Schedule Snap Judgments
Can't-miss games, revenge matchups, unusual quirks
Posted: Wednesday April 11, 2007 2:40PM; Updated: Wednesday April 11, 2007 2:52PM
Musings, observations and the occasional insight in reaction to the release of the NFL's 2007 regular-season schedule ...
Our list of games not to be missed include the following:
Patriots at Colts, Week 9 -- They couldn't beat them in the 2005 regular season. They couldn't beat them in the 2006 regular season. And they couldn't beat them in the 2006 AFC title game. It makes you wonder when the Patriots are ever going to beat the Colts? And just wait for all those stories posing the question of whether Peyton Manning has played his way into the heads of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady?
How's that for a little role reversal? But this game is so good it doesn't even need the ironic story lines. The Colts' remarkable 32-point second-half against the proud Patriots in the AFC Championship Game made it the game of the season in 2006, and we can only hope for something similar in New England's first regular-season trip to Indy since 2003.
Giants at Dolphins, Week 8 -- Tea and crumpets anyone? The NFL goes "over the pond'' for its first regular-season game in Europe, pitting New York and Miami against one another in London's venerable (and newly renovated) Wembley Stadium. The Giants and Dolphins get their byes the following week, which is a little peculiar, given that the five-hour or so flight to England will be quicker for them than a trip to Seattle or San Diego would be.
No matter. At least the NFL is giving the Brits a decent pairing, unlike that bogus Cardinals-49ers matchup in Mexico City in 2005. If you're trying to sell the game to an international market, why trot out teams that aren't even known well in their own country? This one should be fun, and I can't wait for Michael Strahan to meet Prince Charles to swap divorce war stories.
Saints at Colts, Week 1 -- As traditions go, it's not quite up to the level of the Masters winner gets a green jacket, but the Thursday-night season opener to start Kickoff Weekend has become a showcase/excuse to celebrate for the defending Super Bowl champion. This time it's the Colts who get to party, set off indoor fireworks and unfurl the banner that will commemorate their big win over Chicago in rainy Miami.
This one should tell us a couple things about the Saints rather quickly: Will their magic-carpet ride of 2006 carry over, and can quarterback Drew Brees shake off a poor NFC title game showing and a Pro Bowl non-throwing arm injury to put New Orleans into position to challenge for its first consecutive playoff seasons since 1991-92? As for the Colts, Manning and Co. get their first chance to prove there will be no resting on their laurels in Indiana this season.
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