Sunday Night Football Schedule 2013: Biggest Storylines from Remaining Games
NBC has done a great job of featuring some of the best matchups each and every week. The network even has that flex option from Week 11 on. Suffice it to say, if you're going to watch one NFL game other than the one that has your favorite team, you should make sure your Sunday nights are clear.
Here's what the rest of the schedule looks like from Week 8 and beyond.
|8||Oct. 27||Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings|
|9||Nov. 3||Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans|
|10||Nov. 10||Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints|
|11*||Nov. 17||Green Bay Packers at New York Giants|
|12*||Nov. 24||Denver Broncos at New England Patriots|
|13**||Nov. 28||Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens|
|13*||Dec. 1||New York Giants at Washington Redskins|
|14*||Dec. 8||Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers|
|15*||Dec. 15||Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers|
|16*||Dec. 22||New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens|
These three storylines will likely be played up the most when the games get close.
Can Josh Freeman Turn Around the Vikings?
It remains to be seen how Josh Freeman will perform with the Minnesota Vikings. They play Monday night against the New York Giants. It will be his first start since leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under that swirl of controversy and negativity.
Freeman better start strong because Minnesota has a big Sunday night matchup with the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. It's a huge game if the Vikings have any hope of staying in the race for the NFC North title. At 1-4, they have already dug themselves into a big hole.
By winning this week and the next, Freeman could help to get Minnesota back into what looks to be a tough division battle.
The Vikings desperately need a steady quarterback in order to make the most of Adrian Peterson's prime years. If Freeman can be that guy, this could be a dangerous team.
Can the Texans Get Back in the Playoff Race?
Sticking with quarterback play, Case Keenum looked like a competent QB on Sunday. When the two guys before you have combined to throw pick-sixes in five straight weeks, that's not that hard to do.
The abysmal play of Matt Schaub and T.J. Yates has covered up the fact that the Houston Texans aren't all that bad. Their defense is around the middle of the pack, and Arian Foster is one of the best running backs in the league.
Foster may be an injury concern, though, after he left Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, via NFL on ESPN.
THIS JUST IN: Arian Foster is done for the day with a hamstring injury— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 20, 2013
The Texans just need to get consistent quarterback play. You'll have a hard time winning when you're handing seven points over to the other team.
There's a chance that by the time the Texans take on the Indianapolis Colts on November 3, they could be challenging for a wild-card spot. The AFC playoff picture remains muddy for the time being. Even at 2-5, Houston may have a chance, especially with the way Keenum played under center.
Is Robert Griffin III Back to Being His Best?
Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears was the strongest evidence yet that Robert Griffin III has made at least close to a full recovery from his knee injury. He had 298 yards passing and 84 yards rushing. It was the kind of complete performance that came to be synonymous with RG3's rookie season.
Now the question is whether this was more a one-off kind of thing, or if Griffin is truly back to being at his best.
On December 1, the Washington Redskins are taking on the New York Giants. While the Giants are completely out of the NFC East hunt, the Redskins are right in the middle of it.
By that time, we'll also have a much better idea of where Griffin is in terms of his recovery and whether he can be the same kind of player again.
Will Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati Decide the AFC North?
Make no mistake about it. Through their first four games, the Pittsburgh Steelers were awful. The defense was showing its age, and the offense was getting no help in the running game.
The Steelers have then turned around and won their next two games, the last of which was against the Baltimore Ravens. If the Ravens demonstrated anything last year, it's that you never want to rule out a veteran defense.
And with Le'Veon Bell in the backfield, Ben Roethlisberger is getting just enough support to make sure the Steelers can move the ball.
By the time Pittsburgh takes on the Cincinnati Bengals on December 15, the division could very well be on the line. Even with the Bengals win on Sunday, they're still only two games up on the Ravens and Cleveland Browns. There's a good chance the division will have some shifts as the season goes on.
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