By Jacob Kornhauser on April 24, 2014
The NFL schedules are out and particular teams are already picking out dates to circle on their calendars. While they're doing that, you, the fan, should be circling your calendar on a number of Mondays throughout the football season. Ranking in order from best to worst, here are the top Monday Night Football games slated for the 2014 season.
Prediction: Steelers def. Titans 27-20.
The Steelers are going to need this win badly going into the final stretch of the season and they should be able to get it. The Titans could be a surprising team in 2014, but Pittsburgh has a little bit too much firepower for Tennessee to compete with.
Prediction: Colts def. Giants 27-20.
In the middle of the season, both of these teams should be in decent spots, but the Colts should probably be in better position. Even though it's on the road, Andrew Luck embraces pressure situations and will pull this one out that could come down to the last series.
Prediction: Seahawks def. Redskins 28-17.
Just as the defending champions will be gaining momentum, they run into the Redskins. While Washington should be improved this season, it's not likely their offense will have much luck against the Seahawks' great defense. It should be close for a while, with Seattle pulling away down the stretch.
Prediction: Jets def. Dolphins 21-14.
The Jets get two prime-time games at home, and this is one they will win. Their defense is stout enough to hold Ryan Tannehill and Co. at bay, and Geno Smith can make his mark with a game-winning drive in the closing minutes.
Prediction: Bears def. Jets 31-17.
Even playing at home, the Jets won't be able to keep up with the Bears' offense. Gino Smith is developing, but is outmatched simply because the Bears have more weapons. Early in the season, this could send the winner into the middle of the season with some solid momentum.
Prediction: 49ers def. Rams 30-17.
An inner-divisional rivalry game like this will produce a lot of chippiness. Even though it's in St. Louis, the 49ers' defense is too tough for a young developing Rams team to break through against.
Prediction: Lions def. Giants 30-20.
Detroit and its fans will be eager to put a very disappointing end to 2013 behind them. With all the energy of an opening prime-time game, the Lions will be amped up and their offense will see a lot of success against a lackluster Giants defense.
Prediction: Patriots def. Chiefs 28-21.
Toward the end of last season, the Chiefs began to show their true colors. Really, they were a slightly above average team last season. Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking, but Tom Brady will win this battle one way or another on the road in Week 4.
Prediction: Broncos def. Bengals 41-30.
This has all the makings of a shootout, even if both teams have improved their defense this offseason. If Denver can jump ahead early, the Bengals will be forced to go to the air and this could end up being a high scoring game. Teams led by Peyton Manning tend to win games like that.
Prediction: Texans def. Steelers 27-24.
The Texans will be far better in 2014 as they will have a top draft pick and guys coming back healthy. It remains to be seen how well everyone will mesh, but playing in Week 7, this could be a real statement game for Houston. By pulling off the road upset over the Steelers, it would be quite the statement, indeed.
Prediction: Packers def. Falcons 34-20.
The Falcons figure to get back to their winning ways this season as they get fully healthy. They should be able to do just that, but they run into a tough test playing on the road in Green Bay. It should be a little chilly and that doesn't bode well for a dome team. They hang around early, but the Falcons won't be able to match the offensive firepower of the Packers.
Prediction: Colts def. Eagles 27-20.
Both of these teams were in the playoffs last season and for good reason. They weren't great at everything, but each took advantage of its strengths. Doing just that, the Colts will run a balanced attack and play clock management and make just enough plays to edge out the Eagles in this early season matchup.
Prediction: Bears def. Saints 37-30.
In a battle of two high-powered offenses, the home team has the advantage here. Drew Brees doesn't play very well in cold weather and that could be the difference. How much time Brees gets in the pocket could very well be the difference between a win and a loss for these two teams in a very late marquee matchup.
Prediction: Saints def. Ravens 31-28.
After a disappointing season, the Ravens are going to be looking to get back into the postseason. Playing in New Orleans is going to be a tough task, but this seems like a game that could go either way. Playing late in the season and with plenty on the line, Drew Brees pushes his team past the 2012 champs.
Prediction: Eagles def. Panthers 24-13.
This is an intriguing matchup of offense vs. defense. Both of these teams were in the playoffs a year ago and plan to get back there. With this game being in the 10th week of the season, it's going to have serious playoff implications. Playing at home, Philly's offense will just be a little too much for Carolina to handle.
Prediction: Cowboys def. Redskins 34-24.
In a rivalry that never fails to disappoint in prime time, two very average teams face off. The Cowboys have the potential to be far above average, but their offense will have to show more consistency. In this game, Tony Romo will take over and will Dallas to a victory in prime time.
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