Sunday September 9 at 1:00 p.m.: Colts vs Bears
It may not be the most competitive, or have the most impact in a playoff race but Andrew Luck’s debut will be the most anticipated of the past decade. Will the number one pick of the draft live up to the hype? Will he even start?
The game could have easily succeeded as a prime time game, and it should really be televised nationally. Luckily for the rookie it will be a 1:00 p.m. kick off. The Colts have 15 1:00 p.m. kick offs this year, more than any other team in the country.
Sunday September 16 at 8:30 p.m. Lions vs 49ers
More than being a potential wild card game in the playoffs and a match-up between two of the top teams in the NFC, it’s revenge. NFL has done everything possible to hype up this game after last year’s infamous hand shake.
Ultimately, it’s an early test for both teams to see if last year was a fluke for both or if they have both genuinely grown under their new coaches. It’s also a great match up of a top offense versus a top defense and Alex Smith’s first real test after being through a tough off-season. Will his play suffer after being shopped around in the off-season?
Sunday September 30 4:15 p.m. Saints vs Packers
The Saints and Packers have us a close shootout to start off last year’s season and any game between two of the best offenses in the country promises to be great. The Saints may not be the same of old after the Sanctions they will receive this year and this will be one of their toughest tests.
The Packers will return most of their cast but without some of the coaching staff we will see if the offense is affected. Against a depleted Saints defense (depending if there are suspensions and how long they last) they could get easy pickings against New Orleans.
Sunday October 7: 4:00 p.m. Broncos vs Patriots
For years the annual match-up between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning has been the game to watch of the NFL Season. Manning finds himself in a new team trying to avenge Brady’s humiliation of the Broncos during the playoffs.
Brady vs Manning is always a close game and we’ll see how Manning performs after his one year absence against the best.
Sunday November 15: 1:00 p.m. Packers vs Lions:
Last time the Packers visited the Lions Ndamukong Suh got himself ejected and the Lions began to unravel. It was a less than stellar homecoming for a team that seemed destined to finally break through to the elite teams.
It promises to be a shootout between the two teams as Mathew Stafford continues to grow as a quarterback and it pits what could become the greatest rivalry in the NFC if both teams can keep up their positive results.
Thursday November 22 12:30 p.m. Texans vs Lions
The Lions are finally looking to have a positive Thanksgiving break. This match pits two of the best stories of the respective conference. Both teams are looking to finally breakthrough in the playoffs to appease a frustrated fan base. Both will need to make a statement late in the season.
This is also a game that could mean a lot for the coaches. Depending on how the seasons have gone and with the playoffs looming a result in a game like this against another playoff contender could go a long way in deciding the future of the respective head coaches.
Sunday November 25 8:30 p.m. Green Bay vs Giants
One of the biggest upsets in last year’s playoffs was the New York Giants defeating the Green Bay Packers on their way to winning the Super Bowl. The Packers will try and return the favor as they visit the Giants on Thanksgiving weekend.
With the playoffs looming the game is likely to have important implications for both teams. The winner of this match-up (depending on how the season unfolds) could also give us the Super Bowl favorite for the NFC.
Sunday December 2 8:20 p.m. Eagles vs Cowboys
With the New York Giants the favorites to win he division and an RGIII led Redskins unlikely to become playoff contenders, the Eagles vs Cowboys game is likely to have serious implications for the playoffs.
It was humiliating defeats against the Eagles that helped the Cowboys collapse late in the year and miss the playoffs. The ‘Dream Team’ will look to keep Michael Vick healthy long to still have a shot at the playoffs against one of the few teams they had success against in 2011.
Sunday December 23 8:20 p.m. 49ers vs Giants
The Giants, with one of the most difficult schedules in the league, hosts the 49’ers in what promises to be a preview of a playoff match-up. While both teams should have a spot secured in the playoffs, the match could also be important in deciding first round byes for both teams.
If the Giants suffer down this stretch, this game could be important for simple playoff implications. The team has a history of suffering in the regular season and getting off to slow stars. If that happens, this could be a very difficult elimination game.
Sunday December 30 1:00 p.m. EST Bears vs Lions
Barring any season collapses or injuries, this game should decide one of the wildcard spots in the NFC playoffs. The Packers are still favorites to win the division, while the Bears and Lions will compete for the wildcard position.
The game will not only be an important win in the race but help resolve a tie break if both teams are to have similar standings going into the match.
Check out our photo gallery in Spanish of other interesting match-ups