With the NFL season ticking on and on, everybody seems to have a grasp on what each team is capable of by the middle of the week, every week.
Then, upsets reveal themselves, bad teams play well, and great teams play terribly. Such is life in the NFL. The league is more unpredictable than ever, which makes for must-see TV from week to week. In even the paltriest of matchups, anything can happen as has been proven each and every week.
With an impending matchup between AFC giants and a handful of matchups that feature playoff implications, the weekend slate is sure to produce unforgettable football.
Here is the complete schedule for the upcoming slate of games.
|Thursday, Nov. 21||Time (ET)||TV||Location|
|New Orleans at Atlanta||8:25 p.m.||NFL||Georgia Dome|
|Sunday, Nov. 24||Time (ET)||TV||Location|
|Pittsburgh at Cleveland||1 p.m.||CBS||FirstEnergy Stadium|
|Tampa Bay at Detroit||1 p.m.||Fox||Ford Field|
|Minnesota at Green Bay||1 p.m.||Fox||Lambeau Field|
|San Diego at Kansas City||1 p.m.||CBS||Arrowhead Stadium|
|Chicago at St. Louis||1 p.m.||Fox||Edward Jones Dome|
|Carolina at Miami||1 p.m.||Fox||Sun Life Stadium|
|NY Jets at Baltimore||1 p.m.||CBS||M&T Bank Stadium|
|Jacksonville at Houston||1 p.m.||CBS||Reliant Stadium|
|Tennessee at Oakland||4:05 p.m.||CBS||O.co Coliseum|
|Indianapolis at Arizona||4:05 p.m.||CBS||U of Phoenix Stadium|
|Dallas at NY Giants||4:25 p.m.||Fox||MetLife Stadium|
|Denver at New England||8:30 p.m.||NBC||Gillette Stadium|
|Monday, Nov. 25||Time (ET)||TV||Location|
|San Francisco at Washington||8:30 p.m.||ESPN||FedEx Field|
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Whether it's Colts-Pats or Broncos-Pats, Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady is arguably the individual matchup of this generation in pro football.
Any time these two great quarterbacks take the field opposite one another, an instant classic almost always ensues. Seven of the first eight were decided by one score or less.
For the 14th time on Sunday, the public will be graced with Brady vs. Manning as the Patriots' prodigy looks to win his 10th game against one 6'5", 230-pound quarterback with a laser rocket arm.
The Broncos are aiming to go 10-1 and notch another win over one of the AFC's elite one week removed from toppling the then-undefeated Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Manning went virtually untouched against one of the best front sevens in all of football, and he threw for his usual 300-plus yards.
New England, on the other hand, is having to bounce back quickly after a gut-wrenching and controversial loss to Carolina on Monday Night Football.
While both teams are coming in off much different swings of momentum, this game will inevitably come down to which quarterback exposes the opposing defense best.
Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals
The Colts have looked less than inspiring in recent weeks but still enter the weekend at 7-3. However, they'll face one of the league's hottest teams.
That's right, Arizona. The Cards have won three straight and have surpassed .500, now at 6-4 and firmly in the hunt for a wild-card playoff spot behind the leadership of Carson Palmer. Patrick Peterson is blossoming into one of the most dangerous young players in the league, not only dominating in the secondary but proving to be a force in special teams and in sparse use offensively.
Coming off arguably the worst performance of his young career in a 38-8 drubbing to the Rams, Indy quarterback Andrew Luck endured a short week and pulled out a road win on Thursday Night Football against the Titans. He failed to throw a touchdown, but he didn't need to—23-for-36 through the air for 232 yards helped set up a big day from Donald Brown (14 CAR, 80 YDS, 2 TD) as the Colts mounted a second-half comeback.
Indianapolis is almost certainly in the playoffs—second place in the AFC South is 4-6 Tennessee—but winning a road test against a surging NFC team would do wonders for the team moving forward.
Belief is the biggest thing. The Colts believed last year enough to get into the playoffs but weren't ready to be an actual contender in the playoffs. This year, the talent adds up, and the confidence has to follow. Wins like this would help.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Don't get me wrong—this game could get very, very ugly.
But it also has major playoff implications moving forward in the race for the NFC East. Let's be honest, the Eagles have as good of a shot as anybody, but they aren't going to run away with the division.
Who wins the NFC East?
The Cowboys and Giants probably won't run away with it, either, which means the division could likely come down to the final weekend like it has nearly every season in recent memory.
Don't look now, but Big Blue sits firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt at 4-6. Winning at home over Dallas this weekend would put New York just one game back of Philly.
As for the Cowboys? Yikes. They were throttled 49-17 by the Saints the last time they stepped onto the gridiron and have had nearly two weeks to kick that thought around in their minds.
Will Jason Garrett's squad come out hungry knowing the stakes and dazzle us with its heaps of talent? Probably. Will it still find a way to throw away a game it has no business losing? Perhaps.
In this battle of two teams that have had problems showing up this season, it could either end up being one of the more painful games of the season slate or one of the most memorable.