The Halfway Mark: Fun Matchups Ahead

With eight weeks down in the NFL, a perception has been credibly established for each of the 32 teams who keep us so heavily absorbed on Sundays. We have a better feel for each team around the league, and you can pick and choose which games are most appealing based on matchup. The Browns are the worst team in the NFL, but the emergence of wide-receiver-turned-tailback Terrelle Pryor have kept them entertaining (and somewhat competitive); The Cowboys are 6-1, and everyone has built their opinion on the quarterback decision that looms; The 49ers are borderline unwatchable; Matt Ryan looks like Matty Ice and the Falcons are in solid command of the NFC South. You can go on and on. Based on my own feelings toward each team in the NFL up to this point, I want to take a look down the road and point out some of the most interesting games remaining on the 2016-2017 schedule.

Week 9: A critical AFC West Game

Broncos @ Raiders: Sunday Night Football

In perhaps the game of the week between two 6-2 teams leading the AFC West, we’ll find out a lot more about a Raiders team that has taken the NFL by surprise. They’re 6-2, but 1-2 at home. Derek Carr is making a case for MVP, but can he show up at home, on primetime, against the best defense in the league?

Week 10: A Legendary Matchup

Cowboys @ Steelers

The Cowboys, currently 6-1, will travel to the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 10 in a game that should be really good. Both teams are currently in the lead of their respective divisions, and this matchup has a ton of interesting history that I’m sure you’ll hear about all week leading up to the game. This will be the game of the week despite a promising Seahawks/Patriots showdown on Sunday Night Football.

Week 11: Defensive Battle

Eagles @ Seahawks 

Both of these defenses are playing well right now, and I don’t expect either to slow down. It’s always entertaining to watch Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, and it will be fun to watch Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz face his toughest challenge of his young career.

Week 12: Thanksgiving Day

Redskins @ Cowboys

A great divisional matchup between two storied franchises on Thanksgiving Day. Not much more to say about this game, besides the fact that it has the potential to be pivotal in a division that’s vastly improved from last season.

Week 13: A Crucial NFC Matchup

Thursday Night Football: Cowboys @ Vikings

This could very well be a game that determines home-field advantage by season’s end. I contemplated putting Seahawks/Panthers on Sunday Night Football instead, but the Panthers are 2-5 and need to win more games before I can deem a future matchup important. Things can change, but that’s my feel right now.

Week 14: Another Primetime AFC West Game

Thursday Night Football: Raiders @ Chiefs

Remember this Sunday’s primetime division game between the 6-2 Broncos and Raiders? Week 14’s could be even bigger. The Chiefs are right behind both teams in the AFC West at 5-2, and every division game could prove critical by season’s end. I’m guessing this one will be huge.

Week 15: Offense Vs. Defense

Patriots @ Broncos

This could be a huge game for home-field advantage in the AFC, but it will be entertaining either way. The Patriots are the best offense in football, and the Broncos have the best defense. Who will give?

Week 16: A great slate

Vikings @ Packers

I could have picked a number of games this week. Seriously, check out the week 16 schedule. I gave the Vikings the benefit of the doubt after losing two straight, I think they’re a good team and their defense will keep them in the NFC North race. Will one of these teams have a chance to clinch the division?

Week 17: Another AFC West Game

Raiders @ Broncos

I started this article with this game, and I’m going to end it here. I don’t want to be repetitive, but both of these teams are 6-2 right now and it’s hard to ignore the potential for a division-deciding week 17 game.

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