Plenty of excitement filled last year’s NFL season. Games like Seattle’s last second victory over Green Bay on Monday Night Football and Baltimore’s improbable comeback against Denver in the playoffs epitomized why the NFL is so special. Now that the NFL released the 2013 schedule last week, football fans have much to look forward to in 2013.
Here are the five must-see games of this season:
5. San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins – Week 12 (Monday Night)
By the time the 49ers and the Skins meet, RGIII’s knee will be at full strength (barring any setbacks) and two similar offenses that embrace the quarterback’s ability to throw and run will be on display on Monday Night Football. If you want to see exciting football, tune into this game and watch the points stack up. Who runs the pistol better: Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick?
4. Denver Broncos @ New York Giants – Week 2
Unless they meet in the Super Bowl, this could be the very last time we will see Eli and Peyton Manning go head-to-head. In their only two meetings, big brother Peyton has taken both games. Will Eli be able to make the right decisions against the talented Bronco defense? Or will Peyton finish off the sweep and beat Eli for the third, and most likely, the last time?
3. Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens – Week 13 (Thursday Night)
After you finish your Thanksgiving meal, take a seat on your couch and watch these divisional foes devour each other in what will be a very physical game. Only three points separated the Ravens and Steelers in five out of their last seven games. Although it may be a low-scoring game, enjoy the big hits, the bitter hatred, and the possibly thrilling finish to another round of Ravens-Steelers.
2. Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts – Week 7 (Sunday Night)
When the Colts let go of the face of their franchise in Peyton Manning, they did not expect him to be able to put up MVP-caliber numbers following his neck surgery. Unfortunately for them, Manning landed in Denver and now brings consistency to the quarterback position for the Broncos for the first time since John Elway. On the bright side, the Colts drafted Andrew Luck in last year’s draft and he has excelled. Will Luck be able to overpower Denver’s lethal offense, or will Manning make Indianapolis regret letting him go?
1. Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers – Week 16 (Monday Night)
The Atlanta Falcons will visit the bay area seeking revenge on the team that halted their Super Bowl run. On top of that, this late-season matchup will have major implications for playoff seeding. Both teams run their offense very differently, so it will be intriguing to find out which game plan fits the modern NFL better. Their meeting in last year’s post-season brought controversy, exhilaration, and dynamic offense. What will this year’s game bring?
Two notable games that did not make my list are Seattle @ San Francisco (Week 14) and Green Bay @ Chicago (Week 17). Not only will these seven games thrill you while watching them, but they will also give you a reason to look forward to kicking back on your couch for a few hours.