Jumping straight into the action this week, the Colts are at the Titans on TNF (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). Indianapolis are without their top WR Reggie Wayne with season ending injury and similarly the Tennessee have just lost their starting QB Jake Locker. First up on SNF, for all those not watching the F1, an all AFC North affair, as the Cleveland Browns play the Cincinnati Bengals (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Next up two teams firmly in the NFC playoff picture, the San Francisco 49ers play the New Orleans Saints (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). In the first flexed game of the season Andy Ried’s still undefeated Kansas City Chiefs travel to Mile High to face off against a tough division rival Denver Broncos (01:30 Mon – C4). Finally for the week, on MNF, the New England Patriots are hosted by the Carolina Panthers (01:40 Tues – Eurosport). Both teams are rediscovering their stride which makes this one to stay up for (or watch the highlights at least).
We’re now entering the “down the stretch” portion of the season. On TNF the Washington Redskins are playing at the Minnesota Vikings (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). Sunday sports 3 brilliant matchups; first up, two of the three teams tied for first in the NFC North – the Detroit Lions are at the Chicago Bears (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Sparks will fly when this season’s offensive juggernauts, the Denver Broncos, take on the San Diego Super Chargers, in this all AFC West matchup (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). In the late game the Dallas Cowboys are hosted by the New Orleans Saints (01:30 Mon – C4) – the Saints will be a tough opponent after a bad loss to the Jets last week. Florida is currently the home of 3 of the NFL’s most disasterous franchises, and two play each other on MNF. The Miami Dolphins will hope to ignore their off-the-field issues and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to get past their on-the-field issues (01:40 Tues – Eurosport).
We’re passing the halfway post and soon enough playoff ambitions will be realised or those dreams will be shattered. This week’s action begins with the Bengals, class of a mediocre AFC North, taking on the middle-of-the-road Dolphins on TNF – Cincinnati play Miami (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). On Sunday the Saints who are second across the NFC travel up to the New York Jets (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Next up the Philadelphia Eagles take their QB issues way out West to take on one of next year’s home teams at Wembley, the Oakland Raiders (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). Then the Indianapolis Colts will try to put distance between them and the rest of the AFC Southwhen they play the ailing Houston Texans (01:30 Mon – C4). Then on Monday Night, some say that this is the oldest rivalry in the NFL; the Chicago Bears are at the Green Bay Packers (01:40 Tues – Eurosport). NB: we’re back to regular times this week, folks.
It’s Wembley week part 2, featuring the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars (17:00 Sun – Sky Sports). After a tough start, the 49ers are on a 4-game winning streak, where as the Jags have conceded 222 points on their way being 0-7. This should be a ‘9ers win, but then you never know what can happen on any given Sunday. In the other games: on TNF the 3-3 Carolina Panthers at the 0-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports); in an NFC South divisional matchup. Also on Sunday night the 6-1 Denver Broncos play host to the 2-4 Washington Redskins (20:25 Sun – Sky Sports). Later on in the NFC North the 4-2 Green Bay Packers are at the 1-5 Minnesota Vikings (00:30 Mon – C4). On MNF there is an all-NFC Westaffair when the 6-1 Seattle Seahawks take on the 3-4 St. Louis Rams (00:40 Tues – Eurosport). Most importantly note the change to kickoff times, for UK viewers at least.
The NFL has given us a schedule of brilliant ‘rivalries’ this week. First up, on TNF, we have a battle of the birds: The Seattle Seahawks make the short flight to the Arizona Cardinals in this all NFC West matchup (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). On Sunday evening the battle of the big cats sees the Cincinnati Bengals hosted by the Detroit Lions (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Next the freefalling Houston Texans tackle the Kansas City Chiefs (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). The Chiefs are undefeated and sit atop of the standings totem pole. The last game on SNF is not just a battle of the horses, but its Peyton Manning’s return to his old team – the Denver Broncos play the Indianapolis Colts (01:30 Mon – C4). Finally, on MNF, Giants face off against Vikings when New York hosts Minnesotta (01:40 Tues – Eurosport). The Purples and the Big Blue are a combined 1-10 to start their season – ouch! That’s not comfortable reading for either set of fans.
Some great match-ups on the slate for week 6, beginning on Thursday Night with the so far winless New York Giants hosted by the Chicago Bears (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports); unfortunately this doesn’t look like it’s the week the Giant’s luck will change, by the end of this one they’ll most likely be 0-6. SNF kicks off with many people’s pick for 2013 NFC Champions, the Green Bay Packers, taking on last year’s Superbowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Next up the undefeated New Orleans Saints travel to the New England Patriots, who themselves will want to come back strongly after a tough, low scoring loss last weekend (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). The late slot plays host to the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys; both in NFC East, both with 3 losses, both in the hunt of a playoff place (01:30 Mon – C4). On Monday Night Football the formidable Indianapolis Colts play out on the West Coast at the San Diego Chargers (01:40 Tues – Eurosport).
