NFL 2014 Must Watch: Weeks 1-8

Week 1

Green Bay kicks off opening day at the 12th Man against the champion Seahawks on Thursday Night Football. Sure, the Cheese Heads missed the playoffs, most teams due after losing their starting quarterback for half the year. Aaron Rodgers has an offseason to prepare against the best defense in the NFL, an excellent game to open 2014. Hands down, the NFC Game of Week 1. The question is, can GB contain Seattle’s balanced attack just enough?

Another rematch high on emotions between a pair of work horses, Peyton Manning and the Broncos square off against Andrew Luck and the Colts at Mile High. Last time around Indianapolis punched first and withstood a dramatic Denver comeback. This is the AFC Game of Week 1, and probably the Game of the Week in the NFL. The quarterbacks should live up to the hype as offense are ahead of defenses earlier in the season, however the team that forces more turnovers should come away victorious.

Week 2

San Francisco will host Chicago in their new stadium, and this will be an interesting game between NFC teams with high aspirations. The Bears are depending on a healthy Jay Cutler and improved defense to get back into the playoffs after missing out via tiebreaker. The 49ers have been knocking on the doorstep in terms of the ultimate goal, they look to win game numero uno at their new casa. Not sure if the Niners ground game can be stopped here, but the same can be said about the Bears aerial attack.

The Colts have a pair of intriguing matchups to start their 2014 campaign, this time around they return to the dome to host the Eagles. Chip Kelly’s offense was a success in season number one, they plan on repeating as NFC East champions as do they Colts in the AFC South. Will the league adapt to Kelly’s offense or the game tape on Nick Foles? It helps to have a leading rusher, LeSean McCoy looks like the best in the business, counterpart Trent Richardson believes he’ll start playing like a first round pick.

Week 3

Here we go, Super Bowl rematch in front of the 12th Man. Denver travels to Seattle early on, a better measuring stick than their preseason meeting last year. The Seahawks were all over the Broncos in the big game, in every way from start to finish. If anyone can rebound from anything, it’s a future HOF Peyton Manning squad. Seattle though, 2013 was a mission through and through, don’t expect a hangover from the defending champs.

This is a pretty good week of football, with quite a few clashes to keep up with: Bears/Jets on MNF, Steelers/Panthers, 49ers/Cardinals, Chiefs/Dolphins, Packers/Lions, Redskins/Eagles (DeSean Jackson returns). At least watch the Red Zone channel, my TV will be on the Game Mix channel, 8 games on the screen every week!

Week 4

NFC playoff implications, yes as early as week 4. Every game counts, especially when it comes down to seedings, you don’t have to tell the Eagles and Niners about the significance. What they have in common, they made the playoffs last year with all eyes on the prize. What they don’t have in common, how the talent and schemes are made up to play completely different styles of football and this is a must watch.

Again, with parody growing there will be  countless games that you don’t want to miss: Saints/Cowboys, Patriots/Chiefs, Lions/Jets, Panthers/Ravens (Steve Smith returns).

Week 5

Definitely looking forward to these games on the slate for week 5: MNF Bengals/Patriots, Jets/Chargers, Chiefs/49ers (Alex Smith returns), Cardinals/Broncos, Bears/Panthers, maybe, just maybe the battle for Texas between the Texans/Cowboys.

Week 6

Do not sleep on how tough the Rams can be, especially against their rivals. MNF hosting SF should be another slug fest, hopefully not another tie.

Carolina travels to Cincinnati for a cross-conference battle that should draw attention throughout the league, even if low-scoring it’s a spectacle for die-hard fans.

Oh, and I wouldn’t overlook the Broncos heading back to the Meadow Lands, this time against a new-look Jets that finally cares about offense.

Former Packers assistant coach Joe Philbin, did an admirable job keeping the Dolphins afloat and in the playoff picture last year. He coaches against his former team, odds are you know about Green Bay but Miami is lurking to make some noise.

Week 7

Oh man, Frisco heads to Mile High mid-season. If Colin Kaepernick can mimic what Russell Wilson did to move the chains on third downs, whether by foot or arm, that could keep Peyton Manning on the sidelines watching like the rest of us on Sunday Night Football.

There are a few rivalries played this week, those usually speak for themselves. If you love a good old fashioned shootout, look no further than the Saints/Lions in the Silverdome (Motor City). If you haven’t gotten you’re offensive fix by this point, and you should since defenses start to catch up in the second half of the season, they’re simply going to light up the scoreboard.

Week 8

We’re getting to the nitty gritty, hopefully health doesn’t play a negative factor because this week could steal the show. The AFC West showdown, Philip Rivers and the Bolts collide with Peyton and company in Denver.

Atlanta believes last year was an anomaly and so do I, they host Detroit. Talk about possible playoff implications down the road.

You want smash mouth, the Seahawks land in Carolina for an all-out brawl. I’m with you, the Panthers need to attend to their need at receiver heading into the season.

Chicago/New England, I love how they matchup, on the field and inside the coaching battle. Bears Marc Trestman, offensive guru, against the great Bill Belichick, defensive guru.

Every time the birds play each other, in this case Eagles/Cardinals, it’s always  must-watch. They usually keep it close in the 20s, down to the final minutes. Chip Kelly/Bruce Arians, let’s go!

Oh and by the way, Aaron Rodgers got an invite to Drew Brees’ house, it’s a date on Sunday Night!