Nov 17, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Emmanuel Acho (51) and Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) talk after the game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won the game 24-16. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Schedule: Must-See Matchups For All 17 Weeks

It never lacks for drama every year but the 2014 NFL schedule certainly has its fair share of must-see games.  Here are the top ones for each week.

Week 1 – Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

What a way to kickoff the season.  Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers return to the northwest still feeling slighted following their 14-12 defeat in 2012 by the Seattle Seahawks on that controversial play in the final seconds courtesy of the replacement refs.

Week 2 – Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

They both just missed the playoffs but the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are still AFC North powers and have a great chance to contend in 2014.  This early contest will likely set the tone as it always does:  with pain.

Week 3 – Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

DeSean Jackson has this game circled without a doubt.  He will get a chance to show the Philadelphia Eagles, who unceremoniously cut him this off-season despite a Pro Bowl year in 2013 that they made a huge mistake.  The Washington Redskins would love that.

Week 4 – Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Perhaps one of the most epic games in the oldest rivalry in football happened last December in which the Green Bay Packers stole the NFC North title on a thrilling last-second touchdown pass on 4th and 8.  The Chicago Bears certainly have nightmares about it.

Week 5 – Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers

Alex Smith has landed on his feet with the Kansas City Chiefs but there has to be a certain sense of disappointment that his old team, the San Francisco 49ers didn’t let him finish what he started there.  Beating his replacement Colin Kaepernick might ease that pain.

Week 6 – Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

There is little doubt that Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are the favorites in the AFC South but this game should be very interesting because the Houston Texans have a good roster and could be featuring a top rookie quarterback under center.

Week 7 – New York Jets at New England Patriots

When is the Bill Belichick-Rex Ryan rivalry not entertaining?  Well the fact that the New York Jets will have to stare at their former superstar Darrelle Revis in a New England Patriots uniform certainly adds spice to this 2014 NFL schedule matchup.

Week 8 – Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints

Shootout city?  One can only hope.  That should be expected from two of the best quarterbacks in football as Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints finally get a shot at Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in their building.  Get ready for fireworks.

Week 9 – Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

Manning v. Brady.  Do I really need to say anymore?

Week 10 – Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles

This game has “fun” written all over it.  A classic “offense against defense” affair that can easily become a grind it out game or a shootout.  Luke Kuechly gets to chase LeSean McCoy while Eagles must somehow corral Cam Newton.

Week 11 – San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants

Anybody who knows their football history will have this 2014 NFL schedule contest on their DVR.  It’s not a division-type rivalry but something crazy always seems to happen when the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers get together.

Week 12 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears

Lovie Smith makes his long-awaited return to the WindyCity to face a Chicago Bears team he took to the Super Bowl in 2006, and will be toting their former backup quarterback Josh McCown as his starter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Week 13 – Washington Redskins at Indianapolis Colts

There are a number of good games to choose from but this one piqued interest because it’s the first regular season meeting between Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III and his Washington Redskins.  Bragging rights on the line!

Week 14 – Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

It’s not so much about rivalry in this game as it is about high stakes.  The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals could very well be battling for control of the AFC North in this game since they might be the two best teams in that division.

Week 15 – San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

There is no better rivalry in the NFL at the present moment.  Two teams in the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers that hate each other and return to the scene where they settled matters in a bitterly-fought NFC championship last January.

Week 16 – Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

Whether it involves divisional stakes is a mystery but the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints always put on a good show for the highlight reels.  Given how both teams have improved, there is every reason to think playoff implications will factor.

Week 17 – Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

The past two years the Chicago Bears have narrowly missed the playoffs, often thanks to the Minnesota Vikings.  First in 2012 when the Vikes lost a shootout to Green Bay and then again last year when the Bears missed the winning field goal in OT, allow Minnesota to steal it.  Here is where it could all be decided again, and this time the Bears will have Jared Allen on their side.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Baltimore Ravens Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Denver Broncos Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Kansas City Chiefs Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots New York Giants New York Jets Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks Tampa Bay Buccaneers Washington Redskins

  • Dustin Joyce

    Chiefs vs. Broncos week 2 – come on! No one wants to watch the steelers or ravens win a 9-6 game in overtime

    • Erik Lambert

      With respect Dustin the Broncos beat the Chiefs twice last year and while the Broncos have gotten better (on paper) I haven’t seen much improvement from the Chiefs. Plus, Ravens-Steelers is one of those few games where the refs allow a little more hitting. Real football fans love that stuff.

  • Matthew Marcella

    I would rather see Miami vs Chicago week 7 than New England vs New York

    • Erik Lambert

      Really? Why the intrigue with that game?

  • anon76returns

    Oh Erik. 22 of your 34 teams are in the NFC. And you have 3 Bears games vs. 1 Bronco game. Redskins Eagles more compelling than a SB rematch? And truly, I don’t think Bucs-Bears or Bears-Vikes are all that compelling outside of their relative markets. The Vikes have had one good season since 2010, and the Bucs …?
    Week 12 and especially week 17 should be more tilted towards potential playoff match ups, of which there are plenty.

    • Erik Lambert

      Why should I feel compelled by a Super Bowl rematch? Last I checked the Seahawks obliterated Denver, anon. Not just in that game either, they did it in the preseason too. The Bucs will be a better team in 2014 because they have a better coach, and it’s the same coach who got run out of Chicago after going 10-6 in 2012. That’s classic revenge game setting that should create a fierce atmosphere. Week 17 might not have playoff implications for both teams, but it certainly could for one of them and Bears-Vikings produced some thrilling finishes last year.

      • anon76returns

        Everybody knows that the Broncos were not that much worse than the Seahawks- the Seahawks didn’t even beat the Jags that badly, are you going to argue that the Broncs are worse than the Jags? And Denver has been doing a little re-tooling since Feb. 2nd, it will be interesting to see if their paper moves make them any better against the Seahawks.

        The Bucs will no doubt be better than last season. But do you think that the fact you’re a Bear fan might color your choosing them in 3 “must see” games, vs. only 3 for San Francisco, 2 for Seattle, 2 for New England, 1 for Denver? No offense meant towards the Bears, but is a team that’s only been to the playoffs once in the last 7 seasons really much more compelling than the 4 finalists from last season?

        Nothing but a gentle ribbing that you might have had your bear-goggles on while making this list.

        • Erik Lambert

          My being a Bears fans has nothing to do with. Don’t take my word for it. The NFL website highlighted Bears-Bucs as the top matchup of that week too. It’s true the Bears have struggled to reach the playoffs, I’ll give you that. But can you admit they’ve probably played more exciting, meaningful games than some of those teams the past couple seasons? New England, Denver and San Francisco are always shoe-ins for the post-season. Everybody knows that so it’s kinda boring. The fun matchups are with the teams that consistently get close and it begs the question, “Will they or won’t they this year?”

          Highlighting must-see games isn’t always about the teams as much as it is the story lines. Chicago, coincidentally has a number of interesting stories to play out this season: Julius Peppers and Green Bay, Jared Allen and the Vikings, and Lovie Smith with the Bucs.

          Remember the NFL is about matchups. Seattle is the perfect antagonist to Denver, which is why they drubbed them. Jacksonville meanwhile plays a similar style to Seattle as does San Francisco, which is why those games were closer.