Kicking off week 5 are the Cleveland Browns; one of this season’s big surprises, as they look like legitimate contenders in the AFC North, well, for the moment at least; they host the Buffalo Bills. This promises to be a close game (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). Sunday Night Football begins with the Baltimore Ravens, hoping they can jump start their anaemic-looking offence, taking on the big-spending Miami Dolphins (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Up second are the seemingly unstoppable Denver Broncos playing at the Dallas Cowboys (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). Later the Houston Texans travel to the San Francisco 49ers (01:30 Mon – C4), where the winners are most likely to be whichever team’s QB steps up to the challenge. The final game of the weekend sees the New York Jets at the Atlanta Falcons (01:40 Tues – Eurosport) – the Falcons are desperate to make up for a slow 1-3 start, whereas some might say that the Jets are punching above their weight at 2-2.
It’s Wembley-week, or at least the first of this season’s two, featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Minnesotta Vikings (18:00 Sun – C4 / Sky Sports). Both teams are winless and will hope that the trip across the Atlantic will play its part in turning their fortunes around. Watch out for the Vikes’ RB Adrian Peterson making plays with his legs, and Big Ben (no not that one) making plays with his arm for the Steelers. Before all that, on Thursday night the San Francisco 49ers are hosted by the St Louis Rams (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). Also on the slate for Sunday we have the Dallas Cowboys taking on the San Diego Chargers (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports) and the New England Patriots playing the Atlanta Falcons (01:30 Mon – C4).The Monday Night Football matchup is between two 3-0 teams as the Miami Dolphins play the New Orleans Saints (01:40 Tues – Eurosport).
Week 3 is when the 2013-form guide starts to take shape. The TNF game sees the return to Philadelphia of long-time Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid, as he brings his Kansas City Chiefs to face off against Chip Kelly and that up-tempo offence of his (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). Sunday night begins with the aerial prowess of the Detroit Lions taking on the Washington Redskins, who are so far stuttering on both sides of the ball (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Next up the Indianapolis Colts travel to the San Francisco 49ers, where both teams are looking to come back after painful losses last week (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). In the late game the disappointing 0-2 Pittsburgh Steelers are hosted by the in-form 2-0 Chicago Bears (01:30 Mon – C4). MNF features a candidate for the 1st pick in next year’s draft, the Oakland Raiders, who are hosted by divisional heavyweights the Denver Broncos (01:40 Tues – Eurosport).
Divisional rivalries are out in force for week two, with matchups from the AFC East, NFC North, NFC West and AFC North. The TNF game pits New York Jets’ rookie QB Geno Smith against New England Patriots’ sure-fire HoF QB Tom Brady (0125 Fri – Sky Sports). On SNF, the smash-mouth Minnesota Vikings take on the multi faceted Chicago Bears (1800 Sun – Sky Sports). Next up our only non-divisional game, but that doesn’t make it any less special; it’s the Manning-bowl. Peyton’s fast starting Denver Broncos are hosted by brother Eli’s New York Giants (2125 Sun – Sky Sports). The late game sees favourites to become Champions, when the San Francisco 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks (01:30 Mon – Channel 4). The Monday night game is a hard fought rivalry, as the aging and regressing Pittsburgh Steelers play the young and talented Cincinnati Bengals (12:10 Tues – Eurosport). Difficult to say which game is more of a must-watch than any of the others... so just watch them all!
It’s back! The season kicks off on Thursday Night Football with the Denver Broncos hosting the reigning Superbowl Champion Baltimore Ravens (01:30 Fri - Sky Sports). On Sunday an NFC South divisional game sees the Atlanta Falcons, with their high-powered offence, face off against the New Orleans Saints, led by sure-fire Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees (18:00 - Sky Sports). Later, perennial contender Green Bay Packers host February’s runners-up San Francisco 49ers (21:25 - Sky Sports). The late game features an all-NFC East matchup as the New York Giants play ‘America’s team’, the Dallas Cowboys (01:30 - C4). Monday Night Football sees Chip Kelly’s up-tempo Philadelphia Eagles play the Washington Redskins, now with a healthy RG3 back under centre (12:10 Tues - channel TBC). Finally the ever-competitive Houston Texans travel to the San Diego Chargers, who hope their fortunes are revitalised under new management (03:20 Tues TBC).
It is currently over 200 days between the Superbowl and the first competitive game of the next NFL season, and it appears that time is all-but elapsed already. What will happen in the season to come?
It’s here! We’ve invested 5 months in the regular season, all building up to tonight, and it’s the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans playing host to the greatest show on turf, the Super Bowl!! The Baltimore Ravens are facing off against the San Francisco 49ers (2330 – Sky Sports / BBC2, 1830 – CBS in the US). All the pertinent info about the teams, their seasons and the matchups can be found in the preview posts, but this sporting-showcase isn’t just about the football; it’s a whole bigger spectacle than that. Before the big game the American National Anthem will be sung by Alicia Keys and this year’s Halftime Show will be a performance by Beyonce – so there’ll be something to watch for those not-quite-so obsessed with the game itself. If you are going to watch only one game of NFL per season, the Super Bowl should be that game. Line up some drinks, open up some snacks, sit back (in a comfortable chair) and enjoy.
