2013 NFL schedule: Ranking 'Thursday Night Football' games


"Thursday Night Football" ... a tradition like no other.

Well, not quite, but "Thursday Night Football" -- entering its eighth season -- seems to get better every year. Make no mistake, these NFL Network-aired games don't exist solely to trip up fantasy owners who are asleep at the wheel. There's some real meat on the bone here, games that "TNF" color analyst Mike Mayock would pound the table for.

2013 regular-season schedule:
» Weekly | Thursday | Sunday night | Monday night

» Harrison: Top 13 games of 2013
» Forgotten classics for 2013 NFL opponents
» Ranking 'Thursday Night Football' games
» Dolphins among teams slighted by schedule
» Easy slate makes Cowboys contenders
» Top five revenge games in 2013

» Movie trailers for biggest games of 2013
» Week 1 impressions
» Will Cowboys make playoffs?
» Eric Decker reacts to Broncos' schedule
» Best and worst fantasy schedules
» Russell Wilson excited to begin 2013 schedule

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» 49ers | Cardinals | Rams | Seahawks

So what games jump out at us? We decided to break it down in power rankings form. Dig in.

Miss these, and you're a fake football fan

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (Week 12)
Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles (Week 3)
New York Jets at New England Patriots (Week 2)

With New Orleans back at full strength, we're looking forward to the return of the Saints-Falcons rivalry in earnest. Andy Reid comes back to Philadelphia, possibly to throw a smoothie in Chip Kelly's face. The Jets-Patriots matchup will be the first since the infamous Butt Fumble, a game that sent Fireman Ed into a fortified underground bunker.

You want intrigue? We got your intrigue

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (Week 4)
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings (Week 10)
New York Giants at Chicago Bears (Week 6)

We love the Rams vs. Niners, a sneaky rivalry on the rise. St. Louis went undefeated in the NFC West last season, including a win and a tie against the eventual conference champions. Any game that has RG3 and AP on the same field has our attention. Giants at Bears seems destined to be a 17-14 nail-biter.

Still good enough to forsake family duties

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins (Week 9)
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (Week 11)

We call Bengals-Dolphins the sleeper pick for game of the year. We like the Titans, potentially in desperation mode, trying to slow down the Andrew Luck MVP train.

Fantasy owners will like these

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (Week 15)
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (Week 7)
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 8)

Philip Rivers vs. Peyton Manning? Richard Sherman vs. Larry Fitzgerald? Steve Smith vs. Darrelle Revis? It's all in play.

Die-hard zone

Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns (Week 5)
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 14)

The only thing keeping the Browns from dropping anchor is my admiration for Marc Sessler.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.



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