At the NFL owner’s meetings, the league announced 7 marquee games on the 2009 schedule. These are the 4 prime-time games in the opening weekend and also the three Thanksgiving games. Sounds like a time for a relativity comparison to me. 10 is the most compelling game, and we move down the scale to the least compelling at 1.
10 – Buffalo at New England, Week 1, Monday night (early game) – Not only do we get Terrell Owens’ Bills debut; we get it against Randy Moss and the returning Tom Brady. T.O. and Brady are both compelling figures, whether it’s from a football perspective, a fantasy football perspective, or even just a TMZ drama perspecitve.
9 – Tennessee at Pittsburgh, Week 1, Thursday night – This is a rock ’em, sock ’em game that will set a physical tone to begin the season. These teams won’t light up the scoreboard, but by the middle of the second quarter we’ll have seen enough hitting to know that NFL football’s back. The NFL continues the tradition of letting the defending Super Bowl champ open the season at home, which is a cool tradition even though it’s only a few years old.
8 – none
7 – New York Giants at Denver, Thanksgiving night game – The Giants are compelling television, and the Broncos are always a fun watch. Who knows who Denver’s quarterback will be by that point – if it’s Jay Cutler this could be a really fun watch – but we do know that the Mile High crowd will be into it. If this game were on a regular network instead of the NFL’s house channel, it would be further up the list.
6 – none
5 – Green Bay at Chicago, Week 1, Sunday night – This NFC North rivalry is always close. The Packers were actually a fun team to watch last year because of the offensive abilities of Aaron Rodgers. The Bears, though, lack much pizzazz, and their offseason has been eerily quiet thus far. It’s hard to get excited about watching Kyle Orton, even if John Madden is on the call. Still, on a week where the prime-time games are stretched out, this is a decent game to cap off a full Sunday.
4 – Oakland at Dallas, Thanksgiving late afternoon game – The Cowboys are always at least a little watchable because there always seems to be some sort of drama to follow. I don’t expect much from the Raiders this year, but seeing their uniforms on Thanksgiving will be interesting.
3 – San Diego at Oakland, Week 1, Monday night (late game) – It’s hard to invest in the late Monday night game in Week 1, especially if you live on the east coast, but this AFC West matchup is usually competitive. The Chargers are a fun watch, and the LaDanian Tomlinson watch will be on full alert to open the season. As for the Raiders, JaMarcus Russell will be on display to see if he’s taken a step forward yet.
2 – none
1 – Green Bay at Detroit, Thanksgiving early afternoon game – The Packers are a fun watch, but Detroit has been so bad recently – especially on Thanksgiving – that it’s hard to imagine sitting down to watch them. I think Jim Schwartz will make the Lions better, but until that actually happens any Lions game has to pale in comparison to other contests on the schedule.