What can I say, most if not all of my post-season predictions, (not to mention fantasy team) have bombed, but does that matter? No! – because we have been left with a superb Super Bowl matchup: Representing the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens, and they’ll be facing off against the NFC’s San Francisco 49ers; all taking place in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Possibly the biggest headline in the run-up is the Head-Coaching matchup between 2 brothers. The Harbaughs are the first to face-off as leaders of opposing teams, in what some are dubbing the Harbowl, the Bro Bowl, or my favourite, Harbaugh-mageddon.
This weekend Hawaii plays host to the annual all-star-game, where the best players (expect those who are Super Bowl bound) from each conference face off (2330 – Sky Sports). The AFC have Peyton Manning starting at QB (with Andrew Luck and Matt Schaub waiting in the wings); on the ground, Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles and C.J. Spiller; through the air, A.J. Green, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Demaryius Thomas. On defence J.J. Watt and Elvis Dumervil will be vital in the pass-rush; Champ Bailey and Antonio Cromartie will be in coverage on the outside. Looking at how much talent the NFC possess, it’s hard to not favour them slightly, they have Drew Brees, Eli Manning, and Russell Wilson to choose from at quarterback. At running back, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin; at receiver, some of the best in the business, Julio Jones, Victor Cruz, Larry Fitzgerald and Vincent Jackson. On defence Jason Pierre-Paul and Julius Peppers will be propping up the ends of the line of scrimmage.
After an epic 4 games last weekend we are left with 2 huge games on Championship Sunday. Now that the Matt Ryan has overcome his playoff-jinx, Atlanta look like they could be the real deal. However, they will only want to replicate their first half performance against Seattle, or risk being bowled over by the O/D phases of ‘9er-football. San Francisco’s defence is solid and we’ve now all seen how truly lethal the offense is when being run by Colin Kaepernick – watch out, he’s dangerous! NFC: 49ers @ Falcons (2000 – Sky Sports). Just as New England’s luck all but gifted them the bye-week, the Broncos loss means they’ve lucked-into hosting the Championship Game as well. Unfortunately for the Pats (& Gronk), they are only adding to their list injuries to key players, but even this is unlikely to harm the Pats’ offense. Their weakness lies in their defence, especially against a Baltimore offense with a now elite-looking Joe Flacco at the helm. AFC: Ravens @ Pats (2330 – Sky Sports).
On the road the Super Bowl XLVII; the next step is the Divisional Round. Many say this is the best weekend for American Football: 2 days of double-headers involving the best 8 teams in the league. First up we have many people’s pick for the title, Peyton Manning’s Broncos hosting the Joe Flacco’s Ravens (2130 – Sky Sports). In the late-night KO, the Packers will pit the experience of Aaron Rodgers and the strength of his passing-game, against the 49ers’ fast-footedness and ball-on-a-rope skills of Colin Kaepernick (0100 Sun am – Sky Sports). First on Sunday a game that some a dubbing ‘the battle of the birds’ as the high-flying Seahawks take on the top-billed Falcons (1800 – Sky Sports). If the Patriots beat the Texans, in the final game of the weekend (2130 – Sky Sports), then Tom Brady will become the sole owner of record for most postseason victories for a QB. My recommendation, watch as many as you can – I can’t even begin to decide which match-up will be the best!
After what feels like a long regular season is in the books and ahead of the Playoffs starting on the 5th / 6th of January, this is how the playoff-picture has shaped up, the 12 teams who made the cut, and how they might vie to play in and win Super Bowl XLVII.
The end of the regular season is here, and the NFC is still alive with playoff scenarios, with 5 teams in the mix for the 2 remaining unconfirmed berths. The first game features the Chicago Bears taking on the now 4-11 Detroit Lions (1800 – Sky Sports). The Bears need a win as well as a loss for the Vikings if they are to keep their post-season ambitions alive. Next, the Green Bay Packers, who have already qualified, can clinch a first-round bye with a win against the Minnesota Vikings (2115 – Sky Sports); who themselves will be sure of a spot if they were to win. And finally a game that the NFL have flexed to the late-slot so that it’s primetime for US TV-audiences; the Dallas Cowboys play at the Washington Redskins (0120 – C4). The Cowboys will win the NFC East with a victory, and the same it true for the Redskins, who can, with a loss, still make it in if the Bears and Vikings both lose. All in all, complicated? Not half.
With the festive season well and truly upon us, it’s out with Thursday & Monday Night Football, and in with a late-Saturday game. The Atlanta Falcons are the current NFC #1 seed, and can secure home-field advantage for the playoffs with a win against the 4-10 Detroit Lions (0130 Sun am – BBC). The Pittsburgh Steelers are still alive in the race for the playoffs, but it will only stay that way if they beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday (1800 – Sky Sports). A Bengals win will give them the final AFC spot, a Steelers win gives them the upper hand going into the final week. The defending Superbowl Champs the NY Giants are in a tough spot, tied at 8-6 with 4 other teams, so desperately need a win against the out-of-form Baltimore Ravens (2125 – Sky Sports). Finally we’ve the San Diego Chargers playing at the NY Jets (0120 – C4); these two teams have nothing left to play for this season, and will be already looking to 2013.