It's that time of the year again.
Football season is once again upon us, and this season may prove to be the most anticipated ever. The lockout lasted longer than most people expected, which almost caused the league to cancel camps, games, and at one point; possibly even the entire season.
This years prime-time games have called for some interesting match-ups that will not disappoint. Miami and New England kick off the Monday Night schedule with the first of two games that night; Oakland and Denver, will have the late game.
These two games are not the flashiest on the schedule, but they do provide fierce division battles between teams who know each other well.
In this article, I'll list my top five Monday Night games to look out for, as well as predictions for who wins.
These two teams played one of the best MNF games that I have ever witnesses back in 2003.
Mike Vanderjagt's 29-yard field goal with 3:47 remaining in overtime capped one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history and gave the Indianapolis Colts a 38-35 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on that magic Monday night.
Peyton Manning rallied the Colts from a 35-14 deficit with four minutes left in regulation, and Indianapolis became the first team in NFL history to win after trailing by 21 or more points with less than four minutes to play in regulation.
This years game might not live up to the excitement of the 2003 game, but it will feature a solid young Bucs team that has a lot to prove. Josh Freeman is one of the best young gun slingers in the NFL today, and I expect a great performance for him that night at home.
Prediction: 27-21 Tampa Bay
Josh Freeman throws for 2 touchdowns and one INT, while LeGarrette Blount runs all over the Colt defense on his way to 140 yards and a score.
Peyton Manning has a solid game with three touchdown passes, but the Colts running game never gets going.
If this years game follows in the footsteps of last years, then we have a great Monday Night battle on our hands.
Jay Cutler tied a career high with four touchdown passes and the Bears beat Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles 31-26 to take sole possession of the NFC North lead that sunday. Philadelphia made a late charge scoring 13 points in the 4th, but it proved to not be enough.
This years game moves to Philadelphia, and it will be a battle of two teams who should be right at the top of the standings.
Prediction: 35-24 Philadelphia
Jay Cutler will struggle against the three headed monster that is the Eagles secondary.He throws one touchdown pass and three interceptions, while Matt Forte adds a touchdown of his own; and contributes 85 yards to the ground game. The Chicago defense also picks up a Michael Vick fumble and returns it to the house.
Bedsides the fumble, Vick goes off. He runs for 90 yards and two scores with a long 45 yard touchdown. Vick also adds two scores through the air, both to Desean Jackson. LeSean McCoy and Ronnie Brown combine to rush for over 100 yards as well.
With Oakland losing Zach Miller and Nnamdi Asomugha during free agency, their playoff chances were basically washed away. The Broncos are no where near the playoffs, and it seems as if the Chargers are the only competition for the Chiefs this season.
Kansas City's was fueled by a two headed monster running attack aka Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, and Matt Cassel played well. Matt Cassel will have to play in this one, due to the fact of the improved run defense of the Patriots.
Prediction: 21-20 New England
This game will be a lot closer than New England would have liked, and a last second field goal will give them the win. Tom Brady has a sub par game throwing for one touchdown and only 190 yards. The New England defense plays well and has a pick six on Matt Cassel early in the 3rd quarter.
The Chiefs come out swinging. Kansas City goes up 10-0 heading into the second quarter, but fails to score the rest of the half. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones combine for 160 yards, and Matt Cassel plays well against his former team throwing for two touchdowns. The pick six in the 3rd quarter changes the momentum, and pushes the Pats past the Chiefs.
The last time these two teams played, was back on Oct 18, 2009 when the Saints erupted for 48 points. Eli Manning made his home coming, but was definitely not welcomed by New Orleans. That game started the Giants downfall, and they eventually missed out on the playoffs.
The Saints went on to win the Super Bowl that season, crushing everyone in their path. This years game should be a classic. Both teams will be vying for their playoff chances, and this one should be a shoot out.
Prediction: 38-35 New York
Eli Manning has his best game of the season, throwing for over 300 yards and three scores. Hakeem Nicks is his favorite target catching 7 passes for 150 yards and two scores. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs combine for 125 yards on the ground and add a touchdown each. A late field goal by Lawrence Tynes gives the Giants the lead and the win on the road.
Drew Brees goes off the the Giants defense throwing for 400 yards. The quarterback throws 4 touchdowns, but throws a pick late in the second that sets up a Giants score. The Saints ground is nonexistent rushing for only 50 yards.
This rivalry has been kicked up a notch over the past few seasons. Both teams have found success with their current quarterbacks, and each have gone back and forth with winning the NFC South.
This year will be not different.
Both teams will be fighting for the playoffs in the tough NFC, and this game may dictate who wins the South division.
Prediction: 28-24, Atlanta
Matt Ryan and his wide receivers are firing on all cylinders. Jones hauls in six catches for 75 yards and a score; while Roddy White adds eight grabs for 100 yards and a score. Tony Gonzalez adds clutch first downs in the fourth quarter, and leads the Falcon comeback. Atlanta is down 24-14 at the end of the third only to rally to win the game late.
Drew Brees has a solid game throwing for 250 yards a score while Mark Ingram has his best game of the season, rushing for 175 yards and two scores. The Saints defense collapses, and gives up 14 fourth-quarter points.