biggest game of the year, and their Week 13 meeting on Monday Night Football could be a preview of that.
Seattle's ascent started a couple years ago when the Seahawks surprisingly defeated New Orleans in the playoffs, but now these teams are on level footing. Home-field advantage was the difference in that postseason tilt, and it may come into play one again this year.
Both teams are incredible at home, but the Seahawks will be the home team on Monday Night Football. Saints quarterback Drew Brees will have a tough time dealing with Seattle's defense anywhere, but doing it at CenturyLink Field is truly a chore. Also, New Orleans' improved defense will be tested by a ball-control offense led by Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch.
This game will be a true measuring stick for each side, especially so late in the season.
New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers
Super Bowl XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers may very well be the most underrated Super Bowl in NFL history. Both teams exploded offensively in the second half after a comatose first half, and the Pats escaped with a 32-29 victory by virtue of a last-second Adam Vinatieri field goal.
A lot has changed for the Patriots and Panthers since that game almost a decade ago, but it will still bring back great memories when they meet on Monday Night Football.
New England hasn't played up to its potential all season long due to a multitude of injuries, but quarterback Tom Brady has managed to keep the team afloat and in control of the AFC East.
The Panthers are a tough team to figure out, but their defense is quickly reaching an elite level, and quarterback Cam Newton seems to have hit his stride, which is an extremely dangerous combination as far as Carolina's opponents are concerned.
When the Pats and Panthers play in Week 11, it's difficult to say how much will be riding on the game.
New England looks like a definite playoff team, but the AFC East will probably still be in question due to the Miami Dolphins' presence. As for the Panthers, they'll have to scratch and claw their way into playoff positioning all year long, although things have been made easier on them with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons struggling in the NFC South.
There will certainly be no shortage of storylines when these teams meet in a few weeks.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions
Which Monday Night Football game are you most excited for?
On the heels of their Super Bowl triumph last season, the Baltimore Ravens are finding that being the hunted is much more difficult than being the hunter. The Detroit Lions are back on the prowl, though, following a disappointing 2012 campaign that saw them finish as one of the league's worst teams.
Both teams are in the mix for a playoff spot in their respective conferences, and things may come down to the wire for each team, so their Monday Night Football encounter in Week 15 could act as an eliminator of sorts.
Detroit's offense has come back to life by virtue of the Matthew Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson combination, as well as the addition of running back Reggie Bush. The electric runner has added another dimension to the Lions' attack, and that is a big reason why they are battling for the NFC North crown.
Things haven't come quite as easily for Baltimore on that side of the ball, as it has struggled to establish the run and quarterback Joe Flacco hasn't exactly lived up to his big contract. Those factors contributed to the Ravens having the second-most three-and-outs in the league entering Week 7, according to NFL Network's Rich Eisen.
Jacksonville leads the league with most offensive 3-and-outs with 29. Next up? @Ravens with 26.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) October 19, 2013
The Ravens do have talent on offense, though, and their defense remains one of the league's best even if it isn't quite as dominant as fans have grown accustomed to. Detroit's newfound balance on offense makes it a force to be reckoned with, while the Ravens have become somewhat one-dimensional offensively.
If they are able to improve their run blocking and get Ray Rice running as well as he usually does, then the Ravens will provide a very tough test for the Lions at home.
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